We’ve all been there in the early stages of a relationship when you’re still trying out new things and trying to gauge what the other person wants or is comfortable with in a new relationship. This means trying out a few positions and nicknames that might miss the mark. Note to self, calling the love of your life ‘Slugger’ was both deeply misguided and horribly dated and both of you want to forget the experience.

But also, expressing affection is a love language, and experimenting with new lingo and personal in-jokes can only emphasise your emotional intimacy and shared humour. So by all means, give a few of these nicknames a go to spice up your relationship and really make your boyfriend thankful that he bagged such a creative and witty individual as yourself!

1.Ronaldo 

(If football isn’t your thing, insert any equivalent titan of a given sport) – a footballing god and sporting legend, more sixpacks than your local pub and hair that people would die for. This is a confidence booster and a nickname to whip out in public or in front of his friends (if he’s worthy of it) to spruce his ego up a bit. Maybe whip it out in the bedroom too, but you didn’t hear that from me (wink)

2. Messi 

The slightly more rogue, ruffian alternative – just as talented but just as admirable and notorious – you can impress his friends with knowledge of his hobbies while also sneakily just calling him ‘messy’ just for your personal satisfaction.

3. Queen 

We love a good old fashioned ‘slay queen’ moment between the girls so why not bless the boys with the same level of support and good natured emotional acceptance. We stan (if I lost you on this one, consult Urban Dictionary as appropriate)

4. Pal 

This is for when you’re feeling particularly petty, but he deserves it and knows that he deserves it. A cold reminder of the friendzone and his proximity to it, but he will know that you care and will sharpen right up if he knows what’s good for him.

5. Stud 

When he springs to take you to go and see an old-timey style outdoor film in the back of his car and you feel like you’re an extra in the plot of Grease, this is where you bequeath him the title of ‘stud’. You’re half joking but he’ll absolutely go crazy for a brief return to 50s nostalgia. Trust me.

6. Idiot 

Despite how it sounds, this one is affectionate, but also frustrated. It’s to be used as a signal for your man to stop playing FIFA and help with the cooking for the first time all week. He should recognise the signal. Should.

7. Sweetie 

Here’s one that he’ll cringe about but secretly love – save this one for when you’re introducing him to your parents and highkey desperately still need their approval.

8. Lotus Blossom 

For when he’s being grumpy and delicate and you can’t be bothered to figure out why. This is a term of endearment so cloying that even his grandma wouldn’t use it. Therefore, it’s your duty to ensure he can treasure it when you bless him with it.

9. Mate 

Okay, this is basically ‘Idiot 2.0’. The dishes still haven’t been done and the TV was left on overnight and he needs to recognise the tone of your voice that you expect more of him. (but still love him, I guess)

10. Player 

Only bring this one into usage in a teasing manner when you’re trying to negotiate the contentious ‘past dating history’ discussion to let him know that his ‘off again, on again’ relationship with Rachel down the road is not an issue and that you don’t see her as a threat. You will, however, squint suspiciously at her across the street, which he knows, and loves.

11. Icon 

We love to enthusiastically validate our best gals and family members (well, mostly) so let’s make sure that emotional unavailability doesn’t prevent us from ensuring that the man gets in on the action too. He could probably use some validation but will not want to say. Go figure.

12. Hun 

Old faithful. Hun expresses both familiarity and closeness, and you can feel like a 50s housewife when you say it, which is always a hoot.

13. Honey 

A classic twist on the tried and tested, but different from ‘Hun’. Honey can be uttered in such a tone that betrays either simmering rage or gentle affection. He will learn to play roulette with this one.

14. Darling 

Some love it, some hate it, but you can’t argue that a good old fashioned ‘darling’ goes a long way in an age of increasingly arbitrary acronyms that people use to express emotion (LOL, ROFL, LMAO etc etc etc)

15. Better half 

The gender neutral way of expressing one’s affection to another, particularly effective when combined with a small proud smile. The natural and necessary evolution from….

16. The Old Ball and Chain 

You roll your eyes when the guys use it in the pub but get satisfaction from seeing their eyes bug out when you turn the tables on toxic patriarchy. Spin their dated references back on them and see how they like it!

17. Partner 

Not going for glitz or glory with this one, but it’s professional, restrained but also a formal declaration of one’s commitment to a person, likely in a workplace environment. I still have a lot of time for this classic term.

18. Plato 

A rogue one, but this one is for when he’s being a bit of a know-it-all or tried to lowkey mansplain something to you. You aren’t angry, but you need to affectionately put him in his place.

19. Beyoncé 

This is for when he’s being a diva and won’t communicate with you. But rather than get upset, how can he take being called ‘Beyonce’ as anything other than a huge compliment?

20. Trout 

This one is a real life experience where I heard a balding chap on the phone on a train, call what appeared to be his significant other a ‘Trout’. I’m sure there’s a story behind it, but I don’t hate it. Go for it with this one!

21. Cutie 

This one is very flexible and can just be ‘cute’ or can be appended with ‘cutie-pie’, depending on just how cute he is being, and how cringe you are feeling.

22. (Their initials) 

You might think I’ve run out of ideas for this one, but my parents always used to call each other by their initials (I guess to remind themselves of their shared surname and enduring presence in each other’s lives) and I always thought it was understated but romantic as heck.

And there we have it, but take with this article a cautionary tale…

The main reason I compiled this list was to ensure that no-one else had to experience what I did last week when my poor ears heard the term ‘my little orchard’ in public. Like, you do you pals, but maybe keep that one for the bedroom…