It is likely that you’ve heard the term 'quiet quitting'. The phrase saw a peak in popularity earlier this year after it was used to describe doing the bare minimum in your job. But could it also be applied to your relationship?
According to a study from 2019 that analysed Facebook data, December is the most popular month for break-ups to occur (with December 11 being the most common date specifically), so how can you tell if your partner is 'quiet quitting' your relationship ahead of the festive season?
“Quiet quitting is when one person stops trying and gives up without telling the other person about their feelings or needs,” says Pippa Murphy, a relationship expert at the website condoms.uk.
“The other person may not even know that they're being neglected until it's too late, after the damage has been done and things are irreparable.”
Here are seven signs your partner may be cooling off your relationship.
1. You aren't a priority
Murphy says the first red flag should be if your partner used to make time for you, but now they don’t.
“They might not even realise what they're doing because they've got so used to being ‘single’ that they don't think twice about leaving their partner hanging when they have other things going on in their life,” Murphy explains.
“Some examples include not making plans with you, or no longer inviting you to spend time with their friends (if they used to).”
2. They don’t commit to plans in the future
Want to book a holiday with your partner for next year but they are hesitant to commit? This might be a sign that they are 'quiet quitting'.
“If your partner refuses to talk about their future together, it could be because they want out of the relationship but don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you directly," Murphy adds.
3. There’s no more nostalgia in the relationship
One of the best things about being in a long-term relationship is reminiscing about all the great memories you share with that person but, as Murphy says, it could be a red flag if they have stopped talking about past happy memories.
She says the reason for this could be because they don’t want to feel “guilty” about wanting to break up so are trying to forget these memories.
4. They no longer share their feelings with you
One of the most important pillars of a relationship is open and honest communication, so when you notice that your partner is no longer sharing their feelings with you or avoiding discussing what’s on their mind, it could be a sign that they want to break up.
“This could mean that they don’t want to talk about any problems in the relationship,” Murphy explains. “Instead, by quiet quitting, they are trying to end the relationship without having to deal with the emotions that come with a break-up. It's kind of like putting a Band-Aid on an open wound — they’re not dealing with what's really going on.”
5. You’re left unread
Finding your messages are left unread can be frustrating at the best of times, but what if your partner stops responding to your text messages?
Murphy says that if their behavioural pattern has changed, as in they texted often before and hardly do now, then this is a sure-fire red flag.
6. They zone out when you discuss your problems
Debriefing with your partner at the end of a long day can be crucial and is an important way to reconnect, but if they zone out or don’t care about what you have to say while you are talking to them then they may be ready to leave the relationship.
“For example, if your partner doesn't listen to you when you talk about work or other problems, it could be because they don't really care about what's going on in your life,” Murphy says.
7. Arguments are more common
Fighting is common in any relationship, but if you’re noticing there has been an uptick in arguments over petty problems then this could be a warning sign.
“If you and your partner are constantly fighting, it might be because they've decided that they don't want to stay with you anymore but don't want to hurt your feelings by telling you directly,” Murphy adds. “So, instead, they take their anger about the situation out on small, petty things that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.”
What can you do if you notice your partner ‘quiet quitting’?
If your partner has checked out of your relationship the first thing you need to do is to talk to them.
“If you've been with someone for a while, and they haven't brought up the idea of ending things yet, then it's probably safe to assume that they're not ready to talk about it just yet,” Murphy says.
“Instead of waiting around until they mention it first, try bringing it up yourself. This can be especially helpful if you're feeling frustrated or hurt by their silence on the matter.”
Other things you can do include finding a time to talk when you’re both in the right headspace, being open and honest with your partner and listening to what they have to say. If, worst case scenario, they do want to break up, over time you may well come to realise that this wasn't the right relationship for you anyway. And who knows what the future has in store for you?
Watch: What is 'quiet quitting' and is it really affecting businesses?