Cuffing Season: Will You Take Part?

Dating 101
26 Aug 2023
10 min read

The cuffing season, or the time when it gets colder and people crave physical connection and intimacy more than ever, is close now. Are you aware of this seasonal phenomenon of romantic relationships? And if so, are you ready to make your cuffing season fun?

Since it’s so widely depicted in romantic tales, some say that cuffing season is not real but a figment of imagination made to make people feel better about their short-term winter relationships. Others still consider taking part in this tradition, taking it more seriously. Which side are you? Don’t rush to answer before you see what cuffing season is, why people participate in it, and what your options are to make the most out of cuffing season.

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Cuffing Season 101

With hearts throbbing.
It’s cuffing season, and everyone is taken
The sweet fall air makes us need someone to cozy up with as weather becomes bitter.
Pumpkin patches are full of harvest, apples fall from trees into our mugs.

Emily Pearce

Cuffing season refers to the time of the year when temperatures start to drop and the time for summer flings starts to reach their expiration date. Much like the beginning of summer, the middle of fall is when many single people tend to crave having another person by their side.

When Is It?

There’s no specific time for this, but it generally starts when the weather begins to cool. Usually, people begin taking part in cuffing season around October. The search for a partner often lasts until Valentine’s Day.

Isn’t It Just Autumn Loneliness Replacing Summertime Sadness?

Indeed, autumn often signals the end of the spring and summer dating seasons. The shorter days and colder weather also usher in the start of seasonal depression that makes loneliness just feel so much worse. That sadness can lead to seeking emotional ties as a way to feel less lonely. However, that is not always the case.

Related reading: 8 Damaging and 6 Good Psychological Effects of Being Single Too Long

Isn’t It Just Family Pressure to Find Someone?

Of course, men and women also experience family pressure to leave the single life behind. Nobody wants to show up to Christmas dinner alone and be harangued about why they are still single. Sometimes, it’s just easier to find a date than to set boundaries with nosy family members.

Among All, Cuffing Season Is Fun!

Cuffing season is fun. At least it can be! If you’re a person with a healthy perspective, you can enjoy fun dating activities and find someone to spend the holidays with. If you aren’t coming from a desperate or unhealthy place, feel free to enjoy the cuffing season and all that goes along with it.

Related reading: Are You In Love or Just Clingy? 8 Love vs Attachment Differences

Cuffing season romance

How to Participate in Cuffing Season Responsibly?

If you decide to cuff, examine your motives and expectations first. Be honest with yourself about your true intentions before you take part in this tradition, and be equally honest with potential dating partners.

If you decide that cuffing season dating is your style of having fun when it’s cold outside, don’t do these things:

  • Don’t say you want a long-term relationship unless you mean it
  • Don’t run on dates because you’re afraid to spend the New Year alone – you’ll be fine and enjoy it anyway, no worries
  • Don’t let your desire to find a couple cloud your judgment
  • Don’t isolate your friends – keep them close and lean on them for advice and feedback
  • Never hook up with someone you don’t feel comfortable with just because you are lonely

If you can stick to these rules, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a relationship for the short term. Sure, your October romance may not wait, but you will cherish the memories and experience in March.

Related reading: 9 Things You Can Do When You Are Feeling Lonely in a Relationship

Cuffing vs. Situationship vs. A Short-Term Relationship: Are They Different?

People tend to think of a cuffing season as another way to start a short-term relationship. Even more, a short-term relationship itself is frequently confused with situationships, NSA, FWB, and other dating app abbreviations that are gaining popularity these days. Let’s clarify what is what here.

Cuffing vs. Situationship

A situationship refers to a relationship in certain contexts that showcases no real commitment. It doesn’t depend on the time of the year or temperature but happens in all the seasons. And cuffing refers to a relationship that usually only lasts through a certain time of the year.

The biggest difference between these two is that a situationship can happen at any point of the year and last for months or even years. In its turn, the cuffing season lasts during the colder months of the year, starting from late fall or early winter to early or mid-spring. Even more, not every cuffing ends up as situationship – it can grow into a serious relationship with time.

Related reading: Situationship vs Friends with Benefits: Which Is Better for You?

Cuffing vs. A Short-Term Relationship

The cuffing vs. situationship difference applies to a short-term relationship too. While a short-term relationship can happen at any point of the year, cuffing season only happens during the colder months of the year.

However, some may argue that cuffing is simply another type of relationship in which you have a short-term partner. While this may be true, to a point cuffing season is genuinely its own thing as well. And again, who knows where it leads?

Situationship vs. A Short-Term Relationship

As stated earlier, a situationship is often a non-serious affair in which people claim to be in a relationship when it benefits them most. A relationship like this may only last a few weeks, or it can last up to a few years. In its turn, a short-term relationship is often a more serious relationship in which the couple is only together for a short period of time, usually less than 6 months.

Although there are many similarities between these three types of relationships, their small differences may make a significant impact on your life.

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3 Pros of Cuffing Season

“Every Off Season you look at what you can improve on so you come in for the new season fresh and ready to go again.”

Mason Mount, a football player

Although Mount is referring to honing his soccer skills, his quote encapsulates one of the things that is good about cuffing season. As each season passes, you compare the you before to the you now. The experiences you have had, as well as the ways you have grown better.

The cuffing season typically allows you to become a better and more experienced partner to the partners you have in the future. Let’s take a look at some of the more specific pros of cuffing season.

1. It’s Simply a Lot of Fun

For many people, cuffing season is treated in the same way as the traditional summer flings. While you should always make sure that you and your partner are on the same page. Cuffing season exists for some of the similar reasons that summer flings exist.That is for you and your cuffing partner to be able to enjoy some physical intimacy throughout the winter. You get to enjoy a time period where you don’t have to worry about the wants and needs of others and get to have yourself some selfish, consensual fun.

2. You Get To Meet New People

More often than not many people start to cuff or have flings in the winter months for many of the same reasons that they do in the spring and summer months. They simply want to have fun and meet new people.By going online on your favorite dating apps you and your future cuffing partners will be able to fight against the cold weather in the winter months and allow yourselves to make new connections which can potentially form into new relationships in the future.

3. It Keeps You Occupied During the Winter Months

Aside from the holiday you and your family may celebrate the colder months of the year are often filled with declining mental health and visits to the family therapist due to a lack of things to do, places to go, and things to enjoy.In fact, many people are often sick of the holidays way before the actual holiday has come and passed. Cuffing season is a great way to keep you occupied when the weather starts to get cold and is often a great way for you to spend time with someone and escape the winter blues during those darker months and temperature drops.

5 Cons of Cuffing Season

“These hoes keep calling, I ain’t picking up (yeah)
These hoes keep calling, I ain’t picking up (yeah)
Told these hoes I’ll be back around June (around June)
Told these hoes I’ll be back around June (WHAT?!)
Better yet I’ll change my numbers for the whole winter (who?)
Damn, it’s so cold in the f***ing winter (whooo)
These hoes keep calling, I ain’t picking up (what)
Damn, I’m so cold in the f***ing winter (yeah)

Cuffin Season song by rapper Fabolous

The desire to find someone to date hits strong in October. Just know the risks of pairing up when the weather turns cold:

  1. Hurting or misleading others: Relationship expert Kiana Shelton says, “Trouble arises when each person enters the relationship with different goals but doesn’t share them.” You can trust each others’ words only in the end, right?
  2. Right person wrong time: The urge to couple up can cause single people to settle for a partner they would never accept during the rest of the year.
  3. Mistaking lust for love: You may ruin your holidays by becoming so hyper-fixated on cuffing that you spend all your time focused on this. Enjoy fall and winter with family, friends, and fun activities.
  4. Becoming a victim of cynical marketing: Similar to Valentine’s Day, many brands have sought to co-opt the loneliness and emotional distress of people seeking a partner before the winter holidays.
  5. People read you as inconsistent: Men are wary of a woman who ignores them in the summer and spring but makes herself available when it starts to get cold outside.

Related reading: Setting Healthy And Fair Expectations in a Relationship

Disadvantages of dating in colder months

5 Ways to Make The Most Out of Cuffing Season

If you are still into making the most of a cuffing season this year, here are the top five tips for you. All of them are mine, but I’m sure any relationship expert would endorse them too.

1. Reconsider Your Past Swipes

This is not the time to be as picky as you were in June. You want to find a person to enjoy the holidays with and ride out the cold weather until Valentine’s.

Consider cuffing season as the best time to go back to your online dating account and reconnect with some of the people you ignored previously. Remember, you aren’t up for a long-term thing, just a fling.

2. Keep Your Feelings in Check

Don’t let your feelings and urgency to cuff lead you to make bad decisions. Yes, nobody wants to winter alone. But, there can be some emotional fallout in the long term if you act rashly.

Balance your desire to have someone by your side with a bit of common sense. If you are desperate for something to keep you warm, adopt a cat.

Related reading: How To Maintain Your Individuality While In a Relationship

3. Embrace Seasonal Fun

Putting your life on hold to find someone to keep you warm over the holidays is a mistake. Get outdoors and enjoy some seasonal fun. Who knows, you may find someone who is willing to engage in your cuffing fantasy. Try these gathering spots:

  • Local bars and clubs the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas
  • Apple orchards and pumpkin patches
  • Christmas holiday events
  • Ski and sled run

These are the places that typically attract singles in friend groups out celebrating and looking for another person to spend time with. In the future, they can become those perfect spots for your second date.

4. Be Prepared to Be Cuffed Too

You may not be the only person in your situation who wants to cuff. It only makes sense to consider that other people have the same idea. And that’s okay!

Once you both acknowledge that you want the same things, this gets much easier. You will take their needs equally important to yours.

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5. Have the Relationship Talk

Sometimes cuffing leads to relationships that last. Are you okay with that? How does your new winter fling feel about it?

There is no need to pressure yourself to have some intense conversation. Still, you should both have an idea of what the other person means when they discuss cuffing.

Do You Need to Cuff It or Stuff It?

Is cuffing a good idea for you, or an example of a bad choice? The answer is up to you. Yes, you can enjoy this fling as long as you maintain boundaries and realistic expectations. However, it isn’t the worst thing in the world to fly solo for the winter. Sometimes, having someone to kiss on New Year’s Eve can be overrated.

Then again, if you show up to the next holiday dinner with a date, your mother’s lecturing is one thing you won’t have to worry about. Maybe you should find someone to keep you company until it’s warm out again.

Dating Tips Author
Shelly Standford
After a devastating relationship breakup, I threw myself into the dating scene by registering on Hily. I had over 100 dates - some absolute disasters, some pretty average, and some that were actually great. So many stories to tell and insights to share with you guys!

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