If I could have gone to grad school (I wound up in tech instead, almost by accident) I’d have wanted to study the sociology of couples in relationships.  What’s the impact of someone in the office saying “Because y’know, men?”  Of hearing someone on the bus saying to another “don’t you bring her flowers every week?”  Of someone saying “we’ve been together now 35 years” and another saying “my marriages never laste more than two years.”  A TV talking head saying “you can tell your relationship is on the rocks if…”

The problem, when we say “society,” is it’s usually not what society says.  It’s an internalized set of random “do’s” and “don’t” we pick up, sometimes without even noticing.  Make-believe or fairy-tale tules we misunderstood when we were very young.  Things said by those we saw as role models when we were very small… who we might mock if we heard them say it when we’re older.

Listen when “society” tells you something.  Listen carefully.  A lot of the times?  It’s not “society’s,” rules, it’s rules you made up so long ago you don’t remember.

That’s not to say there are no rules.  Ahahah, no.  Social norms are real as driving on the  right  correct side of the road!  But it never hurts to pull out uncomfortable “should’s” and “shouldn’t’s” from time to time to make sure they’re real.  And then choose to follow them, or discard them if you find them wanting.

You’ll be happier.  Your partners will be too.  So will society, actually!