Social norms are general standards that most people stick to and think are right.
Well, in relationships it is not about black and white; it’s all about the shades of grey and a neverending kaleidescope of color. As far as relationships are concerned it holds true that you can either be right or in a relationship. (I’m just going to leave this here).
The problem with social norms and their impact on your relationship is that they assume that what is good for everyone else will be good for you too.
Social norms are conditions and therefore they naturally oppose unconditional love.
Everyone is unique and by extension, every relationship is too. Does it make sense that you and your relationship need exactly the same things as everyone else?
There are some things that are good for all relationships, such as treating your partner with kindness and respect, honouring your differences and communicating a difficult truth with a gentle and caring approach.
Without giving it some thought, social norms can have you conforming to a standard of behavior that will cause you to go against your true to yourself.
If you aren’t yourself, who are you?
You and your partner are your own separate people. What makes a relationship long-lasting and strong is that it honors and celebrates the differences of both partners in the relationship.
For your relationship to really thrive, it needs you to find win-win solutions to everything that you’re faced with. If it’s not best for both of you then it isn’t best for either of you.
It doesn’t matter what your friends or family do or even what they think. What matters most is that both of your personalities, needs and desires are taken into account for all relationship decisions. If your partner is unhappy, then rest assured that ultimately, you will be too.
There is no right and wrong in relationships so much as there is ‘what works’. Take the time to find out what works for the two of you. At the end of the day, using unconditional love and treating one another with kindness and respect while being true to yourself will allow you to have integrity and grow deeper in love..
Social norms dictate things such as if you’re in a committed relationship you should vacation together, you should spend time with in-laws even if you don’t get along, you should show up to work functions when you would rather be anywhere else, you should say the right things in public, you should make an effort to be nice to people that aren’t important to you and you should hold your tongue instead of expressing yourself. Sounds like a whole lot of shoulding all over ourselves to me.
Unconditional love dictates that everything is done either out of fear (obligation) or love (desire). It says that the most loving position of all is allowing your partner to just simply be true to him or herself. It says that there is an infinite number of ways to make your relationship work.
Social norms often oppose unconditional love. They say, I will love you if you are not the real you, because who you really are is unacceptable to me. Unconditional love says, I love and accept myself flaws and all, and therefore I can offer you this same standard of love.
Check in to see if you’re trying to please someone or avoid judgement from others in the relationship choices you make. At the end of the day, in order to feel loved you need to be able to truly be yourself and that may or may not conform to social standards.
Knowing your values and trusting your intuition are the tools that will allow you to make the right choices for you and your relationship.