Bright Side

Calling Your Partner Cheesy Pet Names Helps Build a Deeper Emotional Connection, Psychologists Say

While some people cringe in disgust when they hear cheesy pet names like “Cuddle Cake” or “Love Muffin,” others find it to be cute and quite intimate. Calling your partner pet names not only brings fun into the relationship, but it also gives you something to bond over as a couple. So don’t feel ashamed of giving your partner a sappy pet name. It actually may be more beneficial to your relationship than you could’ve imagined.

Bright Side believes that it’s love that matters the most, so we decided to find out more about this interesting research and whether using nicknames can really improve our romantic relationships.

Calling each other pet names helps us feel free.

As we grow up, society puts a certain pressure on the way we are supposed to express ourselves. Using pet names allows adults to engage in role-playing and freely show their emotions. It improves the quality of social interaction with their partner and facilitates the bonding process. Both partners feel like they are fully accepted by the other person just the way they are and aren’t obligated to act in a “normal” way.

Meaningful nicknames make you feel more attracted to your partner.

Pet names are a great way to evoke love, tenderness, and affection from your partner. You only need to meet one condition to get this result: the person who you are giving it to should actually like the nickname. For example, psychologists say that calling your partner “Precious” may help them experience a positive emotional boost and serves as proof of your feelings if the nickname describes the way they want you to feel about them.

It’s a sign that the partners are really comfortable with each other.

When partners get closer and share more personal moments together, they create their own special language, which includes inside jokes and coming up with personal idioms for each other. It’s a sign that both partners are satisfied with the way their relationship is going and are comfortable enough to relax and be playful. This improves the solidarity in the relationship and makes the partners feel a stronger emotional connection.

Pet names mean that you’ve bonded on a deeper emotional level.

Neuroanthropologist and professor Dean Falk believes that our need for baby talk stems from our childhood. Mothers use it to talk to their infants, so it contributes to the formation of a deeper emotional connection and trust. When adults use pet names, they subconsciously refer to these childhood memories to evoke the feelings of love and protection associated with them.

However, pet names should still show your respect.

There are 2 sides to every coin: sometimes partners use pet names to show their dominance toward the other partner or just don’t take into account their preferences. For example, some opinion polls suggest that many women dislike being called stereotypical nicknames like “Babe,” “Sweat Cheeks,” or “Baby Doll.” Of course, preferences differ from person to person. It’s better to talk to your loved one first, so you’re only putting a smile on their face.

Do you use nicknames in your relationship? What is your favorite pet name for your partner? Share your experience in the comments.

Illustrated by Polina Chernevina for Bright Side