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If you’re in a relationship, it's not unusual to give your partner nicknames, including but not limited to: bae, baby, my love, boo, sweetheart, etc. Turns out these pet names aren't just cute (even though, okay, some might sound silly), they can actually be a super important part of your relationship.
"Giving a nickname creates vulnerability on both sides," explains Women’s Health advisory board member Chloe Carmichael, PhD, a New York-based clinical psychologist and author of Dr. Chloe's 10 Commandments of Dating. "The nickname is a display of affection from the giver, while accepting the nickname is an expression of vulnerability from the receiver." Nicknames are also supposed to be, well, humorous, Carmichael explains, and they often characterize the other person in an endearing light. (For example, calling your partner "Pookie bear" or "Baby boy" when nobody is looking...)
In short, nicknames imply a deep level of trust and intimacy, says Carmichael. That said, they're not necessary to keep your 'ship afloat. So, don’t put pressure on making sure you and your partner have nicknames for each other, advises Gigi Engle, a certified sex coach, sexologist, and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: a guide to sex, love, and life. "Nicknames aren't for everyone, and they aren't a make-or-break thing in relationships. People show affection in lots of ways," Engle says.
Oh, and one more thing: Make sure your partner actually likes the nickname you've given them. "Whatever you do, do not push the boundary, but instead be respectful and stop using a nickname they don’t like," says Janet Brito, PhD, a clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist based in Hawaii. "If the nickname gives you a feeling of expansiveness—it makes you feel alive, it makes you smile—then it’s a good nickname."
Now, if you’re hyped about the prospect of incorporating some nicknames into you and your partner’s routine, read on for the 85 best nicknames to call your S.O. Happy relationship-ing.
Darling: When you find yourself swooning the way you did when you first met.
Bubba: If they're acting precious and you can't get enough.
Stud Muffin: When they're all dressed up and looking even nicer than usual.
Hunk: When you recognize their efforts in the gym.
Hotshot: When they're acting extra confident.
Captain: If they're taking charge of date night.
Pookie: Whenever they're being goofy and adorable.
Fella: When you're feeling old-school.
Fave: To remind them how special they are to you.
Dream Boat: Anytime their looks make you catch your breath.
Cutie Pie: For when they look cute enough to eat.
Honey Bunny: For when you want to channel Pulp Fiction.
Honey: For when you want to stick to a simple classic.
Sweetheart: When they’re being particularly nice to you.
My Love: For when you’re feeling romantic.
My Heart: For showing them how much they mean to you.
Bae: A trendy acronym that stands for "before anyone else." Use it to communicate that they’re yours.
Baby: For when you’re feeling particularly loving.
My World: To remind your partner they’re your everything.
Soulmate: When you want to convey that you’re a ~forever couple~.
Snuggle Bug: For when you two are being cozy.
Superhero: For when they’re saving your butt for the millionth time.
Beautiful: When you’re telling them how attractive they are. (Inside *and* out, of course.)
Hottie: Just in case they needed a reminder about how smokin' you find them.
Sexy: When you’re ready to take things to the bedroom.
Chicken Nugget: For when they’re looking delicious (and also, adorable?).
Silly: For when they’re acting like a goofball.
Peanut: For when they’re acting cute.
Pooh Bear: If you're in need of a big hug.
Babe: This one is a classic for a reason—it’s a pet name only used for someone special.
Muffin: When they look like an after school treat.
Bug: When they're being precious.
Cookie: When they’re being the sweetest, and you really just want to gobble them up like a treat.
Cookie Monster: For when they’re stealing all the sweets out of your snack drawer.
Light Of My Life: When they truly make your world a brighter place.
McDreamy: When you're role playing Grey's Anatomy...or not.
Champ: After they just dominated a grueling workout. (Or, ya know, some gentle stretches work, too.)
Trouble: When they’re doing questionable activities dangerously close to your Zoom camera.
Naughty: For when they’re making you feel ~some kind of way~ right before leaving the house.
Firecracker: When your bae has a bit of a fiery streak.
Goober: For the partner who is lovable but also a liiittle bit awkward (in the best way!).
Dimples: For your S.O. who has the cutest dimples on earth.
Muscles: For your S.O. who enjoys hitting the gym.
Bean: When you come home to them curled up on the couch.
Jelly Bean: For your partner who’s silly but also sweet.
Corazón: For telling your partner they have your heart in Spanish.
Mi Amor: To show your partner they’re your love in Spanish.
My Favorite: To remind them they’re your favorite person.
My Person: When you two are giving off Meredith and Cristina vibes—but make it romantic.
Bestie: When your partner is also your best friend.
Pickle: For your partner who’s a little bit of a weirdo, but you love them anyway.
Squishy: This one’s for your partner who is the absolute cuddliest.
Mr. Big: For when you’re channeling your Sex and the City crush.
Sweetie: Use when you’re in the mood for being ~lovey dovey~.
My Other Half: When you’re showing them how integral they are to your life.
Rockstar: When they’re jamming out or listening to their favorite music. (Or, ya know, just singing in the shower.)
Bubbie: When they’re being such a cutie you just want to *squish* their precious face.
Nugget: When they’re not quite on *chicken* nugget level, but they’re still a little sweetheart.
Wild Thing: Like the 1998 movie, this one's for when your partner is being a little out of pocket.
Charmer: When your partner can make pretty much *anyone* love them to death.
Boss: When you're giving them control in the bedroom tonight.
Luscious Lips: Yep, for when they're looking particularly kissable.
Popsicle: For when your partner’s popsicle is looking extra yummy.
Snickers: When your partner reminds you of a piece of candy.
Tater Tot: When they’re your little appetizer.
Handsome: When they’re all dressed up and looking their best.
Heartthrob: When they look like your teen celebrity crush.
Smartypants: For when they’re doing your taxes… or something even sexier (actual pants optional).
Honey Pot: To let them know they're your giant dose of sweetness.
You Sexy Thing: *sings 🎤 I believe in miracles!*
Sugar Pie: For when they’re being so sweet you just want to eat them up.
Sweet Pea: Use this one any time you end up tucking them in at night.
Love Bug: *sings 🎤 I never thought I’d catch this Love Bug again*
Buddy: When you want to show them they’re your friend, first and foremost.
Teddy Bear: When they’re giving you *all* the good snuggles lately.
Partner In Crime: For when you’re taking on the world together.
Lover: Make Taylor Swift proud with this short and sweet nickname.
Bookworm: For your partner who’s a big reader.
Dream Machine: For when you have a partner who loves to sleep in.
Early Bird: When your partner is always up like 10 hours before you.
BF/GF/S.O.: When you want to keep things short and sweet.
Hot Pants: Whip this one out when they’re wearing a particularly good-looking pair of denim.
Boo: When they’re your special someone and you want to address them on social media or IRL.
Soda Pop: If they're the bubbliest person you know.
Chipmunk: Every time they're looking extra cute.
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