Having an ick for someone feels uncomfortable, but it’s different from discovering a red flag, says Barnett. While icks can be caused by the smallest of things, red flags indicate unhealthy behaviour or potential harm for the future and shouldn’t be ignored.
That doesn’t mean you should disregard the ick altogether, though. Barnett says we should try to understand where this feeling is coming from, instead of downplaying it. “Give it a good analysis, where it is really coming from – both deeply and superficially,” he says. “Have some time on your own, and try not to pour it down on the person. Think it through.”
A little contemplation is a good idea, but Briefel argues we shouldn’t overthink the ick too much. “The number one thing to do is to not start to fret,” she says. “Take a minute away to think about why your ick-meter has been triggered, and if this is a dealbreaker for the relationship.”
It may sound awkward as hell, but Briefel believes you should be upfront about your ick, because this is the key to resuscitating a limp romance.
“If brushed under the carpet, an ick can grow until it becomes a far bigger issue,” she says. “An ick should be addressed almost as soon as it occurs, as you and your partner need to be on the same page. Honesty is vital for this – talk to your partner, express how you feel, what needs to change and what you believe the next steps are to move forward or nip it in the bud.”
Barnett agrees you can get over an ick, but it won’t be easy. “It is difficult, as the feeling is connected to deeper parts of ourselves, more than just a superficial and random behaviour,” he says.
Of course, you also don’t want to lead anyone on and be disingenuous about your feelings, but the ick may be transient – and you may develop deeper feelings that cancel out these concerns.
“It differs from person to person as to whether getting the ick means the end of a relationship, or if you could get over it,” says Briefel. “It is completely possible for relationships to move past an ick – it could just be that you don’t know your partner well enough yet! So chat to your partner or the person you’re dating, get to know each other a bit more and go from there.”