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Cutesy Nicknames Strengthen a Couple's Bonds

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Women's Health: Lovey-dovey language -- even your own -- can be so corny it makes you want to puke. But researchers have found that it might actually serve a purpose: Pet names and code phrases pave the way to a playful, resilient, and satisfying relationship. One study on couples' "insider language" published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships reported that the more goofy names, made-up terms, and covert requests for nooky a couple used, the higher their relationship satisfaction tended to be.

The quantity of sweet or silly nothings you utter on any given day may be even more important than the quality, says Jamie Turndorf, Ph.D., a New York City relationship therapist. Studies have found that couples who maintain a five-to-one ratio of positive to negative communications are far more likely to remain happy. "Using nicknames and made-up language is an easy way to inject positive communication into everyday life," Turndorf says. In fact, it's probably the single easiest thing you can do to keep your relationship going strong.

Whether it's baby talk or coded conversation ("It's getting chilly." Translation: "Let's leave now."), the overall message is: The two of you are tight. "You are saying, symbolically, that you care enough about the other person and the relationship to develop your own way of speaking," says Carol Bruess, Ph.D., the director of family studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a co-author of "Belly Button Fuzz and Bare-Chested Hugs: What Happy Couples Do." "You've got your own private world, your own mini culture."

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5 comments so far | Post a comment now
Snookums April 7, 2009, 11:35 AM

I can’t remember the last time my husband actually used my real name. It’s always “Hey Babe,” “Hon,” “Honey,” or “Sweetheart.” No complaints from me, Snooky-Wookums!

Sara April 7, 2009, 11:37 AM

My husband calls me “Hey”, but I’m thinking that doesn’t count as a pet name.

Anonymous April 7, 2009, 11:52 AM

I’m not schmoopy; you are.

Sarah B April 7, 2009, 12:51 PM

My husband calls me “Pants”, because he likes what’s in my pants, lol. Sometimes he will spice it up and call me “Honey Pants” or “Hot Pants.

I call him “Honey Bunny” & “Sweet Cheeks”

We also call each other “mommy” & “daddy” around our daughter, and both do the obligatory “Sweetie”, “Honey”, and “Pumpkin”

Qcvykstf July 1, 2009, 4:18 AM

ohyyYx comment1 ,

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