Getting Over the ‘ick: Navigating Challenges for Stronger Bonds

Have you ever experienced 'the ick'? Is it something you're going through now? Concerned that your partner might be feeling 'the ick' about you? Is it a deal-breaker, or is recovery possible?

Definition: The 'ick' is a sudden feeling of disgust or repulsion towards a dating partner someone was previously attracted to, leading to boredom, irritation, or general discomfort.

The term 'the ick' has been trending on social media, highlighting instances like being rude to waiters, referring to oneself in the third person (not a fan!), or clapping when a plane lands. But do these have to be relationship deal-breakers?

Overcoming 'the ick'


As with any difficult conversation, timing is everything. Pick a time when you're both relatively relaxed and not stressed and in a place where you both feel comfortable and can talk without interruptions.

  • Begin the conversation kindly and with affection, letting them know you appreciate them and reinforcing your intention to strengthen your relationship.
  • Use 'I' statements and focus on your feelings so you don't sound accusatory, for example, "I've been feeling a bit off lately" rather than "You make me feel disgusted when you mispronounce David Bowie's name".
  • Be specific about the behaviour or situation that contributed to your feelings so they can clearly understand the issue.
  • Let them know you want to work with them to improve the situation; this is about being collaborative rather than confrontational.
  • Encourage them to share how they feel to help you understand each other.
    Work out potential solutions or changes together.
  • Reassure them that this is not a deal breaker for you, that you still love and are committed to them and want to strengthen the relationship.


  • Return to the activities you both enjoyed when your relationship started. Whether it's a favourite movie genre, a shared sport, or a hobby, rediscovering these common interests can reignite the spark.
  • Make time to let your partner know what you do appreciate about them and encourage them to do the same for you. Small gestures of appreciation can go a long way to improve the overall vibe of a relationship.
  • Use mindfulness to help you stay in the present moment with your partner rather than imagining them forever referring to their football team as 'we'. Make time to talk, giving each other your full attention without interrupting so you can absorb what each other is saying and respond thoughtfully.

Look after yourself

Self-care is crucial when you're experiencing challenges in your relationship.

  • Make time for the interests and hobbies that bring you joy.
  • Pause and take some deep breaths to alleviate stress and bring you a sense of calm.
  • Regular physical activity is a great way to release tension and boost your mood. Whether it's going for a walk outside, yoga at home or a gym workout, incorporate it into your day and weekly schedule.

Check-in with yourself

Self-reflection is a powerful tool during times of 'the ick'. Consider where this feeling might be coming from in you. Feeling 'the ick' says more about your emotions and needs than the other person's actions. Your gut instinct can be a valuable guide in these moments. Is it signalling something more profound about the relationship? Trust your instincts and pay attention to those subtle cues – they often carry messages that your conscious mind may not have fully grasped.

Get support

Therapy can help you understand relationship challenges, whether you speak individually or as a couple.

Feeling 'the ick' is not a new phenomenon; it's a normal part of any relationship, as relationships constantly change. See this as an opportunity for growth and connection rather than a reason to give up.

If you find yourself needing more personalised guidance or support, contact me here.