'Quiet quitting' is rampant in relationships. Here's how to know if you, or your partner, have quit.

'Quiet quitting'. Chances are you've heard the term a whole bunch of times - it's been slinking around everywhere on social media.

But in case you missed it, it basically refers to refraining from the idea that you need to do the MOST professionally, and simply doing what is required of you. 

You know - no staying back late, no taking on extra work, no seeking promotions. Just doing the bare minimum.

Now, this term has trickled into relationships. Yes, really.

'Quiet quitting' in relationships is now a thing.

Watch: Here are some relationship red flags you need to look out for. Story continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

But what does that actually mean? Is it about having healthy boundaries? Or is it literally doing the bare minimum in your relationship?

We chat with psychologist Carly Dober from Enriching Lives Psychology to find out more.

What is quiet quitting in relationships?

Dober explains it like this: "'Quiet quitting' a relationship is when the quality of effort involved changes without the relationship ending. Importantly, quiet quitting is without communication about the disinterest from the party wanting to leave the relationship.

"There is a distinct lack of emotional engagement, and it might feel like a slow fizzling out where your partner draws away from you across all areas of the relationship."

Just for the record, though - quiet quitting is not the same as ghosting someone. While ghosting usually involves someone doing just that - disappearing - quiet quitting is often a slower, more drawn-out process, with one person very gradually distancing themselves from the other.


Dober goes on to say that 'leaving' without leaving occurs in many relationships, and can be due to many factors.

"Falling out of love, an inability to have difficult conversations, resentment being built up, wanting to 'punish' a partner, not being in love or attracted to them anymore, wanting someone to break up with you first so you don’t have to look like the 'bad guy', life stressors and exhaustion from trying to juggle the load, and sometimes mental or physical health challenges all contribute to quiet quitting."

Is quiet quitting setting boundaries?

"Boundaries within the context of relationships must be communicated in order for them to be understood and respected," said Dober.

While strong boundaries may be beneficial for a relationship, people who compartmentalise and assert boundaries around their relationship as a way to protect themselves, is not healthy.

"Quiet quitting doesn’t really tend to involve communication at all and is seen to be a more passive, or passive-aggressive, act in some circumstances," adds Dober.

What are some signs you or your partner may be 'quiet quitting' in your relationship?

So, what does quiet quitting actually look like? How do you know if your partner is slowly disengaging from your relationship?

Dober said there are six main behaviours to look out for:

  • Not sharing with each other your life updates/general information about your day.
  • Not inviting them or being invited to social events.
  • Avoiding spending quality time with your partner.
  • A sustained drop off in verbal and text communication.
  • A sustained drop off in emotional and physical affection. 
  • Not making plans with your partner anymore and being reluctant to commit to any plans they suggest.

Is this different from separating?

According to Dober, separating and quiet quitting are two different things.

"With separation, typically couples will know that the relationship has ended. However, with quiet quitting, one party usually does not really know what is happening, they just know that something has changed and that the relationship feels different."


Sad face.

"Quiet quitting feels vague and ambiguous," Dober said. "A separation, while painful at times, is more certain."

If you're the one who is the quiet quitter, Dober said this might mean there are things you need to communicate with your partner - and while it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the relationship, it's a red flag that something needs to change in order for you to move forward in a healthy partnership.

"Ask yourself, 'Do I actually want to be in this relationship right now? What has changed for me? Why am I wanting to act in this way? What am I trying to achieve?'. Hopefully, these questions will lead you closer to your desired outcome, whatever that may be," she said.

"If you are the one being quiet quitted, get some support from friends and family as this can be incredibly painful and confusing. Also, try to talk to your partner about it. It is worth your well-being to say something to them like, 'I feel that things between us have changed and I would appreciate us having a chat about this.' 

"There is no guarantee they will respond to this request, but you’ve opened the door for a, hopefully, mature and honest conversation."

Above all, Dober said to know when to seek support and speak to a professional. 

"Support is out there, and connecting to a mental health professional may also help yourself, or a couples counsellor if you would both like to work on your communication."

Have you ever been subject to quite quitting? Share your experience with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty

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