Even those with the hardest of hearts are likely to have cute (or cringe?) pet names for their other half that they use when no one else is around.
While it might be somewhat embarrassing to admit many of us have soppy, made-up terms of endearment that we reserve for our nearest and dearest, new research has suggested that almost half of Brits (47%) use schmalzy pet names for their partners.
But turns out not all pet names are created equal with some being dubbed considerably more cringey than others.
When it comes to the most popular pet names couples in the UK have for each other, thortful.com has it that, perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘love’ comes out on top, with almost a third (29%) of the 1,500 respondents admitting to using it.
Next up is ‘babe’ (25%), followed by ‘honey’ (17.8%), and ‘sweetie’ with 15.3% claiming that as their pet name of choice.
These were followed by the somewhat flirtatious 'handsome', popular among 9% of respondents and 'honey' and 'sweetie' in joint sixth and seventh place.
Meanwhile social media aficionados have no doubt influenced the 5% who love to call their other half 'boo', followed closely by a further 5% using the totally cringe name 'baby boy/girl' as an endearing term. Bleugh!
Interestingly those using the terms ‘love’ and ‘babe’ make up over half of the UK’s preferred pet names.
But while it is easy to slip up while in public, it seems these personal pet names are reserved largely for within the privacy of your own home, with over three quarters (76%) saying they use their partner’s real name whenever they’re in public.
It's little wonder therefore that almost a third (32%) admit to being somewhat embarrassed if their partner uses their pet name out in the world.
It seems, somewhat surprisingly, that the male of the species are more often the soppy ones in relationships, with over half 53% of men admitting to calling their partners by their pet name, compared to just 43% of women.
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The psychology of pet names
The good news is that being cringey is actually nothing to be ashamed of, as long as your partner’s ok with being referred to as 'baby cakes', that is.
According to Barbara Santini, psychologist and sex and relationship advisor at Dimepiece LA, having a pet name for your other half could actually link back to your childhood.
"Partners can decide to have pet names as this is the pattern followed and known from their own childhood," she explains.
"Just like mothers give their kids pet names to help them understand their feelings, close and special relationships or teach new language of affection, lovers can opt to give each other pet names to express the special relationship between themselves."
Turns out having a cute pet name can often be an indicator of a close relationship or bond.
"The pet name is kind of internal code understood by the partners as it might relate to the joke, situation, something they have experience together which connected them," Santini continues.
"Using pet names in a relationship expresses love, bond in a unique and instant way."
Pet names can be offer a gauge about how happy someone is in their relationship.
"Satisfied and happy couples tend to call each other pet names to stress the fun, joy and close connection they experience."
So there you have it, having a cringey pet name for your other half could be a sign your relationship is in a good place.
But maybe don't call him 'Honey Bun' in the pub, yeah?
The UK's favourite partner pet names
Love – 29%
Babe – 25%
Honey – 17.8%
Sweetie – 15.3%
Handsome – 9.4%
Honey Bun – 7.7%
Sweetpie – 7.6%
Boo – 5.3%
Baby Boy/Baby Girl – 4.8%
Princess – 4.7%