7 subtle signs your partner is silently drifting away from you

Have you ever heard the term “quiet quitting”?

It’s what happens when an employee stops going the extra mile for their employer – all they do is stick to the bare minimum so that they get to keep their job.

Unfortunately, quiet quitting doesn’t only apply to jobs. It can exist in romantic relationships, too.

And yes, it hurts like hell.

If you’ve been recently feeling like your partner is silently drifting away from you, here’s a checklist of 7 subtle signs that can confirm or deny your suspicions.

1) There is a lack of initiative from their side

Here’s a question for you.

When was the last time your partner suggested something for you to do together?

When did they say, “Hey, let’s go on a date tomorrow?”

Sure, life gets busy and people get overwhelmed, but if your partner is emotionally invested in your relationship and wants to make you happy, they will always find their way back to you – even if just for a few hours when you get to chat, reconnect, and nurture your love.

In one of my past relationships, months went by without my ex suggesting anything whatsoever. I was always the first one to reach out, to plan activities, and to ask when we would see each other again.

And then it dawned on me: if I were to take a step back and let my then-boyfriend take charge, I knew our relationship would immediately fall apart.

I was the only one who carried us forward. And it was exhausting as hell.

We broke up soon after because he was no longer in love with me.

So, here’s lesson number one: if your partner shows a lack of initiative, it’s the first sign they are quiet quitting.

2) You haven’t had a deep chat in ages

Think back to when you and your significant other fell in love.

Remember those nights full of three-hour-long conversations and laughter, the constant texting, and the genuine interest you showed in one another’s lives?

If you’re asking yourself where that deep sense of connection has disappeared off to, the reason may be that your partner no longer tries to have those kinds of intellectually stimulating and emotionally validating conversations with you.

It hurts, I know. I’ve been in your shoes before.

And while you’re wondering whether you’ve simply run out of stuff to talk about, whether you’re boring, or whether this is just what love is supposed to look like, the truth is that someone who is crazy for you will always try to reconnect with you on that level.

And that’s because they will genuinely care about what’s going on in your life and inside your mind.

If your conversations are mostly surface-level, if you feel more socially satisfied when you’re with your friends than with your significant other, and if it feels like they’re not really interested in what you bring to the table…

I have some bad news. They may be silently drifting away.

And sometimes – if you’ve had conversations about this and no long-term change has taken place – it’s best to let them go. You deserve someone who is excited to talk to you and hear about your day.

3) They rarely prioritize the relationship

If your partner were to choose between hanging out with friends at the pub and having a romantic dinner with you, what would they go for?

Of course, both are completely valid. Your partner doesn’t have to always choose you over their friends or other commitments.

The goal of that question was something else entirely – it was all about the speed with which you replied.

If your first reaction was to think, “Yeah, they’d absolutely ditch me for their friends,” or “They always seem much happier around their friends than when they’re with me,” there’s a high chance that your gut instinct is telling you something.

In other words, you don’t feel like your partner views your relationship as a priority – most likely because they usually put other aspects of their life first.

Look, everyone should have some kind of balance between their romantic relationships and other parts of who they are. Keeping one’s independence is important.

However, it goes without saying that a romantic relationship is a huge deal, and it absolutely should be treated as such. Your romantic partner is essentially your best friend, lover, possibly flatmate and co-parent, and potentially a lifetime companion.

You ought to be one of your partner’s priorities. Full stop.

4) They make empty promises or run away from conflict

pic2278 1 7 subtle signs your partner is silently drifting away from you

Almost every couple runs into an occasional disagreement. That’s just part of the deal.

The quality of your relationship isn’t determined by how many disagreements you have – sometimes, you might just be going through a rough patch – but by your approach to those issues.

If you treat conflict as something you can both get through as long as you work as a team, disagreements might even be a good thing because they will help you strengthen your relationship and understand one another in more depth.

If your partner always tries to run away from conflict or if they promise they will change their behavior only to continue repeating the same old patterns…

Bingo.

There’s a chance they might be quiet quitting the relationship, which is why they no longer try to solve problems and improve what you two have together.

They’re simply surviving.

5) They no longer speak their love language

One of my exes used to love physical touch. It was his primary love language – every time we were together, he would hug me, pick me up and spin me around, cuddle me, and play with my hair.

Years down the line, I noticed that he had slowly stopped seeking that sort of physical closeness.

Sure, he would kiss me when he came home or cuddle me when we went to bed, but there were no random bursts of physical affection anymore; no light touch when he passed me in the hallway; no attempts to have that kind of connection with me.

That was when I realized he was slowly drifting away, and no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn’t be able to catch him.

See, it is one thing to struggle to speak another person’s love language. But if someone ceases to speak a love language that is their own…

Well, that’s when you know that a fundamental part of the relationship has broken down.

6) You feel like your relationship just runs on auto-pilot

When romance died down between me and my ex, I used to rationalize it by saying to myself, “This is probably normal. The honeymoon period is over, after all, so maybe it’s okay for us to just… co-exist?”

It was only after we broke up that I realized just how sad that thought had been.

Sometimes, relationships get into a rut. Romance takes the backseat when your career lives are especially busy. You simply can’t make the time to go on a date three times a week, and that’s completely fine.

However, it’s important to remember that romantic relationships aren’t like stable castles that stand for hundreds of years; they are like flowers, fragile and thirsty, and if you don’t nurture them, they might die.

Ask yourself:

  • Is our relationship punctuated by interesting events that bring us closer to each other?
  • Do our conversations feel fulfilling?
  • Am I genuinely excited and happy when I interact with my partner?
  • Does it feel like our relationship is growing and moving forward?

If your answer to these questions is no…

You know what it means.

7) They stick to the bare minimum

Having grown up in a chaotic household, I used to think that a partner who treated me with kindness and respect was the best life could offer.

That was before I realized that this was the absolute bare minimum. Someone who’s kind to you doesn’t necessarily have to be a good match for you, and their kindness in and of itself isn’t enough to make a relationship work.

If your partner is nice to you and tells you they love you from time to time, that is the bare minimum.

If they go along with your plans and date suggestions, that’s also the bare minimum.

If they are faithful and communicate pretty effectively… yep, you guessed it.

The thing is that the bare minimum is not enough. Your significant other ought to make you feel alive, loved, and taken care of; they should be your best friend, someone who genuinely takes an interest in you.

If you notice that they are drifting away, it’s time to have a talk. And if nothing changes…

There are people out there in the world who would love nothing more than to love you with all their hearts.

Picture of Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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