Many people come to therapy when they begin to drift away from their partners. They may say things like:
- “I have been having the urge to leave my married life and escape to someplace where I won’t have to worry about what my partner feels.”
- “Of late, I have been daydreaming a lot about being single, imagining what my life would look like without my partner or a different partner.”
- “I don’t think I can live with so much dishonesty in this relationship. Disengaging might be the better option.”
- “I don’t feel like putting in effort to dress up whenever my partner and I have to go out. It just feels like a waste of time and energy.”
This slow whispering of doubts and dissatisfaction can turn into a growing desire to withdraw from the partnership. If you resonate with these examples, it may be indicative of your urge to ‘quiet quit’ the relationship without having to go through the difficult talk with your partner.
Like in the workplace, quiet quitting a relationship happens when a partner contemplates disengaging from a relationship without openly expressing their concerns or intentions. It is characterized by emotional withdrawal, decreased investment, and a sense of growing dissatisfaction with your partner.
Quiet quitting can be challenging and have huge implications if left unaddressed. If your intrusive thoughts are urging you to quietly leave the relationship, consider doing the following:
#1. Engage in honest self-reflection
Take a moment for honest self-reflection and ask yourself why you’re feeling the urge to leave unannounced. Explore your emotions, concerns, and underlying reasons behind your decision. Doing this with the help of a mental health professional can be an illuminating experience.
Consider whether there are unresolved issues, unmet needs, or personal challenges that have contributed to your desire to withdraw. Understanding your own motivations and emotions will help you gain clarity and insight into the situation.
Research emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and understanding one’s own identity in fostering healthy and fulfilling relationships. According to a study published in the academic journal Self and Identity, having a clear sense of self not only enhances one’s relationship satisfaction but also positively influences the satisfaction of their partner by promoting positive coping behaviors, which further contribute to long-term relationship satisfaction.
#2. Evaluate your relationship expectations
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that having realistic and flexible expectations in relationships is associated with greater relationship satisfaction. Alternatively, people who believed in ‘relationship destiny’ (i.e., believing you’re either meant for each other or not) were less likely to have success in long-term relationships.
What if your urge to quiet quit has been prompted by your partner failing to meet an expectation of yours they did not know of in the first place? What if you were to realize that your expectations were unrealistic and unfair after you have exited your relationship?
Take the time to evaluate your expectations and assess whether they align with the reality of your relationship. Consider whether you have communicated your needs and boundaries effectively.
For instance, if romance and weekly dates are what you expect in a romantic relationship, let your partner know. Otherwise, your partner might settle into a perceived comfort zone in your relationship leading to resentment and, consequently, the impulse to quiet quit.
Additionally, you must reflect on whether there is room for compromise and growth within the relationship. It’s important to ensure that your expectations are realistic and that you’re actively working towards shared goals with your partner.
#3. Focus on self-expansion
A study published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology highlights the importance of engaging in self-expanding activities with a long-term partner that serve as catalysts for reigniting passion to maintain sexual desire and enhance relationship satisfaction.
If you wish to counteract your quiet quitting tendencies, here are things you can do:
- Prioritize personal growth by exploring new interests, hobbies, and skills that spark passion and promote self-discovery.
- Actively seek opportunities for social and cultural engagement that broaden your perspectives, challenge assumptions, and promote empathy and understanding.
- Nurture your emotional well-being through self-care practices, including mindfulness, meditation, journaling, or therapy. By tending to your emotional needs, you build resilience and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
If all your attempts amount to a stalemate and you find it challenging to navigate your emotions and communicate effectively, seeking professional support can be immensely beneficial. A therapist can help you uncover underlying patterns, improve communication skills, and explore ways to work through the challenges you’re facing.
An individual has the inviolable right to exit any relationship that they think has run its course. However, the urge to do so quietly might imply that one wants to avoid addressing a difficult issue and is looking for an easy and non-confrontational way out.
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