Advanced search

To think you can't get past 'the ick' im a relationship?

(662 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread.

Thickums Thu 02-Jan-20 20:09:37

LIGHT HEARTED Interested in other posters thoughts on 'the ick'.

For those who don't know, the 'ick' is when someone you are dating just starts to irritate you for no apparent reason.
I dont mean normal annoyances, i mean they start to make your skin crawl and their mannerisms just go through you like a knife.
It can just creep up on you without any warning and they can even tick every box and otherwise be a 10/10 partner but unfortunately even them breathing irritates the life out of you. You try to fight it, but ultimately the irritation can turn to anger and make even the best of people become snappy with rage due to 'the ick'.

Ive experienced this once. Lovely bloke, not a bad bone in his body. After about 2 years for some reason still unknown to me i suddenly got 'the ick'. Watching him eat a pot noodle would make my blood boil.. Literally give me the rage. Everything he did irritated the life out of me.
As he was so lovely i tried my hardest to make things work. Until one day i confessed to a friend who told me about 'the ick' and how once it happens it can never be undone. They will irritate you forever. No one knows the cause of the ick.. But its incurableblush. So i ended it. Felt nothing but relief.

So am i unreasonable to think 'the ick' is a real thing and once it happens the relationship is doomed?

Has anyone else experienced this? What is the reason behind 'the ick'? Why does it usually seem to happen with people who tick all the boxes?

I can't lie, i sometimes read posts on the relationship boards where the OP will say their partner has suddenly said they want out. Whilst everyone else is shouting 'OW' i think to myself maybe they've just got 'the ick?' blush

OP’s posts: |
Jumpers268 Tue 23-Feb-21 10:47:09

Once, a boyfriend said to me in a wistful/hinty way... 'christmas is just round the corner'. That was it for me.

@Weirdomagnet proper laughed at this. Can just imagine the scene 😂😂😂.

Best thread ever. Just spent 2 hours procrastinating reading all the comments. Too good. The ick is real.

An ex would always say he'd overlaid rather than overslept. Every time it made me cringe. He'd also look at me with puppy dog eyes EVERY TIME I spoke. And he was another who liked to be gently stroked. Shudder.

adrianmolesmole Mon 15-Feb-21 17:29:37

At the risk of sounding boring I think you CAN get over the ick, but it may take some communication!

For instance I used to have a crush on a guy till I noticed he had long fingernails. We were chatting once and I said (rather tactlessly) why've you got long fingernails then, isn't that weird? And he said 'I know, but I play spanish guitar so I keep them longer'. Ick went away after that.

Ddot Mon 15-Feb-21 15:58:48

I dated a really nice bloke many years ago but for some strange reason I hated his smell. Nothing wrong not dirty, not foody, just something bothered the hell out of me. Strange

Yokey Mon 15-Feb-21 10:42:17

This has been my favourite thread of all time. So many laughs!

I've known about the ick for some years now but at 15 I thought there was something wrong with me. Briefly wondered if I must be a lesbian confused

As an adult, there was one guy who used to say "what are your movements, Yokey?" (to ask me my plans for the day). It was like a fucking catchphrase and I can't explain why it annoyed me so much. He was also far too soppy when he told me he loved me and I felt suffocated by his soft caresses - he'd gently stroke my face, staring intently and adoringly at me with puppy dog eyes in full earnest and whisper "I love you, Yokey", wearing a self-satisfied expression whilst exhaling a little too loudly and slowly, clearly expecting me to swoon in appreciation of his profound feelings. BLEURGH. Get the fuck off me!

I think some posters haven't got it. It's not a criticism of the targets of the ick. It is an involuntary and overwhelming repulsion, completely unwelcome. Nobody wants to feel the ick. The things we've noted are likely not the cause but more of a symptom, and I agree with PPs who've said that it's probably a way of our bodies/subconscious or whatever telling us these men fundamentally aren't right for us. A man can do something that gives you the ick and another man can do the same thing without giving you the ick. I think for me it's about perceiving a man as weak in some way - a bit thick, too feminine, needy or some other trait I can't respect. And it doesn't matter what my common sense says; it's purely visceral.

It's also not about being irritated or disgusted by bad habits either. You can get through all kinds of disgust and irritation with the right man and never get the ick.

Ddot Mon 18-Jan-21 06:31:01

I used to be a body builder. My session ran over and needed to be at work. A very nice man offered to drive me, I normally walked so gratfully accepted.
I got ready ventured outside to be greeted with the sight of this huge bloke standing next to this yellow monstrosity. He had a Cheshire cat smug grim and opened the doors which came up like wings (cant remember the type of sportscar) I got in without saying a word, he asked if I liked his car, great! I replied not enthusiastically.
I suppose he expected me to swoon at his feet but no.
Hate flash cars with a passion, never liked never will.

Pudmyboy Sun 17-Jan-21 22:26:37

Also, out of the noise of the disco when I could hear him properly, he had a really irritating voice...

Pudmyboy Sun 17-Jan-21 22:24:47

I used to see this gorgeous bloke regularly at the Friday night disco (yes it's that long ago!). Eventually we copped off and I invited him back to mine for a cup of tea which was definitely meant as a euphemism. We walked to his car which was...a Robin Reliant. Oh the ick!! He did come back to mine and did get a cup of tea, but that was all....

Ddot Fri 23-Oct-20 10:16:38

I went out with lovely man but he couldn't kiss. I tried everything to change it then one day just told him I like kisses this way. He laughed at me and said thats how children kiss. I'd put up with being swallowed for months and he laughed. Bye bye

Sarahjlou Tue 29-Sep-20 21:37:01

Currently experiencing this with bf...all of a sudden I can’t STAND the sight of him. Things that are annoying me: the way he licks his knife at meals, the way he says “hmm it was pleasant” when I ask him if something was agreeable; the fact he gives me a f***ing lesson about everything (told me how to put a pan on boiling pasta earlier tonight because “the steam rises and the pan loses water” ffs I’m 37 and have been boiling pasta regularly since uni); the way his joggers are baggy at the bum; the way he walks up the garden (yep, really); there’s so much more and I’m not sure what I’m going to do because my period is due but I don’t think that’s it...!
Oh and he does that disgusting thing where they hack up stuff from the back of their throat, every morning and night when he brushes his teeth. And this morning he SNIFFED his dental floss whilst he was flossing and said “fuck that smells disgusting”. HURRRL!

Suffice to say I don’t think we’ll be sleeping together again in a hurry...

LadyH846 Mon 21-Sep-20 14:27:45


Yes. I saw someone once whom I had been in a relationship with years before. We were talking in a bar. The old spark was there and the flame was being fanned back into life as we laughed over the past. He reached for his drink and brought it to his (very kissable) lips. I took it all in, romantically thinking that I wouldn't want to forget this, the moment we got back together. Then, quite abruptly, a bucket of cold water was dumped on anything that was smouldering for me. In the corners of his mouth were thick, white secretions. Like he couldn't keep his spit in his mouth and it was gathering and thickening there. And he'd not even noticed.

Ugh. that used to happen to my first boyfriend. I never worked out what it was. So so grim

LadyH846 Mon 21-Sep-20 14:21:05


I think it's just a phase. Stick with the person, talk honestly about the niggles, and appreciate and love the person, and it passes.

I think often we get the ick with men because they're mostly grim. If we really love them we can get past it. If we don't love them, that becomes very clear when the ick rears its head.

lemartin Wed 16-Sep-20 18:37:36

I had the WORST ick and we got through it, although it was rather forced as we lived together in a shared house in London we couldn't exactly have space. In our tiny room he slept on the sofa for weeks, even his breathing and chewing would drive me INSANE I couldn't stand him!
I have NO idea where it came from, just one day everything he did infuriated me.
Weeks passed of this and I was looking at other places to move to and I just realised how much of a bitch I was being. I apologised for being so awful over such minor things and we slowly got closer again.
It's been 5 years since then and we get married next year, no sign of ick! Although his chewing still does my head in 🤣🤣

Pipsqueakpopsqueak Thu 27-Aug-20 00:13:40

Yes, I’ve had this several times! One was a guy I’d been swoony over for months. We finally got together and I stayed over and in the morning I’m bed he did this thing with his mouth to like, divert his morning breath away from my face. The ick hit hard.

I’d never admit it to him but I had it with DH after each baby for a short period - a strong repulsion to the point I actually thought I was going to throw up after sex once.

I do think there’s some chemical psychology at play...

Anotherlovelybitofsquirrel Fri 21-Aug-20 22:15:41

@workofheart what did you do? Life's too short, you deserve better! smilethanks

firecracker69 Fri 21-Aug-20 21:54:07

My ex was a really handsome but very vain man. However, his hair was a complete and utter fucking mess. I pushed past this because he SEEMED to be so lovely. I almost cancelled my second date with him because it looked so horrendous. From the front it looked perfectly normal, as if he had a full head of hair. When he turned to the side it was quite similar to Woody Woodpecker - a crock of hair at the front and fuck all at the back. It was always caked in hair products and combed over to fuck, in a piss poor attempt at disguising the ever increasing baldness. No running my fingers through that! He proudly told me he cut it himself. Not really something he should have been boasting about. I hinted it'd suit him if he shaved it off, I was told in no uncertain terms that wasn't happening.

One scorching summer day, I drove him home with the roof down on my car. Oh deary me. He literally clung to his remaining few hairs as if his life depended on it.

Wherever I went there were sniggers and stares. One woman even drunkenly pointed out "fucking hell, you've got a shit load of Silvikrin on your hair."

One night, he bent down to put his shoes on and the whole hair sprayed mess flopped forward to reveal the most enormous bald spot. It was the first time I'd fully clapped eyes on it. I shuddered in disgust. No sooner had he left than I texted him and ended it.... I used the excuse of I needed to be alone.....

That fucking bald spot was a warning sign.... a huge red flag.... oh how I should've listened to my instinct.

We got back together. He turned out to be the biggest mistake of my life. He treated me appallingly. A dirty, lying cheat - with the worst comb over known to walk the planet.

I had the last laugh.... but that's another story.

Ruby0707 Mon 17-Aug-20 10:58:27

I think I'm getting this at the moment. Been with this guy for nearly a year who is absolutely amazing, really thoughtful and we've been having a great time together.

I now have this feeling which is growing that I don't want to be with him and everything he does is starting to annoy me.

Is this it? I'm actually really sad thinking that it is.

LuxLuxLux84 Sun 24-May-20 18:38:07

My ex putting his chewed ball of nicotine gum NEXT to his Slice of cheesecake on the plate so he could eat it.

ElizabethMountbatten Sun 24-May-20 18:30:50

I had to come back on here after a gross teenager out the front of my house triggered a horrible memory by picking their spots. My ex. I once stood at the kitchen window watching him read in the garden. He had a massive angry red spot on his cheek that he was "leaving to come to a head." I saw him put down his book, viciously squeeze it into an explosion of blood and pus, wipe his face and SUCK HIS FINGER. 🤮🤮🤮🤮
That image came to mind for weeks after any time he came near me.

sheetspread Sat 09-May-20 17:48:38

Shit that was long, soz. Shouldn't have done that second coffee.

sheetspread Sat 09-May-20 17:48:06

I suspect this phenomenon has some links to the fact that research has repeatedly demonstrated that men's libidos tend to decline quite gradually over time (rather than in relation to the duration of anything in particular) whereas women's libidos, on average, tend to decline comparatively rapidly over the course of each individual relationship but reset to maximum with a new partner. Not universal ofc but it's a tendency. To generalise massively, men err towards variety and women err towards having a more limited "spread" of men on which they have major sexual focus at any one time (usually one or two), but it's generally temporary - inconveniently for society - and once it's done it's done. Bound to be baby-related reasons for the tendencies of both sexes, I suppose.

Also, a lot of the theories and popular ideas about what women find attractive in men (eg power, money, arrogance/confidence etc), are pretty flawed, and a possible explanation for their persistence when they don't apply in so, so many individual cases is the fact that female attraction to men is based on their (actual or theoretical) status amongst other men. Men's attraction to women, wherever it falls on the scale of superficiality, generally has comparatively very little do with women's status.

Being physically attractive or swaggeringly confident or rich or powerful in the most conventional sense is obviously playing the male status game on easy mode to an extent, but it is also possible for men to be respected and highly regarded by one another when they aren't particularly gorgeous, or aren't showily confident, aren't rich or in a position of power, etc. Charisma, competence and self-awareness are often very workable stand-ins. I have a suspicion that what a lot of these ick-triggers have in common is that they're the sort of thing that, at a very base and animal level, notify the ick-experiencer that the other men of the pack would be a) deeply irritated by this man and b) that they would probably be able to paste him into a mousse for it, with little effort. It may not actually be true in reality, of course, because the world isn't that primitive anymore and our visceral judgments can be just as off base as our more cerebral ones. But I have a feeling it may be something vaguely in this ballpark!

Men definitely do get the ick, FWIW. My friendships groups as an adolescent and very young adult were male-heavy, and many (inevitably rather uncomfortable) experiences of hearing about ick-moments with a woman come to mind. My observation is that theirs are more visual, and more directly linked to the build-up and release of sexual energy and tension though. Although there is some crossover I think - the ick-factor event as signal that this relationship is a-goner and one's attention has been blown elsewhere is definitely unisex.

L4ur3n123 Sat 09-May-20 08:08:48

I worked through the ick. Incredibly difficult but came thru other end.

angeltop Mon 04-May-20 11:45:46

Wow, there’s a word for it, ick...perfect.

Baxterbear Sun 03-May-20 18:09:30

WorkofHeart you seem so utterly stressed at the moment and I sense that you are about ready to implode! All I can suggest is that you be totally honest with your partner about needing/wanting your space and explain that sometimes you need time on your own. Life is all upside down for most of us right now and living in such claustrophobic conditions is definitely a not healthy for any relationship and things that would not usually bother you so much suddenly become magnified and appear insurmountable. Hopefully things will start to return to "normal" pretty soon so, don't make any important decisions right now but do try to explain how you're feeling and maybe you can both work through things together? Whatever you decide to do I wish you lots of luck 😊

Baxterbear Sun 03-May-20 17:38:58

I had to end it with a guy I was dating when after snuggling up to him in bed one night, I made the horrifying discovery that he "stored" his bogies behind his left knee! Definitely an ick to too far....

Babochan88 Sun 03-May-20 10:20:57

So obviously the term ‘ick’ has been around for a while. But Leanne from love island brought the term ‘the ick’ back into popularity. Me thinks OP is a Journalist looking for content...😂

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in