Pet names like "Babe", "Treacle" and "Pickle" have been voted amongst the most hated names for couples to call one another, it has emerged. The research into the most loved and hated terms of affection found "Babe" to be the most loathed way to refer to a loved one.
"Sweet cheeks" isn't likely to win any favours, while being called "Snookums", "Muffin" or "Pumpkin" were all voted likely to prompt a cold shoulder from the 2000 respondents surveyed.
While terms like "Gorgeous", "Beautiful" and "Lovely" are still acceptable, referring to your loved one as "Sugar lips", "Ducky" or "Honeybun" is deemed too sickly sweet.
The research, which was commissioned by domain name giant Siteopia.com, found the biggest reason to abandon a pet name is because it sounds too false, while soppiness or risk of offending follow closely. Although, one in seven risk-taking respondents regularly call their partner a name they don't like as a bit of a tease.
"There’s a lot of power in a name and each one throws up different connotations so it’s important to know which ones will flatter a partner and which are definitely not going to have the right effect," a spokesperson for the company pointed out.
The terms of "Baby Girl" and "Baby Doll" also make the most-hated list, while modern pet names like "Babycakes" and "Sexy Pants" will also backfire.
Only one in five respondents say they call their partner by their full name most of the time, with the same number reserving a private nickname they use when it's just the two of them.
The men studied admitted they refer to their partner with names they would only use while she was out of earshot.
"The Mrs" or "The Wife" are common terms still used by men today, while one in six men quietly refer to their partner as "The Boss".
A braver one in 14 refer to their partner as "The ball and chain." Just three percent of men said they refer to their wife as "The Wicked Witch of the West."
A softer one in 10 men admitted they let their partner call them a soppy nickname that they would dread their mates ever finding out.
However, one in 10 say they have been found out on a private nickname – 44 percent used it accidentally when others were around, while three in 10 said that friends accidentally discovered it when reading private texts or cards.
"Of course personal nicknames, when born out of affection, are a nice thing for partners to have between one another.
"Although as we've seen they aren't always names we want shared publicly.
"There's a lot to be read from a name and sometimes using too strongly clichéd or overly-soppy pet names for someone we like will just be seen as insincere."