It’s happened. Out of seemingly nowhere, you are — for lack of a better word — repulsed by the person you’re dating, despite how lovey-dovey you might have felt even hours earlier.
The feeling is dubbed “the ick” and it typically occurs early on in relationships (although there are always exceptions) when the rose-colored glasses are starting to fade and you’re really seeing this person for who they are and suddenly you cringe at the thought of them touching you.
Although anyone can experience “the ick,” girls on TikTok are sharing certain situations that have made them feel it. “The ick” can be brought on from things like finding out a partners’ family refers to them by a childish nickname to being grossed out that the other person enjoys drinking a full glass of milk.
“The ick” was not born on TikTok, it’s a real psychological effect. The term was inadvertently coined in the third season of the U.K. dating reality show “Love Island.” Contestant Olivia, who was “coupled up” with Sam and seemed to have been getting along with him on dates, suddenly couldn’t take it anymore but couldn’t articulate why.
“When you’ve seen a boy, and got the ick, it doesn’t go,” she said in an interview on the show. “It’s caught you, and it’s taken over your body. It’s just ick. I can’t shake it off.”
It’s not meant to be mean. “The ick” is your subconscious coming out to flag incompatibilities between you and someone else. Someone might not care about watching their partner pop a pimple in front of them, others might think it’s too personal and unhygienic and can’t stop thinking about it whenever their partner touches them.
During the initial rush of attraction during a relationship, we tend to put other people on pedestals. Unless there are some glaring issues, we envision this new person in our lives as the perfect partner, when, in fact, they are just as human as we are.
Some of the examples of what causes “the ick” — watching your new beau crack a joke that nobody hears, seeing them take a genuine selfie, staring at the faint marinara sauce left around their mouth after they ate dinner — are showcasing vulnerability and humanness. They don’t necessarily have to be dealbreakers, but they cut down the pressures of having a crush.
But “the ick” is not the final say in your relationships. According to an interview with the “Independent,” dating coach and relationship expert James Preece said that “the ick” can sometimes be yourself holding back from happiness. It’s important to tune into your “icks,” but take careful consideration with it.
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