Terms Of Endearment: Pet Names For Your Boyfriend Or Partner

By Sarah Fader |Updated April 13, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Rachael Lee Hyatt, LCSW

Pet names are a way for romantic partners to express their loving feelings and tenderness in a cute way. Like giving gifts, holding hands, or cooking a nice meal, using these nicknames represents another communication strategy you can use to let your partner know your feelings towards them. It can add to the intimacy when partners have names for each other that are used only inside the relationship. When both parties are into it, these names can be used to show affection, project tenderness, and can elicit a positive emotional response. 

terms of endearment - couple lying in bed smiling and drinking coffee together

Names For Your Partner As A Term Of Endearment

Most experts agree that using pet names and terms of endearment in a romantic relationship creates a bonding effect. Calling your boyfriend or girlfriend or partner by a pet name is a way of solidifying your attachment to each other. It can create a bond between the two of you that generates feelings of safety and connection.
Terms of endearment can also provide a space for couples to express themselves freely, without the constraints of conventional adult conversation. Professor Frank Nuessel of the University of Louisville says that terms of endearment can create a space for couples to feel free to express their thoughts and feelings in a comfortable framework. This practice can allow both people certain freedom from the normal constraints of adult roles.
Perhaps this explains why some couples talk to each other the same way they might speak with a child or animal. Constantly maintaining a ‘professional’ or ‘mature’ demeanor can feel exhausting. Doing so carries with it numerous responsibilities. You must follow customs that govern adult-like ways of behaving.
Terms of endearment can bring walls down and allow space for honest, care-free conversations where both parties feel the freedom to communicate freely. The social connection of play-like conversations and interactions are critical for wellbeing and very beneficial to relationships. Using a term of endearment can be a way of facilitating the innate human need to bond in the system of play and care.
So, what are some of these names? Here are some top terms of endearment for men. They can give you some ideas for ways to express how important your partner is to you. Many terms of endearment work equally well for men and women. And the terms suggested here can work in relationships involving people of any gender identity. Remember, these are words for your relationship, not for other people to judge.

Terms of Endearment For A Boyfriend Or Husband

Each of the following cute names to call your boyfriend or husband can be appropriate for your partner. The thing to consider in selecting one is that it should fit his personality and be something you feel good about when you call him. If your partner seems uncomfortable with the words you choose, you should try something else.


Sweet Names To Call Your Boyfriend

Many sweet treats can be used as terms of endearment. Honey is a common term of endearment for romantic partners. It rolls off the tongue easily and reminds your partner that you think he is sweet like, well, honey. The main downside to this one is that it isn’t very personal. This term of endearment could be used in many relationships, such as that between a parent and child. Sweetie expresses a similar sentiment to honey. It’s a way of telling your partner that you notice he is kind and thoughtful. Just be wary of using it without mindfulness. It loses its sentiment if you just say it all the time without meaning it. Sugar is a less common alternative. Sweetheart is a very common term of endearment that is normally linked to someone who has a kind personality. This term of endearment can also be said to almost anyone, even strangers.

Babe, Bae, or Baby

Many languages have a special ending that you can add to a word or name to make it cute. In Spanish, for example, adding ‘ito’ or ‘ita’ to the ending of a word connotes a cute or childish affectation. English doesn’t use any special endings, but instead, we use terms of endearment in similar ways. One example is the disposition to use small or young things, like babies, as the basis for terms of endearment. While also not unique, all of these three pet names can make your partner feel loved and special. It’s a nice substitute for using your partner’s given name. For example, “Hey, babe, can you bring me my phone” sounds nicer than “Hey, Alex, can you bring me my phone?”

Coming Up With Your Own Pet Name

All of the above terms of endearment are often used and work well to show your affection. But they aren’t unique. To show your partner what you think of him, you can come up with your own pet name. Don’t obsess over it and make it a difficult process. This can be a fun activity and a way to connect with your partner. Pet names are often created naturally in the course of a relationship, and they don’t have to be entirely original. You can use a combination of some common terms of endearment or adopt a new take on one to make it your own.
If you want to come up with a name for your partner, notice words that they say a lot or things that are important to them. If your partner loves to do crossword puzzles, you might find yourself calling him “wordie” or “professor,” for example. When you go on a trip together and share experiences, those can lend themselves well to coming up with pet names. Maybe your partner is from New York, so you say “Hey, New York! What’s up? Food can also be an inspiration to come up with your own term of endearment. Pet names like muffin or lamb chop are common in popular culture. Food can also become a term of endearment from an inside joke that only the two of you understand.
Terms of endearment can also be pure nonsense, and something that doesn’t make any sense to anyone but the two of you. They can also be a silly name that doesn’t even have to be positive or loving, like ‘stinker’. The actual term of endearment isn’t as important as the meaning that is attached to it. So when thinking of your own, make sure it has meaning to the both of you, and most of all, remember that the other person needs to actually like their nickname and associate it with positive feelings.

The Benefits of Couples Therapy

There’s a chance that you are looking to develop added connections to your partner because something else in your relationship is amiss. Or perhaps you are worried that you aren’t building an intimate connection with your significant other despite months of dating. If you are worried about how your relationship is progressing, you may want to consider getting couples’ therapy.
Many people think about couples’ therapy as a last-ditch effort for married couples to avoid divorce. That is not the case. Anyone can benefit from relationship counseling—even single people. If you are committed to your relationship, and things aren’t going the way you want, scientific findings indicate that you should seek help. According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman, couples spend an average of six years of unhappiness before seeking advice.
If you are worried about being able to access couples therapy, don’t worry. Online counseling makes relationship psychology more available than ever. Mental health professionals from BetterHelp are available to connect with you. They can give you actionable advice to help you improve your relationship. Maybe that will take the form of using pet names. Maybe it will be something else. Read what other couples have to say about their experience with BetterHelp below.

BetterHelp Therapist Reviews

“Janie has been listening to my concerns and the things that are affecting me and my relationship. We have just started working together but she has given me a lot of good things to think about, recommended some reading, and is going to send me some prompts to think of ways to phrase my questions and thoughts to my wife in ways that do not make her feel that I am attacking her or that she needs to be defensive. I look forward to continuing to work with Janie to hopefully save my marriage.”

betterhelp online therapist janie waddell

“Laticia is a lifesaver. She has great energy and allows me to be myself during our sessions. She helps me with understanding my feelings and thoughts. She’s not afraid to tell me things I don’t want to hear. She gives me great tips, ideas, and exercises to help me with my communication skills, my anxiety, and relationship issues. I’m so happy I have her as my therapist. She is helping me through some difficult experiences in my life. Thank you, Laticia.”

betterhelp online therapist laticia bickham


Whether you’re starting to think about using a term of endearment, or you’ve had the right pet name nailed down for years, a professional therapist can help keep your relationship with your partner on a healthy track with couples counseling. Take that leap and work on your relationship.
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