What Are Women's Top Dating 'Icks'?
- Dating icks, or mild turnoffs, are common and different between people.
- Top women's icks include poor hygiene and arrogance.
- Yes, a dating ick can be a deal-breaker.
You shouldn't ignore the ick. The feeling we typically call the ick is essentially a cringe feeling that can sometimes come over you on a date when you are turned off by some seemingly mundane behavior of your potential partner.
Although the funniest icks can seem illogical, such as speaking in a baby voice, it's usually worth paying attention to them.
Let's look at women's top dating icks. How important are they to a potential relationship? How do you know you've caught an ick? Should you feel guilty about ending a relationship over them?
Dating is hard enough. Do icks matter?
It may be tempting to push aside your icks when they come up—after all, dating can be hard enough as it is. But if you do catch the ick, don't brush it off too fast.
"Icks can matter in dating," said Sona Kaur, who has a doctorate in clinical psychology and practices at Serenity Psychological Services in London. "They often reflect personal preferences and boundaries, which are crucial for a healthy relationship. Small icks might be manageable, but severe ones can impact the connection."
In other words, while some icks may seem relatively minor, they can often be a sign of a deeper clash between your personalities that may affect your compatibility.
When does a dating ick first happen?
While icks often occur right when you start dating, there's no set rule about when they can occur.
"Icks can happen anytime during the dating process," said Ketan Parmar, M.D., a forensic psychologist in Mumbai, India, with ClinicSpots Holistic Healthcare, an online medical platform. "They may occur when someone first meets another person and forms an early opinion of them, or they might come up after getting to know each other better.
"It is important to recognize that icks can happen at any stage and don't necessarily mean that someone is wrong for you."
Icks might become clearer once your relationship develops, Kaur said. What began as a niggling feeling of ickiness can become a clear feeling of disgust.
"They often become noticeable as you get to know the person better," she said. "They result from differences in values, behaviors or habits that don't align with your own."
- Beware Urological Misinformation Aimed at Men on Social Media: Low-quality medical advice on TikTok and other platforms has spawned a new term: bro-science.
- A Journey Through a Man's Libido: Sexual health experts weigh in on what causes men's sex drives to change throughout their lives.
- Best Sex Positions for Your Penis: Spice up your sex life by trying these 11 favorite sexual positions for you and your partner.
What do women actually want?
It's a pretty broad question, and if you're dating a woman, it's one you might find you're asking yourself. The truth is, every woman (and man) will probably experience different icks because everyone is different.
But when it comes to the biggest icks, women point to bad hygiene, arrogance and noisy eating as their top turnoffs, a LoveHoney 2022 survey reported. Other icks included bad breath, spitting on the street and being rude to hospitality staff.
"Women, like men, have diverse desires and preferences," Kaur said. "There's no universal answer. Building open communication, empathy and trust is key to understanding what a specific woman wants in a relationship."
If a woman gets the ick, it doesn't necessarily mean you've done something wrong, just that you're probably not a good match. If you get the ick, that's OK, too.
"It is important to remember that icks can be a normal part of the dating process," Parmar said. "It is okay to trust your instincts and walk away from a relationship if something doesn't feel right. Ultimately, relationships should make both people feel safe, respected and happy, so always listen to your gut."
Is it bad to dump someone after experiencing one ick?
We often think of an ick as an irrational or small problem. To break up with someone because they gave you the ick may seem overly dramatic, but once you've experienced the ick, it might be too significant to ignore. Spend some time reflecting on whether or not you want to put up with the ick (or icks) you're experiencing.
Maybe even try the 90-day relationship rule.
"It's not necessarily bad to end a relationship due to one significant ick if it's a fundamental issue or makes you uncomfortable," Kaur said. "It's important to prioritize your well-being and values."
"Everyone should be allowed to follow their own instincts when it comes to relationships, and if something doesn't feel right, it is important to trust yourself and walk away," Parmar said.
How do you tell someone you don't want to see them because of an ick?
If you've decided that your ick is a deal breaker too strong to ignore and you're going to walk away from the budding relationship, do you tell the other person why you've decided to end things?
It's important to be truthful and kind when ending a relationship, according to Parmar.
"If you feel like you need to tell someone that you don't want to see them because of an ick, it is important to be honest and direct," he said. "Explain why you are feeling the way you do, but try not to be too critical or judgmental. It can also be helpful to let your partner know that it is not about them, but rather how you are feeling in the moment."
How many icks are too many icks?
Getting an ick from time to time is fairly common, but if you are constantly getting the ick about a potential partner, you may begin to wonder: Am I getting too many icks?
How many mild annoyances can we put up with before we feel the need to end things?
"The threshold for 'too many' varies for each person," Kaur said. "It's about assessing whether the accumulation of icks outweighs the positives in the relationship. Seek a balance that aligns with your values and happiness."
One thing's clear: If you have multiple icks about one person, it's worth taking a step back to consider why you're getting so many, Parmar said.
How do I know if I'm expecting too much from someone? Am I just being picky?
Another question that might pop into your head is, "Are they too icky or am I too picky?"
Some examples of icks may seem pretty trivial, such as being obsessed with star signs, putting on a baby voice, having an obsession with social media or taking too many gym selfies.
However, some turnoffs can become dating red flags, such as having a fear of intimacy, being mean to service industry employees and mansplaining.
While it's never 'too picky' to call out bad behavior, some of these mild annoyances might leave you feeling like you're too demanding of your potential partner. These feelings aren't necessarily a sign of being picky.
"It's important to remember that everyone has different needs and expectations when it comes to relationships," Parmar said. "It can be helpful to think about what you would consider reasonable behavior in a relationship and then take a step back to see if your expectations are realistic. If they are, then it is not necessarily being picky—it could be that the other person is simply not meeting your needs."
If you are concerned you're being too picky, take a moment to think about whether the icks you're experiencing really matter to you, Kaur said.
The bottom line
The ick can be a tricky part of dating. It's up to you to decide which icks you're able to put up with and which are deal breakers. There's no such thing as a perfect partner—that is another one of those dating myths.