I “Quiet Quit” My Marriage, Staying for the Money and for Our Kids, Even Though I Was Miserable

Elle Silver

“We need to go to marriage therapy now!” my husband cried out. I’d just told him I was leaving him. He said I’d blindsided him, and demanded we go to marriage therapy right that moment.

Actually, we ended up in the counselor’s office the very next day. My husband called his own therapist, who just happened to know a marriage counselor in the same building, who just happened to have a slot open the following day. How convenient!

Yes, I’m being sarcastic. I didn’t want to talk to a marriage therapist about how to reconcile our relationship. I wanted a divorce.

I’d been unhappy for a long time. So why was this news so surprising to my husband? How could he have been so unaware of my unhappiness? Why did he feel so blindsided?

Because instead of being open about my unhappiness, I’d simply “quiet quit” our marriage.

What is “quiet quitting”?

Quiet quitting has been in the news a lot these days. We typically hear the term associated with the workplace. People are tired of their jobs so they just opt-out.

They don’t quit their position for good. They stay at the job, but just stop working hard at it. They don’t tell anyone about it. They just start to do nothing more than go through the motions.

Why do they “quiet quit” instead of "real quit" their jobs? For the money, of course. Who can afford to actually quit their job?

Unfortunately, people do this in their marriages as well. They stay for the money and often for the kids. Yes, even when they’re miserable.

They start to just go through the motions. They stay married but stop working hard at the relationship because they believe the relationship is already broken beyond repair.

This was definitely my situation in my marriage.

I stayed married for the money and for our kids.

As my husband and I sat there together on the couch in the marriage counselor’s office the day after I’d told him I wanted a divorce, I remember the counselor telling us how he was going to help us fix our marriage. I didn’t want to fix our marriage. I wanted out!

I had finally worked up the courage to tell my husband that I was leaving him. I rattled off the laundry list of issues that I had with my husband to the therapist. These were issues I thought my husband knew about. His jaw dropped open like he’d never heard this information before.

“Did you realize your wife was this unhappy?” the therapist asked him.

My husband said no.

But how had he not known about my unhappiness? Easy. Because I had only “quiet quit” our marriage.

I was massively unhappy but felt I had to stay for the money and for our kids. Perhaps you think this makes me an awful person. I assure you I’m not.

I was simply being practical. I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford payments on our house by myself. I didn’t want our kids to have to live in an apartment or change schools. I also wanted our children to grow up in a two-parent household.

I had it all worked out in my mind. I “quiet quit” our marriage. But that meant I wasn’t being honest with my husband.

That wasn’t fair to him either. By only “quiet quitting” our marriage, neither of us could get on with our lives.

"Quitting for real" was difficult.

Not long after that appointment with the marriage therapist, I did divorce my husband. It was just as bad as I’d feared it would be. Once I left my marriage, all the things that I’d been most afraid of did happen.

I had to move out of our house into a tiny apartment. Luckily, our kids got to stay in the same schools, but I struggled with money. I went on food stamps. My now EX-husband moved into an even smaller apartment and couldn’t host our children there on his days with them.

He stayed at my place when it was his turn with our kids. This was very uncomfortable for me. So you see, my life did get a lot more difficult by “loudly quitting” my marriage. Quitting for real was unbearably hard. But I was also finally living authentically.

I had thought I was being practical by just “quiet quitting.” I wasn’t. I was just festering in an awful situation.

We're both happier now.

Since quitting my marriage for real, I’ve grown so much. I’ve become much more grounded in the years since I left my husband. His life has improved as well. He’s happily remarried now.

I don’t recommend “quiet quitting” your marriage. I recommend pulling off the Band-Aid.

Sure, it hurts at first but then you can finally heal. Only by loudly quitting a marriage that makes you miserable will you ultimately be able to get on with your life and finally be happy.

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I write about dating, marriage, divorce, family, society, and the city I live in: Los Angeles.

Los Angeles, CA

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