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Sudden Repulsion Syndrome: What It Is & Why the Sudden Repulsion?

Ever been smitten, only to find yourself repulsed by them a week later? You’re not going insane, you’re just suffering from Sudden Repulsion Syndrome. 

sudden repulsion syndrome

Awhile back, I was with a guy I was completely crazy about. We’d been together around two months, and I couldn’t get enough of him and wanted to spend every second with him. He was gorgeous. Then, for reasons that completely bamboozled me, I couldn’t stand him anymore. He annoyed me, and he didn’t even have to do anything to annoy me, simply breathing was enough. Crazy, right? It turns out that perhaps it wasn’t as crazy as I originally thought. I was simply suffering from Sudden Repulsion Syndrome *SRS*. 

If this situation has ever happened to you, you probably felt completely confused and a little guilty. How could you not get enough of someone one minute, and then want to be as far away from them as possible the next?

Maybe it wasn’t that pronounced, but you noticed small things which started to creep in. Over a short amount of time they really started to bother you. After a while, they were all you could concentrate on. 

Classic Sudden Repulsion Syndrome. 

Are we crazy?


[Read: The dilemma of love: Should dating be practical or passionate?]

What is Sudden Repulsion Syndrome?

As the name would suggest, Sudden Repulsion Syndrome is suddenly becoming repulsed by someone for no reason whatsoever. You really like someone, you spend a lot of time with them, they’re perfect in your eyes. Then, bam! They’re the most annoying person on the planet. 

Sudden Repulsion Syndrome is the culprit for many a break up. The sad thing is that nobody really knows what causes it. Is it your girlfriend or boyfriend’s fault that you suddenly find them repulsive? No! Even you don’t know why you feel that way. Of course, explaining the reasons for not wanting to be with that person anymore can be tricky. Nobody wants to hear that they’re repulsive to someone, especially someone they’ve spent time building up a relationship with.

[Read: When it is time to break up? The signs to know for sure it’s time]

Humans really are quite harsh creatures sometimes! 

What causes sudden repulsion syndrome?

To further complicate matters, nobody really knows! Scientists and psychologists have studied SRS for a long time and still haven’t come up with a hard and fast reason why it happens, or when it’s most likely to occur. It’s not unheard of for a couple to be married for years, and then suddenly one partner develops SRS and can’t stand the other person.

Equally, a couple could have been together a matter of months, be totally crazy about each other, in the true honeymoon period, and then SRS kicks in and it’s all over.

[Read: How to know if you’re settling in an unhappy relationship

However, they have come up with a few possible suggestions for why SRS happens: 

#1 Sudden Repulsion Syndrome may be connected to hormones. This normally happens at the start of a relationship when we’re spending a lot of time with someone. We OD on them, as in, we overdose. Our hormones change, and suddenly we feel differently for no reason other than chemicals. 

#2 SRS could be a biological ‘play the field’ tactic. Our hormones *those pesky things again* could be forcing us to play the field. Literally. Men are pushed to biologically spread the love, i.e. their seed, as much as possible, and women are sent to look for stronger and more biologically suitable men. This is all down to evolution and nature to a large degree, and nobody really understands the technicalities of it! [Read: Why oxytocin can be toxic in flawed relationships]

#3 Your subconscious is telling you that he or she isn’t the one. Your subconscious could be one step ahead of you and is now realizing that they aren’t Mr or Miss Perfect and certainly isn’t The One. Call it self preservation if you like, but your ‘higher self’ is telling you to get out now. 

#4 Sudden Repulsion Syndrome could be connected to unrealistic expectations. If you go into a relationship expecting too much, e.g. if you have high or unrealistic expectations of that person *you’ve been watching too many Disney films*, then you’re simply picking faults subconsciously. 

Perhaps we’ll never really know 100% why SRS occurs and why we can go from hot to cold within a matter of days, but these are some of the most common reasons considered by those in the know. 

[Read: 14 unrealistic expectations that can completely ruin your love life]

Can a relationship survive sudden repulsive syndrome?

Well, my relationship didn’t, and it seems that the majority of others don’t either. 

Sudden Repulsion Syndrome (SRS) can be so acute that it’s hard to see the good things in that person once more. You’re stuck with the annoying things you’ve suddenly discovered. Once you start to feel that way about someone, it’s very hard to overcome. You simply don’t want to spend time with them. As a result, you’ll avoid their calls and meeting them. The relationship will effectively be over. 

SRS can be very confusing for your partner. If you decide to end the relationship, it’s important that you do it in a way which is gentle, yet truthful.

Don’t tell them that you can’t stand being around them anymore, because that’s simply cruel. Instead explain that you just don’t feel the relationship has a long-term future. Be kind, but don’t give them unrealistic expectations of a reunion in the future. 

[Read: The best way to break up with someone no matter the situation]

That’s not to say that every single relationship affected by SRS has to end. If deep down you don’t want to say goodbye, or you’ve been together for a long time and feel it’s not worth throwing away what you’ve worked so hard to build up, then there is some hope on the horizon. 

It really depends on the degree of Sudden Repulsion Syndrome in your relationship. If it’s moderate to low, then it’s possible to overcome it with a little mind-set altering, and perhaps some counseling. It’s important to explain to your partner that you’re struggling with the relationship, without telling them that they’re annoying you for no reason. You should also try and lower the expectations you might have of them, e.g. if the reason behind your SRS is unrealistic expectations. Nobody is perfect. You shouldn’t expect them to be either. 

[Read: How to face relationship challenges and overcome them as a couple

Another good route is to spend a little time away from each other. Have a couple of nights per week when you spend time with friends or by yourself. This gives you time to miss each other and build up your relationship once more. After a while, factor in ‘date nights.’ Really focus on rediscovering the things which brought you together in the first place. It will take time, but it’s not impossible by any means. 

The good news is that generally, the longer you are together, the less chance you have of developing a Sudden Repulsion Syndrome. It’s not unheard of, but it’s certainly more rare than those relationships that are either just starting or are in the first few months to years. 

Remember that we aren’t perfect ourselves. We cannot simply expect someone else to embody every feature we want either. Disney and Hollywood films really gave us such high expectations of what love should look like and be. Prince Charming is not about to come into your life on a stallion, and that glass slipper is not going to magically fit your foot either. 

[Read: The healthy relationship expectations that define a good love life]

The best way to deal with Sudden Repulsion Syndrome is to remember being human means having flaws. It’s important to love someone for their flaws as much as their positive qualities too.

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Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis
Having stumbled from one relationship drama to another throughout her 20s, Nicky is now somewhat of a guru in the crazy world of life and love. Telling it how i...
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