Quiet-quitting is when a partner does the bare minimum to sustain a relationship.
A couple's therapist shared what you should do if you suspect your partner is quiet-quitting.
Sometimes, life events can temporarily impact a relationship but not lead to real quiet-quitting.
If your partner is mysteriously distant and checked out when you're together, there's a chance they might be quiet-quitting the relationship.
Just like quiet-quitting a job, quiet-quitting a partnership or marriage involves a person doing the bare minimum to coast in the relationship.
April Eldemire, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told Business Insider that common signs include your partner "avoiding connection, avoiding conflict, not making an effort, and almost willing to let the relationship die."
Often, she said, a partner quiet-quitting might start after a major life event — or even several that happen all at once, like becoming new parents, one partner losing their job, or tending to a sick family member.
"It's usually a multitude of things that create division and a wedge that one partner then decides to slowly start to exit from the relationship," she said. But any relationship can encounter quiet-quitting if a partner doesn't want to be the bad guy by initiating the breakup.
Eldemire shared advice on what you can do if you suspect your partner is quiet-quitting the relationship.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
Before you do anything else, Eldemire advised processing your emotions on your own. "Just acknowledge that for yourself, 'I'm feeling hurt — it's valid that I've been feeling alone in my relationship,'" she said.
If you skip this step and approach your partner, it can be easy to take yourself out of how you feel, especially if they act like nothing's wrong or deflect the blame onto you.
It also helps you be more authentic when you do talk to them. For example, if you feel resentful that they might be quiet-quitting instead of trying to work on the relationship, Eldemire said, "you can turn it into an opportunity to reconnect with your partner, to have an opening of some sort that you may not have had before."
2. Perform a relationship scan
First, Eldemire said it's good to note and allow for some grace if your partner recently went through a big life change, such as the death of a parent, a major career transition, a health issue, or the birth of a child.
It's good to keep tabs on the relationship for a while, particularly if life seems more stable now. She said quiet-quitting may be at play when the distance is "more prolonged and ongoing, especially if the circumstance that led you there has shifted or sorted itself out."
Lastly, even if you're convinced your partner is quiet-quitting, Eldemire advised against jumping to conclusions. There might be a completely alternate explanation you hadn't considered, or something going on in their lives that they're scared to tell you about.
3. Be honest with your partner
If you strongly believe your partner is gradually stepping away from the relationship, you should absolutely talk to them — even if they've turned down similar conversations in the past, Eldemire said.
"Have a hard and honest conversation with your significant other around how you feel," she said. State clearly that they're distant, and ask them to let you in.
Throughout what will likely be multiple talks, Eldemire said you should keep in mind that you have every right to ask for more information about the relationship. "They owe that to you and you deserve that," she said.
4. If relevant, own your part
Sometimes, the reason your partner feels safer quiet-quitting may have to do with how you talk to them, Eldemire said. For example, if you struggle with emotional regulation or have a communication style that makes them feel bulldozed over, that could contribute to them withdrawing from the relationship.
In those cases, Eldemire said this could be a big opportunity for growth. "Maybe you've had some tense exchanges where you've overreacted from time to time, or you come out swinging right out of the gate, which might be a pattern in your life," she said.
If it's something you take seriously and really want to change, let your partner know. "Just acknowledging and understanding where your partner is coming from is a good step to turn that around and hopefully go in a different direction," Eldemire said.
She said couple's counseling can also be helpful if you feel like a third party could help you maintain balance when you talk through issues together.
5. Be wary of one-sidedness
Throughout your conversations around quiet-quitting, Eldemire recommended paying attention to how committed your partner is to solving the problem.
"If your partner is still getting defensive or not opening up and giving you the silent treatment, then you might need to start to think about the reality of the relationship," she said. "It might be that it's become a one-sided relationship and you're putting in way more emotional energy and investment and not getting that reciprocated."
Because even if your partner wants to quiet-quit, the only way that dynamic could realistically work in the long-term is if you're both on the same page, Eldemire said.
For instance, if you've both decided you don't want to divorce or separate, but also want a platonic partnership, she said you should be "setting some parameters around what the relationship would look like in that state and redefining the expectations that you have about the relationship."
But whether it's quiet-quitting the relationship or weathering a tough time in your marriage, neither of you should do it alone.
Read the original article on Business Insider