Is quiet quitting relationships the new way to break up?

Are you feeling resentful about your partner, or slowly pulling away and engaging less? Here’s how to spot the signs you may be quiet quitting your relationship – and how to turn things around.

The ending of a romantic relationship can be devastating.

For many people, it can be particularly awful when one person starts going through the motions in the relationship – slowing pulling away without any real motivation for making the relationship last, but not quite ready to go through the trauma of breaking up.

This process has a name – quiet quitting relationships.

You may have heard this term used to describe not going the extra mile in your job – but now it is also being applied to relationships.

What is quiet quitting relationships?

Quiet quitting your job is when you show up to work, do the bare minimum and have no motivation to create a future for yourself there.

In relationship terms, it’s used to describe when you slowly step back and dial down the passion and motivation for your relationship.

Quiet quitting is a new term for an age-old phenomenon, Relationship Insight love and life coach Angela Barrett says.

“Quiet quitting is reducing your investment in the relationship and not engaging in issues in the relationship,” Angela says.

“It’s helpful for these things to be given a catchy new name because it highlights the phenomenon in a way that people can then recognise in their relationship and then make conscious choices about this.

“I think quiet quitting is a common passive way for people to bring a relationship to an end or to express dissatisfaction with the relationship – a little like a silent protest.”

Why do people quiet quit relationships?

To understand why people quiet quit, you need to look at the intention behind it, relationship expert Samantha Jayne says.

“Are you quiet quitting because you want to self-sabotage and end the relationship drama-free or are you bored and (have) lost the spark?” she says.

“If you are feeling like you’ve been taken advantage of, then it’s important to step back and look after yourself.

“A healthier way is to actually talk about how you feel, set boundaries, talk about what you want.”

Angela says people have long used withdrawing from a relationship as a “slow-burn way out of a relationship”.

“Whether or not they are wanting the relationship to end, withdrawing from a relationship can actually cause or bring about the end of a relationship because your commitment to it has decreased,” she says.

Is quiet quitting relationships fair?

Both experts agree that the only way to establish clear boundaries within and while ending a relationship is to talk about what’s happening.

“Sometimes people don’t know how to end a relationship but I think more commonly they do know, but don’t want to experience the unpleasant feelings associated with ending a relationship,” Angela says.

“And it can make it even harder for the person to recover from the breakup if they feel that you’ve had one foot out the door for a while and they were oblivious about this.”

Here are some signs you are quiet quitting

  • You’re complaining to your friends (or whoever will listen) about your partner’s shortfalls but not raising it with your partner at all or in a way that’s productive.
  • You’re spending more time on your device and engaging less with your partner about meaningful things.
  • You’ve given up expressing your feelings to your partner and/or asking them for what you need.
  • You’re feeling resentful or angry towards your partner.
  • You’re feeling flat, powerless and resigned about your relationship.
  • Your eye is wandering, you’re back on the dating apps or you’ve started flirting with or talking to other people.

What to do if you think you are being quiet dumped

If you feel like your partner is pulling away, you should try to talk with them about what it is you’re feeling and how it’s impacting you.

“Definitely bring it up with them,” Angela says.

“For example: ‘I’ve noticed you have not been as talkative with me the last couple of weeks – I’m not sure what to make of that and wondered if you can talk to me about what’s going on for you?’”

Samantha says breaking from routine may also help salvage the relationship.

“Start doing the fun things that got you together in the early stage when you felt that closeness and infatuation,” she says.

“Sometimes all it takes is one person to change the dynamic.

“Doing this could really turn things around for you.”

Written by Andrea Beattie.