12 Comments

I fucking love this.

Expand full comment

The reality is, once you've had kids and lost years of career momentum, it's hard to find real freedom. Women check out from marriages all the time as a means of survival - but I've never seen it explained as strategy. What a freeing way to frame it. It's a choice and you get to make it until you can make the choice to leave. Or maybe something else changes. You never know. Regardless, this is a choice that doesn't require lawyers who will drain every last penny of your savings.

Expand full comment

This is also the first step to breaking out of codependency, I've found.

Expand full comment

I've read this 4 or 5 times and have never felt more validated by anything else you've written. Your pieces are exceptional but when they refer more frequently to women who are being hit or threatened with physical abuse, having forced sex, being insulted or humiliated, etc., I've often felt that since none of this applied to me then why am I so miserable? But what has happened to me for the last 33 years is clearly abusive. And I see that what I've instinctively done for the last 6 years has a name - quiet quitting. I can't get divorced right now. I've never been able to save due to his misappropriation of money, and I cannot fund tens of thousands of dollars to go to court at my age. But I don't have to socialize with him, sit at the table with him, or talk much, if at all, to him. And I can learn to love it!

Expand full comment

Gosh Janet. Me too. 34 years of a financially, mentally, emotionally, and sexually abusive marriage where I am frequently gaslit. I have only recently woken up and been validated through reading this Substack. I have quietly quitted but I know I need to leave because lately it feels like potentially there could be violence.

Expand full comment

Thank you Zawn for all you do and all of this important work. I feel like this is about what I’ve done but managed to legally get divorced. We’re in the same home, splitting expenses etc. And my daughter is happier, healthier and safer with this arrangement that won’t last forever. When we’d had separate residences and he couldn’t be controlling, verbally or as emotionally abusive to me, it started to get directed to my daughter. He was telling her she needed to pray more so mommy will come home and began to smack at her and spank her. Legally, there’s not much of a case to change custody. And I can’t risk my daughters well being to put her in a bad situation and let the toxicity destroy her until he abuses her to a point that will legally cross the line and then I can take action. And he’s a former cop so knows how far to push the limits.. he does have a lot of health issues and maybe one day soon, nature will solve this for my daughter and I.

Expand full comment

“So if you stop sharing your emotions, stop reaching out, stop trying to meaningfully connect, he may not even realize it.”

The most common response men have to this is relief. That’s why so many men claim their wives wanted divorces “out of nowhere.” This quiet quitting stage is actually part of a common pattern. Women spend between 2-7 years on average trying to fix the relationship. Men interpret women’s attempts to get the relationship on track as attacks on themselves, or merely annoying. They devote their energy to fighting and deflecting these attacks instead of making things better. They don’t see or hear the wife’s corrective measures as commitment and love. Then something will happen to break the camel’s back and the wife finally gives up emotionally and retreats into herself and her separate life as she tries to arrange her affairs to leave the marriage. She focuses on her own work, the kids, other relationships, improving herself. Men describe this period as basically bliss. She’s not nagging anymore, not bothering him to pay attention to her or the kids, not annoying him with her petty complaints about this or that.

Then she serves the papers and it’s over.

The sad thing about it is it shows what men value most in a woman is silence.

Expand full comment

😯😯😯 @yellow lab, wow. I have seen articles directed toward men that say essentially this: start to worry when your wife stops "picking fights" because it means she's given up. It's SO telling about what men value in women.

Expand full comment

Yup. I've seen it labeled as "walk away wife syndrome."

Expand full comment

So true!

Expand full comment

Thank you - I need to do this (prior to leaving of course). I need to stop sharing my emotions, stop reaching out, stop trying to fix this fucking train wreck of a relationship. I am so done. I just need to time it all carefully and get some things sorted out legally. I needed to read this, thank you.

Expand full comment

I hope you don't mind but I put the suggestions in this article in my dairy. I am going to remind myself every day. Thanks for the work you do.

Expand full comment