You need to get the ick for your ex

Written By Brooke Stephens, Co-Opinions Editor

Dear lovers,

Passionate anti-Valentine’s day haters and anyone in between. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, which, as it turns out, is much less cuter when we’re adults than when we were kids making boxes to show off to house our cards in elementary school. Couples swoon, singles shuffle by, and people are devoted to the lovey-dovey theme the entire month. As a collective who watches the effects of the holiday happen every year, we need to keep in mind one goal this month. We all need to get the “ick” for our exes. Ouch, I know.

Let’s admit it. The majority of us have missed parts of a relationship, romanticized the former significant other, or went on a sleuthing mission to see who they are dating now. For better or for worse, social media platforms create a crumble trail of photos which makes it disturbingly easy to hold on to moments of the past.

The ick is not a widely-known phenomenon, but it gained more fame on Instagram and TikTok in 2021. Getting the ick is when a warm feeling or thought towards your ex-partner turns into being repulsed by a trait or wider parts of their personality.

Does your ex talk too much about themself? Did they never admit to what they have done wrong? They might have unironically worn a really ugly sweater for weeks on end. Hopefully, everyone reading can brainstorm their own examples of what the ick is for your ex, but actually experiencing it needs to happen for you to move on.

If you are best friends with your ex, then that would be all the more reason to shut down any unwelcome, resurfacing feelings. Obviously, it is up to the person whether they want to continue seeing this person in a romantic light, but it could ease any tension left over from the relationship.

You might not be able to force getting the ick, and that’s okay. If you start thinking about a potential ick factor, then the process should only be that much easier. I’m not saying you should harbor leftover feelings for a year because the ick hasn’t come yet, but everyone is different with how they handle past and present rendezvous. I recommend getting the ick at least before you start dating someone new. Experiencing the ick shouldn’t be treated like a chore to check off of your to-do list. It should only be done when you are honest with yourself and know how you truly feel about them.

Take ownership of your self-worth and realize that you are no longer dating your past significant other for a reason. They could be the kindest person in the world and still not be “the one” in your personal book of standards. The version of your former partner that still exists in your head, for better or for worse, will always be different than how they are seen everyday.

Instead of a Valentine’s Day date, have a small get-together with friends to celebrate taking off your rose-colored glasses. Families and friends can gather without an annual interrogation for an update on your dating life. If this ick is a long-time coming, breathe in the fact that you are one step closer to healing. We all need to give ourselves time for forgiveness and acceptance after the end of a relationship.