Being a regular audience of social media, especially TikTok, must have been very exhausting as there are too many new pop-culture terms that Gen Z needs to catch up with. One of the dating terms that happens to resurface is "the ick." According to Cosmopolitan, "the ick" is a relationship phenomenon that is difficult to understand. It somehow describes and refers to losing romantic or sexual interest in someone you were once attracted to. "The ick" can present as mild or strong disgust toward their significant other. Sometimes, it is simply a sign to say, "Thank you, next."
Naurrrrrrr♬ YUH IM A MOTHHAA - 🌺
@amndachang look at those lil feetsies #newickunlocked #newick #icks #fypシ ♬ original sound - ⭐️Helene⭐️
The term "ick" was first coined by the titular character of the TV show Ally McBeal which shows a sudden cringe reaction that we develop toward the person we are dating. It doesn't reach the point of having concerns or doubts about the relationship but more about a reaction to their habit, behavior, or personal trait. According to Leanna Stockard, LMFT at LifeStance Health, "the ick" is more of a reaction that can happen quickly and may catch you off guard.
If you haven't fully figured out how ick works, here's an example. Let's say that you have been dating a person for a few months, everything seems to be going so well, even to the point that your closest friends and family have approved your partner. However, one day when you go out in a fancy restaurant, you find out that your partner has a habit of chewing loudly with their mouth open. You become repulsed by their actions and somehow you find it hard to shake it off your mind. At the end of the day, it could also affect your whole feelings toward your partner.
The ick often happens at the early stage of a relationship, the phase when you're getting to know the person you're dating. It usually takes two to three months, or the honeymoon period. Around that time, you might start to realize the repeated behaviors of your partner that give you the ick. However, when you start having doubts later after a year or two in a relationship, that's probably not the ick but more of an indicator that you're drifting apart from one another.
Another thing about the ick that you may want to consider is whether or not you could put up with their behavior in a long-term relationship. If you feel like you can't see yourself dealing with their behavior for another year, you shouldn't ignore the ick as the ick is a gut reaction—which is the best thing to trust. Nevertheless, getting an ick from your partner that you're trying to get to know further can be a good chance to self-reflect, "Am I being too picky?" Because sometimes, "the ick" can reflect your discomfort with getting closer to someone, rather than the actual behavior the other person is doing.(DIP/alm)