Babe, Sugar, Sweet Cheeks, Honey, Pookie — my ex-boyfriend I used to call each other "Monkey" for Pete's sake — they're all categorized under one thing: pet names. Some people love them, some people cringe when they hear them being used — and then there's the ones who claim "they would never, ever use pet names" when they totally do, babe. But one thing is for certain: there has been a long debate on why we use pet names, and whether they can cause more harm than good. It has even been studied that men can use pet names as a way to avoid intimacy. Wait, aren't they supposed to bring you closer?
This is a question for the pros. Enter relationship therapist and collaborator at School of Love Aimee Hartstein who tells Bustle there are two sides to this story, honey. (Pet name intended.)
"I think pet names for couples is actually very positive in a relationship," she tells Bustle. "It cements the special bond between two people if you have special names that only the two of you use for each other."
Here are a few more reasons why she is team pet name all the way. (Except when used, er, incorrectly.)
1. They Double As Private Jokes
"It also might be part of a 'shorthand' that couples have with shared stories and private jokes. The use of pet names usually make couples feel close and bonded."
2. They Can Help You Resolve A Fight
"Pet names can be an icebreaker during a fight, which is always a good thing," she says. "If a couple has been fighting and are still in a place of tension, using a pet name is a reminder of the love and care that they generally share with each other."
3. But Not All Pet Names Are Created Equal
"The only time the use of pet names is negative is if the names are critical or mean," she says. "The partner might say that they are “joking” but newsflash: the women in question are never really OK with the joke. In these cases, using their proper name would be warmer and indicative of a stronger relationship."
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