Nicknames can be a very controversial subject between men and women, with some who find them funny; but others are offended by the perceived familiarity of the person who has chosen to use it.
I personally don’t mind being called a pet name by my partner, so long as it’s not in every sentence he utters to me- I can understand why that would get tiresome. Some couples do find it really offensive, but it’s never been something that has made me stand up and demand- ‘don’t ever say that again!’. That said, I would not go along with a nickname that was completely outrageous or embarrassing- so I guess you have to draw the line somewhere.
Many people find it the height of condescension, especially when the pet name is being said by someone younger, but what part does it play in a relationship?
Yes they may be cheesy, but it shows a level of comfort between a couple, sometimes it can be reserved for private moments but there are a lot of people who have no qualms in being open with others about how they address their ‘better half.’
From ‘hun’ to ‘sweetie’, ‘darling’ to ‘babe’, people call their other halves all sorts of names and these are just the nice ones.
Fawlty Towers is responsible; for my dad calling my mum his ‘little nest of vipers’ and ‘my piranha fish’ although I’m not sure she has even taken to either of them.
Match.com’s LoveGeist Report has found that your pet name is not as personal as you might think- it’s really dependent on where you live as to what your man calls you affectionately.
A huge 55% of people have pet names of their significant others and they are not afraid to admit so either, so much so that they don’t mind breaking theirs out in front of friends and family.
‘Darling’, ‘love’, ‘babes’ and ‘babe’ all come top as appropriate choices for partners when addressing their loves.
Londoners prefer the more polite ‘darling’, compared to ‘love’ in the North East of England.
There are more ‘duckies’ in the Midlands than your can shake a stick at.
‘Sweethearts’ mainly reside in the East of England; in the Tyne and Wear everyone is a ‘pet’ and Manchunuians are a little more brazen with ‘sexy’ as their name of choice. I would hope that they don't break that one out in front of grandma though.
When Brits start out dating their safe bet is ‘Hun’ for a potential companion, as people can make fast judgements on prospective partners based on how they address them over text message or in person. Too many pet names that overstep the mark and men might be labelled as a 'player'.
It seems that men and women change their names for their partners depending on the company too, with old favourites like, ‘the old ball and chain’ and ‘her indoors’, being favourites for men who want to play on the traditional roles of women.
Match.com’s resident relationship expert, Kate Taylor, comments: “Pet names play an important role at every stage of relationships. Before a couple get together, they often use fun, flirty nicknames for each other to move ahead to a more personal level of interaction. It creates a tiny shared bond. When dating, pet names are used to reinforce a couple’s bond, both privately and to the outside world, whilst in long-term relationships, “love” or “pet” can become simple shorthand for, “I care about you.”
Taylor continues: “Pet names are an effective way of adding romance to everyday communications. The success of email-based dating websites shows us how important words are for fostering relationships, so use them!”