Do you use baby talk in your relationship? It might be a tell-tale sign of maturity.
Whether it’s using cutesy pet names, a high-pitched voice or a full-on adoption of words like “wuv” and “wittle,” baby talk is a common occurrence in adult relationships. So common, in fact, that nearly two-thirds of all couples do it in some capacity, according to a study at the Kinsey Institute. (There are no specifics as to whether or not this applies to only heterosexual couples.)
While this way of communicating might appear regressive or even patronizing upon first glance, it is ironically a tell-tale sign of maturity in a relationship, and further goes to show how closely linked adult attachments are to moments in childhood.
As a video from School of Life explains, using baby talk signals that we have come back to a “vulnerability and defenselessness” once easily accessible in our early childhood.
In even the best of circumstances, growing into adulthood often means losing some aspect of our childlike wonder and open-heartedness. Becoming the “mother or father” to the younger self of our partners, and allowing them to do likewise for us, helps bring back that innocence so often snuffed out in order to navigate the challenges of adult life. You could say that couples who are able to do this for one another are able to engage in a fuller life experience.
Psychology Today adds that baby talk often indicates high levels of closeness, loyalty and security in relationships. Attachment theory, which has become a mainstream topic of conversation in relationships in recent years, seems to be a foundational concept behind this phenomenon. The theory posits that the innate need we have for emotional bonds as children with our primary caregiver never fully goes away, and how we received (or didn’t receive) that love will shape how we experience it in adulthood. It stands to reason that when there is security between two individuals, one might revert back to the original point in time when that security was first experienced.
Obviously, all relationships are different, and not everyone is going to appreciate baby talk. But if you do, fret not, schnookums. There’s nothing wrong with having someone who brings out your inner kid, encourages you to embrace your silliness and helps you take a break from the seriousness of life from time to time.
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