Why do I Have The Ick With My Boyfriend: A Physical Reaction

In most cases, the ick is a physical reaction that occurs in the early stages of dating. It’s a psychosomatic response between the mind and the body to warn ourselves of a potential social threat. This feeling of disgust is a common occurrence in a relationship, so why do you have the ick with your boyfriend?

Before you mistake the ick as a warning sign for a Red flag in your partner, it can simply be a fickle reaction to certain mannerisms that your boyfriend possesses. Alternatively, this reaction may also occur as a defence mechanism if you have unresolved issues from your past, whether it was a toxic relationship or childhood trauma.

In this article, we’ll broaden on the topic of why do you have the ick with your boyfriend. We’ll delve into what the ick is, and if it’s normal to experience it in a relationship.

What is the ick in a relationship?

Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend
Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend

When you experience the ick in a relationship, the attraction you feel for your partner will become reversed. Instead of being turned on by your boyfriend, you’ll begin to feel repelled by his mannerisms or actions. 

Psychotherapist, Susan Zinn confirms that when we get the ick from someone, it’s a physical reaction to a person’s behaviour or characteristics. This is an almost instantaneous recoil of the initial attraction you felt for your boyfriend.

(Did you know; an Italian restaurant is one of the most popular locations for a first date.)

The ick has been known to derive from the unconscious communication between a couple. This includes our acknowledgement of a persons smell, values, morals and behavioural traits.

In the book Love Is Never Enough, the ick is better explained as a response that occurs when, what once initially attracted you to your partner, is what can repel you later on, specifically in a long-term relationship.

Once you experience the ick towards your boyfriend, you might find it difficult to feel the same level of attraction as before. This somatic response can occur not only if there’s something off putting from your partner, but also, if you have an unresolved issue from your past. It can come through as the psychosomatic response between your mind and body.

Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend?

Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend
Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend

If you have the ick with your recent boyfriend, it could be your subconscious trying to warn you that you should distance yourself from him. This is not necessarily because your significant other is the problem. You might have pending impediments that you still need to deal with. 

When you reflect on past relationships, is the ick a frequent occurrence in your love life? A person who has a complex over intimacy, rejection or abandonment can subconsciously find something negative in their partner. This is a method to shield yourself from potential hurt.

In the early stages of dating, you’ll find everything about them attractive. However, as soon as you start to feel as though you’re ‘falling’ for that person, your mind will trigger your body to experience the ick as a way to motivate you to move away from that person.

Alternatively, you might experience the ick because there really is something your boyfriend does that turns you off. This can range from the way he chews his food to his values or beliefs that don’t align with your own.

The ick can also occur as a defence mechanism. If your previous relationship was toxic, and your current boyfriend’s behaviour is the same, this will activate the feeling of disgust.

From biological evolution, disgust was primarily the defense reaction for protection from physical threats. If you ate expired meat, your body would cause you to throw it up as a method to protect your health.

Now, as humans have evolved, disgust, which is a close link to the ick will feel like your gut instinct. This is to protect us from social threats. Which is why you might get the ick when your boyfriend says or does something that doesn’t resonate with yourself.

Is it normal to get the ick in a relationship?

Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend
Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend

The ick can be a normal experience, specifically in the early stages of a relationship. During the ‘honeymoon’ phase, you might spend almost all your time with your significant other. This is similar to a binge. After which, the little things your partner does might start to annoy you, or cause you to feel revulsion.

If you have internal issues regarding intimacy and commitment, the ick will be a normal occurrence for you. It will only have the potential to disappear once you deal with your unresolved problems. If, during your childhood your primary care-givers were not attentive to your needs, you might get the ick when your boyfriend give you attention.

This will happen because his behaviour will be uncommon to you. It will trigger you to become defensive as a way to protect yourself.

Clinical psychologist, Elizabeth Frederick confirms that when you continuously experience the ick towards a new partner, your psychosomatic senses could be warning you that he might not be the right person.

How to get rid of the ick in a relationship

Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend
Why do I have the ick with my boyfriend

Before you act rash and end the relationship, you should first look inward. Is this a normal occurrence in your dating life? Do you only get the ick when you start to feel really close to your partner? If the ick stems from your own internal issues, you might want to do introspective work. 

A toxic former boyfriend, or a traumatic experience from your past can have a negative effect on your current relationships. This could be fear of commitment, intimacy or abandonment.

Before you leave your boyfriend because of the ick, consider speaking to him about your problems. This can help eradicate the ick feeling towards him, as well as help you feel more secure or at ease in the relationship.

If you’ve only just started dating your significant other, chances are, you might be bingeing your time together. To prevent the ick from happening again, it’s important that you spend some time alone!

This will also give you time to reflect on whether the ick you feel is warranted, or it was just because you were in his company far too long.

Once the ick becomes a frequent experience in your day to day life, you might want to consider whether your boyfriend is the right partner for you. As soon as you become repulsed by your boyfriends natural mannerisms or behaviour, it could be time to go your separate ways.


Can you get past the ick?

You can get past the ick with the right approach. First, you’ll need to understand why you experience the ick. If it’s something your boyfriend does that can be worked on, you can speak to him about it. If you feel the ick because you have commitment issues, you’ll need to work on yourself, and communicate with your boyfriend.

Can you get the ick if your in love?

Majority of the time, the ick will occur in the early stages of a relationship. However, if someone experiences the ick later down the line in their relationship, this is a sign that they could no longer be in love with their significant other.


If you have the ick with your boyfriend, be careful not to act brash and end the relationship. The ick can be a fickle response to a behaviour or mannerism that can be changed. This psychosomatic reaction could also be a trigger for your own internal issues that you need to work on.

Be mindful of the amount of time you’ve spent with your boyfriend. Have you been together 24/7 for an extended period of time? You might just have the ick because you need some alone time.

Of course, if you can’t shake the feeling of disgust towards your new beau, your body could be telling you that he’s not the right guy for you, and that you should steer yourself away. Whatever the reason may be, be conscious to first try and understand why you have the ick. You don’t want to jeopardize a good relationship over a volatile reason.

(Quiz Question; which cuisine is the most popular for a first date?) Let us know your answer in the comments box below.

Why do I Have The Ick With My Boyfriend: A Physical Reaction

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