If You're Suddenly Disgusted By Your Partner, It May Be Sudden Repulsion Syndrome

The reason you're over it, explained.

sudden repulsion syndrome Getty

I don’t know about you, but I'm often left scratching my head at the end of a relationship. I wonder what went wrong and how we ended up so low when we started the relationship so high.

Most of the time, it was I who ended the relationship, yet I can’t quite put my finger on the negative feelings that came out of me toward the end and what could've caused me to go from being in love to not in love seemingly overnight.


I once had a boyfriend who I was very into for the whole year we dated. I thought he was amazing, hilarious, smart, deep AF. One day we were at a wedding for one of his friends. I asked him to dance and he refused... for the entire night. We just sat at the table doing nothing while everyone else was having a wonderful time.

I looked over at him and suddenly realized he was the worst. I could barely stand to look at him. I broke up with him a week later. He went from the center of my world to nothing after one night.

I know I’m not alone.

Relationships end for a variety of reasons, but sometimes you go from hot to ice cold in the blink of an eye without much explanation. Sometimes this may be due to something known as Sudden Repulsion Syndrome, and it might be why your last boyfriend went from bae to bye in a hot second.


What is Sudden Repulsion Syndrome (SRS)?

Have you ever been dating someone and the fire was white-hot? Or maybe you even aren’t that sure if there’s a future, but you see potential? I mean, have you ever been into someone and feeling their vibes?

Then, as if out of nowhere, they suddenly repulse you?

All of a sudden, everything about the person gives you visceral negative reactions: His scent is disgusting, his touch makes your skin crawl, his laugh makes you want to crawl into a hole and never comes out again. Perhaps it’s something more specific like his tongue feels rough when you kiss or his sense of humor is no longer charming, but sexist and aggressive.

Try as you might, you cannot shake this feeling. You have to break up with him because you cannot stand the thought of spending one more second with him.


What you are feeling is Sudden Repulsion Syndrome.

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According to Urban Dictionary, SRS is “a condition many people experience after dating an individual for a short amount of time. The individual is probably polite, nice, and generally pleasant to be around, but one day, you suddenly find yourself disgusted by his or her appearance. You cannot ever see yourself establishing a physical relationship with this individual, and when you imagine it, you vomit in your mouth a little. The consequence of SRS is that you end up feeling as though you must break it off immediately.”


It comes right after the honeymoon phase is over and reality sets in. For many relationships, the honeymoon phase subsides and you are even more in love with the person. For others, love fades away and you amicably break it off.

This is not the case with SRS.

"Sudden Repulsion happens when there wasn’t a friendship or love, to begin with. It was a chemical reaction in your brain, that plays out as physical attraction. You are attracted to someone or something, some shiny object, and now that the initial attraction has faded, you feel repulsed," says Spiritual Life Coach Keya Murthy, "This is a real-life example of the adage familiarity breeds contempt."

When you experience SRS, your body figures things out before your brain does.


Sudden Repulsion Syndrome is your body coming to its senses.

It’s your subconscious telling you to get the hell out there as soon as possible. This relationship is not right. Even if you can’t put your finger on it, your body can.

Sometimes our bodies know something is off before our brains fully decode what's happening. So much goes into physical and emotional attraction. Our brains can wind up foggy, drowning in pheromones and the desire to find someone so badly that we overlook glaring red flags.

“The creepy thing is, my sudden, inexplicable disgust always comes out of nowhere. It’s not triggered by something significant, like cheating or finding out the person is pro-life or whatever. Rather, it’s something totally inconsequential — the way they cuff their jeans, a random sneeze, their weirdly shaped earlobe. And in most cases, the disgust is irrevocable. You notice the clicking sound he makes when he bites his nails and you will never be able to un-notice it,” says "Vogue" columnist Karley Sciortino.


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What should you do if you experience SRS?

Sudden Repulsion Syndrome may seem like it’s coming out of nowhere and throwing you off-kilter, but it’s a self-preservation tactic your body has initiated to get you away from this person.

Murthy explains, "This syndrome is not so common in ethnic communities or closed cultures and communities because people love to hold on and try to find reasons to hold on."


Once you are struck with SRS, you can’t come back from it. Don’t try to force yourself to stick with the relationship. You may think that it’s a phase and things will get better, but they probably won’t. You’re not experiencing this as a genetic flaw; you’re just over it in a very clear, physically manifested way.

Murthy suggests, "If you really want to love someone and hold on to the relationship you can. But, if you feel it’s not right for you anymore and you want to move on to greener pastures no amount of love from the other will be able to keep you back.”

Listen to your gut. It knows you better than you know yourself. Walk away. Sudden Repulsion Syndrome may seem like a pain in the butt, but it’s better than being with someone who makes you feel both disgusted and disgusting.

RELATED: 4 Biggest Signs You're Not In Love With Him (That You Can't Ignore)


Gigi Engle, CSE, CSC, is an award-winning feminist author, certified sex coach, sexologist, and sex educator.