Heartbreak

5 Signs You (Or Your Spouse) Are 'Quiet Quitting' Your Marriage

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Woman sad on the edge of the bed, husband reclining in bed

The term "quiet quitting" is bandied about quite a bit these days. But not usually in reference to relationships — but that doesn't mean people aren't also quietly quitting their marriages. 

In most contexts, quiet quitting refers to the workplace and employees still doing their job but mostly just dialing it in. They are doing just enough work to do their job well but not taking on anything extra to take their performance to the next level. And this dialing back is subtle, quiet, and can be quite destructive to the business as a whole.

It’s an interesting phenomenon and something that will be dissected and analyzed extensively going forward, I am sure.

What I find interesting is that while this term, "quiet quitting", is just starting to be used in reference to relationships, it is definitely something that has been present forever. And not, I am afraid, in a good way.

So, let’s dissect this idea further — how to recognize the signs that you (or your spouse) are "quiet quitting" your marriage so that you can decide whether to let it continue or stop it in its tracks.

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Five signs that at least one of you is 'quiet quitting' your marriage

1. You're talking and texting less

Communication on a meaningful level is important in every relationship.

Having the ability to identify, discuss and resolve issues is the key to a relationship lasting. Every life coach worth her salt will tell you so.

What isn’t talked about so much is how important non-meaningful communication is, the day in and day out connecting via word or text, talking about the mundane stuff, the life stuff.

Think about every important relationship in your life — your parents, siblings, friends, and lovers. When you haven’t been in contact with them for a period of time, don’t you feel somewhat disconnected? When you aren’t up to date on what is happening in their lives, don’t you feel like your relationship might be suffering?

That is the importance of staying in touch — to keep connected. And, the advent of texting, for all of its downsides, helps us to do just that, with just a few swipes of the keyboard.

So, wouldn’t it be the same in romantic relationships, in marriage? The importance of staying connected regularly? Of course, it would be — maybe even more so.

Ask yourself — do you and your person stay in touch the way you used to? Do you check in at lunchtime, asking about each other’s day? Do you share your progress as you travel from one place to another? Do you have dinner together and talk about what is happening in your lives?

If your answer is no, this is definitely a sign that you are "quiet quitting" your marriage.

Think about how it was in the beginning — when everything was shiny and new. Weren’t you in touch constantly, wanting to know everything about each other? Weren’t you hungry for every tidbit of someone’s day? Didn’t not hearing from them cut you to the core?

And now, here you are, not really keeping in contact with your person, ‘quiet quitting’ them slowly. And, before you know it, your marriage might go the way of that friend you have lost contact with — fading away into the sunset and lost forever.

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2. You're losing interest

Checking in regularly about one’s day is a good sign that your marriage is still doing ok. Not only is the act of checking in important, as I said above, but also the fact that you actually still care about what your person is doing says a lot about the state of your relationship.

So, what about you? Do you really care about what your partner does with his or her life? Are you up to date with what is happening at work, how their mother’s health is, whether or not their team won softball (oops — you missed that game), or whether they are still struggling with an issue with a friend?

Or, rather, do you not really care, taking only a passing interest in the things that they share with you (or don’t share with you, if they are "quiet quitting" you as well)?

Do you half listen when he talks about his mother, using the words "hmm" or "really?" or "that’s interesting" regularly but not really absorbing what he is saying?

Do you start "forgetting" that he has softball games and doesn’t really care about the state of his friendship?

All of these things are signs that you are "quiet quitting" your marriage. You are still physically present in the relationship but you are pretty much disengaged, having lost all interest in what your person is doing or with whom.

How sad is that?

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3. You're not missing each other

Over the course of my 18-year marriage, my ex-husband and I lived apart twice — for 6 months when he lived overseas and for 11 months when my son and I relocated to his school. At the moment, I didn’t think those things were a big deal. We had been married for a long time and we kept in touch so all was good, right? Nope.

In retrospect, what I realized is that I didn’t miss my ex. I did enjoy talking to him and had a passing interest in what he was doing but, really, I was very happy going about my day without him in it. And, when he came to visit, I was fine after he left.

Part of being in a loving relationship is enjoying your time together. In many ways, that time together is like the oxygen that keeps your relationship alive, the glue that holds it together. It is a time of physical connectedness, which is very important and can lead to increased emotional and sexual connectedness, the key to any healthy marriage.

So, if you regularly spend time away from your spouse and find that you don’t miss them at all, you might very well be "quiet quitting" your marriage.

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4. You aren’t arguing 

People in relationships often fight because of one thing — because they care.

They might care about the subject of the fight. They might care about the principles behind the fight. They might care about the outcome of the fight. They might care about the way they are fighting.

For whatever reason, people who fight have some skin in the game. They care about being heard and respected. They care about their place in the relationship.

If you are in a relationship where healthy fighting used to be present and find that, now, you can’t remember the last time you had one, you might just be ‘quiet quitting’ your marriage.

If the idea of summoning up enough energy to fight about anything that has happened between you just bores you or makes you feel depleted, you are definitely not fully present in the relationship and truly just dialing it in.

Communication is the key part of a healthy relationship and the death of communication, even if it's communication born of an argument, can lead to the death of a marriage.

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5. You take each other for granted

I used to live with a terrible fear of abandonment. My husband knew this and always promised me that he wouldn’t leave.

When he decided to leave, I called him on his promise and he told me that because he had always made that promise, I took him for granted. And I am guessing that that is probably true.

Taking someone for granted is a big sign of "quiet quitting" a marriage.

The definition of taking someone for granted is "to take advantage of, show no appreciation for, or undervalue them."

For me, I had stopped paying attention to my husband long before he left. 

I always noticed when he wasn’t home or he was late but, when he was in the house, I pretty much ignored him unless I needed something from him. I wasn’t good at thanking him for his help or support and I certainly undervalued everything he did do and called more attention to what he didn’t do.

And, because I took him for granted, assuming he would always be there, and undervalued his contributions to our family, I treated him with contempt and disdain.

I know now that, if I hadn’t taken him for granted, if I had been willing to recognize his presence and his contributions, our marriage might have survived.

But, as the marriage went on, I just didn’t care about him or his place in our relationship and I just checked out. I "quiet quit."

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Marriage is long and hard and life is complicated sometimes recognizing signs that you might be "quiet quitting" someone is hard to do.

But it is essential that you keep your eyes open for signs that you (or your spouse) might be doing so. Because, if you do, you will be able to take control of what is happening.

Perhaps the quiet quitting means something — that you truly are out of the marriage and just choosing to do it slowly instead of just breaking things off. And that is fine.

But, perhaps you aren’t even noticing that you are "quiet quitting." 

Maybe you have lost sight of the importance of your spouse and your marriage amid the chaos of daily life. Maybe this is something that you really don’t want and you want to save your marriage!

Recognizing the signs of "quiet quitting" just might help you do so before it’s too late.

To be honest, I always believed that I would be able to check back in again when I was ready but, when I was, I was too late.

My "quiet quitting" had done its job and my marriage ended.

And that doesn’t have to happen to you!

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. She works with all kinds of people to help them go from depressed and overwhelmed to confident and happy in their relationships and in their world.

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