Why Do Adults Call Their Significant Other "Baby"?

Why Do Adults Call Their Significant Other "Baby"?

I was sitting and thinking, as I normally do, (well maybe not the latter part of that statement) and the thought struck me: "Why do we use pet names?" More specifically, why do we use the word "baby" when the meaning of that generally refers to an infant? 

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That pet name mixed with the image above seems incredibly creepy, right? Baby has had a long history in art culture though. It turns out the word was introduced as a romantic term in a novel as early as 1694.

[...]not able to support the thought that any thing should afflict his lovely Baby.
— Aphra Behn, "Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister"

Some may immediately think "Wow, the English language is weird", but this shows up in Chinese as baobei and in French as bébé, among other languages. This means that it isn't contained in any one culture. When this happens, we generally look at wide spread evolution and psychology for an explanation.

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The reason we call our lovers baby is thought to stem from the fact that we use the same neuron pathways of affection for our children as we do those that we are romantically involved with. Somewhat disturbingly, if these path ways are too entangled, it's believed that it can lead to pedophilia. We won't get into that though.

Generally, most relationship counselors see pet names as a good thing as they tend to facilitate a privatized world for you and your partner. These same relationship experts postulate that this is a trend commonly used with happier couples. It's also important, and somewhat obvious, to note that baby isn't the only typically used pet name. When considering why we might say baby, Sweetie and Sweetheart may be a less-creepy alternative. 

Just make sure they don't see the nickname as demeaning or annoying.

Just make sure they don't see the nickname as demeaning or annoying.

In my opinion, I don't really care where a word like baby came from, as long as you know why you're using it and contextually it fits the relationship you're in. Having said that, it is interesting to know why we use it at all. (Some of us over use it.)

Personally, I prefer boo because it's cute, ironic, and reminds me of ghosts and ghosts are cute AF. I know a lot of people think it's cheesy or dumb, but I will continue to use it with my girlfriend. If you don't approve then:

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