This way, you will know if your partner has already quietly left your relationship

The first two months of Harshit Prajapati’s (22) relationship when he was 18 felt like a romantic adventure. From going on regular dates and having intense conversations to finding ways to make each other feel really special, it honestly felt like he had found his soulmate.

That all changed when he moved to another city to further his studies. The conversations between him and his lover began to resemble WhatsApp status updates: short and devoid of any intimacy.

“Because of the distance, there was a feeling that we might not be able to keep the relationship going,” Prajapati, a fashion student, told VICE. “I tried to raise the issue with my partner to find a solution to make the relationship work.”

He was assured by his partner that nothing was wrong and that everything was fine. But whenever Prajapati suggested making travel plans together, planning activities, or suggesting ways to keep the relationship alive, his partner—despite always agreeing to the ideas—did nothing to actually act on those plans.

Eventually it all became too much for Prajapati. It certainly didn’t help that he had mostly superficial friends who weren’t looking for deep conversation. “I mainly sat on my bed and watched series and did my work in the dark. It affected my self-image because I began to wonder more and more whether I was enough.”

In retrospect, Prajapati’s partner was “quietly calling it quits” on their relationship. Silent termination is when one or both partners put so little energy into the relationship that it still flows on, but doesn’t really matter anymore. All for not really breaking up with each other. It is also referred to as ‘quiet dumping’ or ‘put up with’. The concept is also very reminiscent of quietly quitting your job, where you only do what you get paid for – no more, no less – so you don’t burn out.

The whole idea of ​​quietly ending your relationship can be traced back to a viral TikTok that comedy content creator Daniel Hentschel made. “Quitting a relationship, or ‘quietly dumping,’ is when your partner chooses to do the bare minimum necessary to continue dating you without you breaking up. They’ve completely lost interest, but they don’t want to be the ones to end it. You hear from them every day, but you don’t hear from them at all,” Hentschel said in the video.

According to psychiatrist Era Dutta, if your love partner quietly leaves the relationship, it can feel like living with a ghost or an uninterested roommate: There is no longer any joy in living together, and you just live (side by side) for guilt. of existence. “When you’re in a relationship like that, and you’ve quietly been dumped or dumped, you start to doubt yourself and ask yourself who’s to blame. This stops your personal growth and has a negative effect on your mental health in a society where signing up for couples therapy is not done.”

Unlike quietly quitting your job, the reasons why someone would do this in a romantic relationship are not immediately obvious. It is also important to mention that it is completely different from ghosting, where someone stops communicating and disappears overnight. Leaving a relationship quietly is more like “leaving without actually walking out the door.”

“If you want a relationship to work, there has to be acceptance and growth,” says Nahid Dave, a psychotherapist and psychiatrist. “The early weeks or months of a relationship are full of dopamine bursts every time you see or touch each other, until you hit a plateau. When that happens, you may feel bored or detached and may even consciously or unconsciously make the choice to quietly ending a relationship – without understanding why.”

Dave adds that in a digital world where video calls and chats dominate and meeting physically isn’t a requirement to connect, it’s even harder to notice when your partner puts as little effort into a relationship as possible.

Somya, a PhD student who does not want to appear in this article by her real name because she is afraid her family will find out about her relationship, quietly dumped her partner because they had different career aspirations and because they slowly become less and less enthusiastic about the relationship.

“My love for my partner never diminished; it just stagnated,” she says. “I began to adjust my ambitions, convinced that at some point I would stay with him. But even though he always supported me, I still felt suffocated. His insecurities that I wasn’t with him often enough and that he was less educated than me always came up.”

To make matters even more complicated, Somya’s mental health and confidence went downhill when she found herself trapped in her hometown Raipur in a lockdown during the pandemic. She stopped putting effort into her relationship and instead began to focus even more on herself. However, she wasn’t brave enough to tell her partner that she wasn’t as excited about their time together as she once was.

“The quiet end of the relationship started unintentionally, but as I started feeling and behaving better, I paid less attention to the relationship,” says Somya. “I didn’t want it to end because of me, so I created some space in the hope that he would get tired of me and leave. But it had been a six-year relationship by now, and we had both gotten used to being in that relationship. The fear of not being able to find a good, understanding partner meant that we both let that relationship drag on for far too long until we ended it for good.”

According to relationship therapist Deepak Kashyap, it is important to mention that at its core, quietly leaving a relationship has more to do with not getting satisfaction from your relationship and therefore no longer feeling connected and less with abuse or mistreatment in the relationship.

“In the Indian context, it may also be the lack of economic independence that holds people together,” he says, adding that this is especially true for women. “Do you think our mothers and aunts would still be with their husbands if they were financially independent? Often we come to believe that our partner is the best we can get and we do the least to keep a relationship healthy.”

Kashyap also points out that the reasons for quietly ending a relationship are not always well thought out and that, thanks to pop culture for example, people can also be influenced by an often unrealistic ideal of what constitutes a healthy relationship.

“Our lives and relationships don’t always have to be super exciting every day. So it’s not healthy to want to see a return on your investment in a relationship every day,” he explains. “While we as humans like to do a cost-benefit analysis, we also have to realize that our partners are not products.”

He adds that most people don’t have “hot sex” every day for a long time after being together for three or four years, and this should be normalized. Even if you know the reasons why your relationship isn’t working and you still don’t do anything about it, it’s really your problem.

Regardless of which side of the relationship you’re on, Dave advises against pointing the finger at any perpetrator. “Instead, you can tell your partner that it’s happening to you and not just you, because there is no checklist for a perfect relationship,” she says. “Write down all your expectations in relation to reality, categorize your thoughts into feelings and facts, and think about what doesn’t work. Do you have evidence and examples to support your thoughts, or are you imagining things?”

She added that our brain can more easily cope with a loved one dying because death closes. We have a hard time with a breakup or getting hung up on by someone because the hope that you can still have a good conversation one day and give it another chance is always alive.

This article originally appeared on VICE Asia.

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