How To Get Your Partner To Use Pet Names, Because It Can Be An Intimate Request
Using pet names for your bae can honestly be really cute, but sometimes, the world can get in the way. For example, it can seem like only the overly obnoxious couple in TV shows or movies are always calling each other pet names, and all of the other characters really can't stand it. If it feels right for you and your SO, using romantic nicknames for each other can be sweet and foster intimacy in a creative way. If you're at a point where you want to get your partner to use pet names, but are not sure how to approach the topic — there are a ton of smart ways to tiptoe into doing so on the reg.
"One way to get your partner to use pet names in your relationship is to just try using pet names with them slowly and see if they respond well to it," clinical psychologist Carly Claney, Ph.D. says. "Frequently, couples who spend a lot of time together create a joint language that flows easily when they are talking back and forth. The more you use certain words with your partner, it's likely that they will also use them with you." Dr. Claney stresses that media representation can affect how comfortable a partner might be with nicknames, so your nervousness isn't irrational. But remember: If it feels right for you, it is right.
If diving into the act of coming up with a pet name for bae makes your palms feel clammy, you don't have to go that route immediately. Dr. Claney recommends bringing up your desire to your partner and focusing on the positive way it makes you feel. "You can even start by telling them that being called certain names make you feel special, loved, playful, or appreciated," she says. "And this communication will help explain the 'why' behind your request to use pet names in the relationship. Hopefully, in understanding how this makes you happy, your partner will attempt to reciprocate." Eve if they are hesitant at first, that doesn't mean that they find the suggestion weird. It might take time for the two of you to be on the same page, and that's OK.
If you're stumped on what nicknames to try, Dr. Claney also recommends starting out with something low-stakes and common, like "Babe." If you want something more unique, consider things that you really love or have in common. My two friends love to call each other 'peach,' because they both have an attachment to the actual object (one of them is from Georgia, and the other is a chef). You can think of nicknames for each other by considering the lexicon of things that are significant in your relationship. Where did you go for your first date? Is there anything that either of you is obsessed with that would be a great nickname? The possibilities are endless and pretty dang cute.
"Focus on one or two names that you want to use, and explore with your partner what kind of associations they may have with those words — they may be resistant because of past experiences or negative associations from media or previous relationships," says Dr. Claney. She stresses that small incremental steps are important here, so you can start by using them in spaces that just the two of you occupy, like text conversations or when you're alone. Your partner may not want to be called this when you're around friends, and that's a valid boundary.
It's pretty endearing that you're interested in taking this step with bae. As you grow together and develop aspects of your relationship that are uniquely your own, nicknames can seamlessly blend into the fabric of your partnership. And, who knows? They might enjoy nicknames so much that they'll be changing your name in their phone.