- A new study has found that couples who use pet names for each other are more likely to be satisfied in their relationship.
- Americans use nicknames for their partners more than Europeans.
- The study reinforces previous research which suggests using pet names is a sign of a strong relationship.
Whether a classic “baby” or more unique term of endearment, pet names are divisive. Some people think they’re sweet and fun, others maintain they’re childish and embarrassing.
However, it turns out that using pet names could be doing more than just making those around you cringe – couples who use affectionate names for each other are apparently more likely to have a strong relationship.
The latest research to reach this conclusion was carried out by Superdrug Online Doctor. In a survey of over 1,000 adults, researchers found that 87% of Americans use pet names when in relationships (compared to 74% of Europeans), and those who do are 16% more likely to be happy in their relationship.
What’s more, men (85%) actually use pet names more than women (76%).
Specifically, the study found that 90% of Americans who use nicknames like “beautiful,” “gorgeous,” and “honey” for their partners were content in their relationship, compared to just 56% of couples who don’t use pet names at all.
However, the study also revealed which names are most despised: “papi” emerged as the worst, with 73% of people stating they hate it. This was followed closely by “daddy” (72%), “sweet cheeks” (66%) and “muffin” (61%).
Amongst Europeans, the pet name which correlated with the most satisfied relationship was the German “Schatz,” followed by “cutie,” and “hun.” Meanwhile, in the US “pretty” emerged top, followed by “beautiful” and “gorgeous.”
Using pet names was found to increase relationship satisfaction by 9% in Europe and 16% in the US.
The study’s conclusions aren’t entirely new, though – scientists have long linked the use of pet names with the childhood love we have for our parents.
“Couples speaking this way harken back to their own experience when they were infants and to their first love, their mother,” Dean Falk, a professor of neuroanthropology at Florida State University, told Broadly.
Another study, published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships in 1993, analysed 154 couples to look at the correlation between pet name idioms and relationship satisfaction.
The research found that the satisfied husbands and wives used more idioms than those who were unsatisfied.
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