Thu. Aug 18th, 2022

“Iken”, which has been much discussed on TikTok and Instagram lately, is where attraction to a current or potential partner suddenly turns into a feeling of disgust.

It is often triggered in an instant, social media users say, by witnessing a kind of turn-off — a bad dance step, a grinning laugh, or a disgusting eating style.

So what could be behind “theick”?

Read more: Love lockdown: the pandemic has put pressure on many relationships, but here you can see if yours will survive

Do you let ‘the ick’ undermine your chances in love?

One possibility is that this is a self-defense mechanism or strategy for protection against failure in the relationship, fear of commitment, fear of intimacy or rejection sensitivity.

Models of relationship counseling practice explain that attraction is a “flip flop” phenomenon where what attracts you to someone today may be the same thing that rejects you tomorrow.

While “flip” is the positive, and “flop” is the negative, they are often side-by-side properties that cannot exist without the other. For example, if what you love about a person is their insane sense of humor, you may have to accept their loud, weird laughs are part of the same package.

These characteristics can be assigned different meanings as the relationship progresses and depending on life circumstances. For example, someone you originally found to be “carefree” may turn out to be “irresponsible” in important situations. Someone who you initially found to be “crucial” may appear to be “controlling” later.

Most of us want to feel comfortable with a partner, trust them, have open communication and share interests. But if an unexpected behavior suddenly turns you off, ask yourself what might happen to you; their behavior may have triggered a long-term unresolved issue for you, or it may reflect a problem you have with dealing with life stressors. Reactions that may seem “out of the blue” often have an explanation that goes deeper.

Humans are innate driven to seek closeness and security. But if we feel threatened or confronted, we may be looking for ways to distance ourselves from a self-protection drive.

But if you suddenly get “the ick”, do not act too crooked. Ask yourself if this is part of a pattern of holding back in relationships (consciously or unconsciously) and again undermining your chances in love.

Uh, no thanks, I changed my mind.

A trigger to move forward

In my research, I have seen people move quickly from one relationship to the next looking for something specific (and mostly unrealistic). A “trigger” to move on can be anything like a bad sense of fashion, bad taste in music or a “childish nickname”.

A participant in my research would go on Tinder dates, and while on the date, actively look for other options around her if there was anything better. Dating apps like Tinder offer us such an astonishing number of options that some might ask themselves, “Why should I settle? Why can I not aim for the perfect person? ”

Research has found firm beliefs about “fate” – in other words, a belief that relationships are either “meant to be” or they are not – can see people fail in the search for love.

Instead, we should adopt a more flexible view of growth – that is, see a relationship as something that can grow and change, and problems as something that can be overcome together.

Adopting a growth belief can help us get to know the people we know and develop a synergy that will lead the relationship beyond the initial attraction or “honeymoon”.

If you suddenly get ‘the ick’, do not act too crookedly.

Examining ‘ick’ at the moment

If you are hit by “theick”, stop and think about what is happening.

Are we protecting ourselves because we have just witnessed a red flag indicating that they are just not the right partner for us? The “chin” is not always triggered by small things; it can be red flag behaviors like being rude to service personnel or constantly talking about you.

Or do we get “the ick” because we engage in self-sabotage and in turn undermine our chances of a successful intimate engagement?

This process requires insight, but it is worth exploring.

Read more: The safest sex you will never get: how coronavirus changes online dating

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