There’s no denying that ‘quiet quitting’ is social media’s new favourite buzzword, being applied to everything from workplace mindset and skincare routines to love and relationships— but while the term can range from setting up boundaries and acting your wage at the office to adopting skin minimalism in your beauty regime, when it comes to relationships, things can get a little more complex, not to mention unfair to your partner. “Quiet quitting has been around for a long time, but it is only now that we have a term to associate with that behaviour. It’s a form of detaching without any conversations, which might be extremely confusing for the other person,” says Kasturi M, marriage and family therapist and relationship coach.
What Are The Signs That Your Partner Is Quiet Quitting The Relationship?
“In a workplace context, quiet quitting means that you are refusing to work more than necessary and are doing the bare minimum that is expected of you in that role. It suggests that you have lost interest, the current job or profile doesn’t excite you anymore and you are already starting to think about/already looking at other options. In a relationship context, when one person is pulling away, putting in bare-minimum efforts required to keep the bond going and in general is a disinterested and rather passive participant, they might be quiet quitting the relationship,” explains Kasturi.
“Some telltale signs would be :
1. Frequency of communication has decreased
2. Quality of intimacy is not the same as before
3. Conversations that are actually deep or intimate don’t take place any more
4. “Me” time has taken over and “We” time feels non-existent
5. There are no future plans or visions being shared.”
Relationship coach Deepika Shah observes that “quiet quitting is when one partner wants to break up and starts distancing themselves until the other partner takes the decision. This way they can’t be blamed for the hurt or pain and they can live guilt-free. Here’s a scenario to understand it better: You’ve had a stressful day at work and can’t wait to go home and talk about it with your partner. You reach home and your partner is on their phone, as usual. They put it down when you ask them to but when they receive a call mid-conversation, they pick it up immediately and leave. They never come back to ask you to complete the rest of the story. You forget about it too and continue with your life. This becomes an everyday thing. It starts feeling like he/she might be physically present but never really there for you. Soon you start sharing lesser things about your life and eventually tell them that things are not working out, to which they agree and things end.”
What To Do About It?
“When two people are in a relationship, honest conversations need to take place, expectations need to be discussed and boundaries must be implemented so that the relationship turns out to be a healthy & conscious one. Quiet quitting might be an indication that past hurt and issues were not spoken about or resolved and those issues have been settling over the bond like a dark cloud— leading to resentment, feelings of being misunderstood and/or doubts about the authenticity of the bond.
“If you are on the receiving end of quiet-quitting, it might be a hard and confusing time for you. But instead of being angry or disappointed about the situation, remember the fact that all is not lost. Initiate an honest conversation— be prepared to get hurt or feel accused, but it’s not the time to get triggered and react. Hold a safe space for them to talk to you about what’s really bothering them and take time to assess if you can provide or deal with the issues. You do not need to figure it all out in one conversation. Get back to them with our views and opinions and see if you can figure out a solution and make the relationship better. If it gets difficult, you can always seek out a professional, who can help facilitate difficult conversations and help both of you see a different perspective,” says Kasturi.
The Realities Of Quiet Quitting In A Relationship
Quiet quitting a relationship can be a very cruel practice says Deepika, “to keep someone who loves you in the dark about what you are feeling and in turn making them feel like they did something wrong or they deserve it just because you don’t want to take responsibility for your feelings and actions is not fair to your partner. If you no longer feel the same about them, have a conversation about it. It’s definitely not easy, especially for the people pleasers but it’s super important.”
Adding to the conversation, Kasturi says, “quiet quitting suggests you are being misunderstood, taken for granted or you feel violated in one way or the other— and it is necessary for the other party to be aware or made aware of the same. Even if we choose to quit, nobody is a mind reader and we owe it to ourselves to speak up and not bend over backwards, accommodating or hoping the situation will change.”
What’s A Healthy Way To End A Relationship Rather Than Quiet Quit It?
The healthiest ways might not be the easiest, warns Kasturi, but they surely need to be practised more often.
“1. Communicate. Talk. Speak up. No matter how difficult, talking about how you feel instead of the blame game really helps. I suggest the use of “I” statements instead of “you”. Instead of saying “you always shout when I start to talk and that’s irritating” try saying “I feel really disrespected when I try to say something and you start shouting instead.”
2. Suggest a possible solution (even if it is a break up) and also ask the other person what they want.
3. Give it time, don’t expect to end a 10-year-old relationship over a text or phone call. Be patient, but hold your boundaries.”