Got 'the ick'? How to get over it and improve your relationship

Have you ever had 'the ick'? Is it something you're experiencing now? Are you worried your partner is feeling 'the ick ' about you? Does it mean you have to break up? Or is it possible to recover? 


The 'ick' is (according to a "sudden feeling of disgust or repulsion to a dating partner someone was previously attracted to" and may leave you feeling bored, irritated or generally uncomfortable.

As a term, 'the ick' has been all over social media for some time now, but, at its core, it puts you off the other person, leaving you wondering if you'll ever feel attracted to them again. Examples of ‘ick-causing’ may be being rude to waiters, referring to themselves in the third person (Jenny hates that) or clapping when a plane lands. But do these need to be deal breakers?

How to get over '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, get in touch with me.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Seaford, East Sussex, BN25
Written by Jennifer Warwick, MSc Psych, BACP Registered | Counsellor and Parenting Expert
Seaford, East Sussex, BN25

I am a BACP registered counsellor working online. I work with people who struggle to balance work, home and family life. People constantly rush, looking after others over themselves and are exhausted.

If this sounds like you and you'd like to learn more, contact me for an introductory chat by phone.

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