What To Do When You’ve Got The Ick

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Oh, the dreaded ick! It comes at us out of nowhere and changes our dating life, for the better or the worse. In this post I’m going to cover – what it is, why it happens and what to do when you’ve got the ick. Fear not my friends, you’re not going insane. It’s a thing, and it’s there for a reason. But, you actually how two main options for dealing with it. So let’s jump straight in…

What Is the “The Ick?”

So hold up a little, what exactly is “the ick”? Well, it’s a dating term. Basically, it’s when you’re ‘seeing’ a guy or girl, all is going well, maybe feelings are starting to develop a little, then BAMN – just like that, something changes.

The things they say and do (which you once liked) now just seem to irritate you. The level of attraction certainly isn’t there anymore and you’re suddenly so damn put off by them.

You don’t necessarily know why, or what changed, but you don’t seem them in the same way now and from that moment on, you know that things will never be the same again…

Dun, dun, dun. It sounds dramatic, I know. But it’s true.

Sometimes it’s even worse than that. Sometimes the ick actually makes you feel repulsed by them. The compliments they used to pay you now make you wince, you cringe at the thought of being with them, and there is no way in hell you wants their lips on yours (let alone anything more!)

It’s actually pretty harsh, because more often than not – the person hasn’t changed in any way or started doing anything different. What’s changed is how you see them. And it’s usually pretty extreme and unjustified anyway.

Like, what are they actually doing wrong? Often nothing. And you get that. It’s just the “ick” has taken over, and there’s not a great deal you can do about it at the moment in time.

Whether you like the show or not, I feel like Leanne from Series 6 of Love Island sums it up in a nutshell…

So Why Do We Get The Ick?

Well, this is a tricky one. It’s difficult to understand why you get the ick because there’s not usually a clear reason or justification behind getting it in the first place. However, you can kind of think of it as your gut instinct.

Whether you can pinpoint why at that point or not, it doesn’t matter, all you know is that this person isn’t right for you. That’s why we get it. Our mind is warning us off the person. It’s basically like, ‘nu uh, don’t go there! In fact, I’m going to make sure you don’t… have a load of this!’ [Cue the ick feelings!]

When Does It Hit?

You can get the ick can a few dates in. So maybe you got sucked in initially, started falling for them a little too fast, ignored the warning signs, then suddenly started seeing them for who they really are… which is why the ick then hits.

You might have also built them up in your head to be a certain person, only to be disappointed when they don’t fit the image you’ve created in your mind for them (even when sometimes we don’t fully give them a chance to ‘prove’ themselves.)

On the flip side, it could just be the fundamental incompatibilities that are now becoming clearer – which were initially overlooked due to the overwhelm of attraction. This is often what happens later on too. You will find you can get the ‘ick’ once the honeymoon period is over and you can actually see this person for who they are..

And just to be clear, when I say this- it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person. Far from it! In fact, I would say nice guys are the biggest victims of the ick, because they’re not game-playing so you’re not distracted by the chase

Do You Ever Get The Ick For The Wrong Reasons?

Well actually, yes. Sometimes you brain gives you the ick because it’s trying to protect you. Maybe you notice a habit you saw in someone who hurt you, maybe your feelings are starting to scare you and it’s signalling danger to your mind.

When we convince ourselves we’re going to get hurt by a person, we can convince ourselves we don’t like them anymore – only that decision is made unconsciously before we act on it.

For this reason, you shouldn’t necessarily act on your feelings straight away. 

So, What To Do When You’ve Got The Ick

The ick is involuntary. It also hits hard. Which means once it’s there, it’s difficult to get away. However, when you’ve got the ick, you shouldn’t necessarily just accept it – whether it’s there for the right reasons or not, you need to try to understand it first. To do this, ask yourself:

1) At what moment did you find yourself getting the ick?

Did it grow gradually, or stem from a certain event? (Note: the event could be something tiny. For instance, you could be sat watching tv together and they could pick their toenail and it just grosses you out and escalates from there!)

2) What is it that puts you off them now?

Do these actions justify an ‘ick’ feeling? Are these things you noticed before but felt fine about, or things you hadn’t seen?

3) How have your thoughts changed over time?

What were your initial thoughts about this person, and what are your thoughts now? Do you view them in the same light, or a different way? And why?

4) Is there any other possible reason for getting the ick?

Anything you’re scared of? Anything you’re trying to protect yourself from? With this one, it’s important to look out for habits.

You might often get the ick as a defence mechanism. Or maybe this is new for you? (Which makes it all the more frustrating and confusing!)

5) What exactly is it that makes them not right?

If you don’t think this is a cover up for any hidden fears, what GENUINE reasons are there for why this person isn’t the right person for you? Are they big enough reasons to call things quits here? And how do you honestly feel about walking away – are you sure you won’t go on to regret it? Think it all through.

What To Do When You’ve Got The Ick… And It’s Justified

If after all of these questions you’ve determined your ick feeling is justified, then okay, at least you have a better understanding now of why it’s showing up.

Once you can rationalise it with the genuine reasons for incompatibility, you should also start to get rid of the ick and just see them as a friend, or someone you used to date… Which is a good thing. The ick feelings aren’t great, so we want to get rid of them pretty fast if we can. Keep things neutral.

One thing I would also say at this point, is if you’ve got the ick, be kind to the guy. He’s probably not actually done anything massively wrong so don’t treat him badly.

Be honest with him (only not so honest that you rip into him for all the tiny things – that’s not needed), tell him that you’re not really feeling like things will progress anymore and leave things amicably.

What To Do When You’ve Got The Ick… And It’s Unreasonable

If you find that you’ve got the ick as a way to protect yourself, and you can’t actually see anything wrong with this person so you would like to continue seeing where things can go, then that’s great. You may not be able to switch this ick feeling off instantly, but just give yourself some space and time.

Explain this to your date too – maybe leave our the repulsion! – just say that you need to just work through some things. If they’re worth it, they’ll understand and be willing to wait. Then, once you can think more clearly again, pick things back up and see what happens.

Remember, dating doesn’t have to be scary! This should be the fun part – starting as friends (or friends with a few uh… benefits, shall we say!?) and growing things from there. A few posts I recommend you read:

  1. How To Stop Falling For People Too Fast: It may be the intensity that’s scaring you off, so if you slow things down a little, that should help.
  2. Understanding Your Limiting Beliefs Around Love: This will help you irradiate the beliefs that are using the ick as a defence mechanism. Get to the bottom of your issues. It’ll pay back in so many areas of your dating life, I promise!
  3. How Long Does It Take To Get To Know Someone? Just a few things to think about here – whether you’re jumping in too fast, or making assumptions about the person without giving them a proper chance, this should give you a greater sense of perspective on the situation.

That’s All For Now

So there we have it – what to do when you’ve got the ick. I hope this helps to make things a little clearer. Subscribe below for more dating tips and insights – straight to your inbox every couple of weeks. Take care.


What To Do When You've Got The Ick

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