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Hey, Bubby, Science Says Cute Nicknames Are Good For Relationships

A survey conducted by UK chemist chain Superdrug found that couples who used pet names were more likely to be satisfied with their love life.

A quick poll around the 10 daily office revealed some truly fabulous names given to partners -- think "Peanut", "Stinkles", "Bun", "Spunky", "Panda",  "Krusty", "Dum Dum" and "Chicken" for starters -- and we're not alone in our love of a little pet name (though possibly the only ones who find "Stinkles" endearing....).

Relationship experts at Superdrug found that after surveying over 1,000 people across the UK and US, nearly three in four Europeans and 87 percent of Americans use pet names in their relationships. More common among men than women, 85 percent of men and 76 per cent of women found their own special something to call their boyfriend, girlfriend, and spouse.

That's a whole lot of "Monkeys" and "Chickens" running around.

And it gets more interesting. Among those polled, couples who used pet names were more likely to be satisfied in their relationships than those who didn’t use them. Yes, it seems calling someone "Stinkles" actually works to make them love you!

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In fact, American couples using pet names were 16 percent more likely to be satisfied in their relationships, while European pet names increased satisfaction by nine per cent. In America, 90 percent or more of people using the terms "pretty," "beautiful," and "gorgeous" were content with their partner, while only 56 percent of those who didn’t use pet names were satisfied.

Other experts agree that pet names aren’t just a cute way to get your partner’s attention -- they can actually be a sign you’re comfortable enough with each other to develop a language of your own.

A study from 1993 in The Journal of Personal and Social Relationships studied 154 couples to find out whether their use of adorable nicknames had any relation to how happy they were in their relationships. And guess what? It did.

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In the study, which was delightfully titled 'Sweet Pea' and `Pussy Cat': An Examination of Idiom Use and Marital Satisfaction Over the Life Cycle, it turned out that those people who used silly pet names the most were the most satisfied with their partner and felt the most intimate.

They also found couples who developed pet names for each other at the beginning of their relationship were the happiest overall.

And the reason we use them in the first place?

Well, like everything, it all goes back to your mother, according to Dean Falk, a professor of neuroanthropology at Florida State University.

She suggests that pet names are a bit like baby talk, which exists to help babies learn languages while expressing love at the same time to bond mother and child.

"My hypothesis is an extremely simple one," Falk told Broadly. "Couples, speaking this way, harken back to their own experience when they were infants and to their first love, their mother."

OK, and if you're tired of using "Monkey" or if you, Stinkles, want a new name to try out, why not branch out to a foreign language?

For instance, in French,  the affectionate name “Mon Petit Chou” means my little cabbage or cream puff. In the Netherlands, people call their girlfriends “Dropje,” meaning candy, and the Spanish say “Media Naranja,” which means half-orange (because when they’re together, they make a whole orange and no, I'm not crying, you're crying).

In Italian, try "Topo mio" (my mouse) or "Piccola" (little one). In Thai, "Chang Noi," (little elephant) is like, totally cute, and an Arabic pet name is "Ghazal,". A German may say "Spatz" for sparrow, and a Polish person might call you a little mouse, or "myszka." And in Greek, αγάπη μου, which means "my love".

Feature Image: Getty