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What Is "Cuffing Season"?

During colder months, singles are doing something that is worth knowing about.

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Can you feel the chill in the air? Trick-or-treaters are giggling, colored lights and decorations are starting to make an appearance, and feelings of gratitude and the spirit of giving are ripe for harvesting. This can only mean one thing. 'Tis the season . . . Cuffing season, that is.

Wait, you’ve never heard of cuffing season? Where have you been? It's totally a thing! In fact, studies have shown that cuffing season is a phenomenon that affects many of us. If you are single and dating, you should know about it. So what is it? Cuffing season refers to a specific time of year when people become extremely motivated to get "coupled up." It generally occurs from October to March. You know, the cooler months of the year. As the temperature drops, the number of couples rises.

So, Now That You Know “What” and “When,” Let’s Explore the “Why”

Cuffing season falls smack dab in the middle of the holiday season. Is it because we are feeling more generous and giving during this time, and we need a partner to spoil? Not exactly. It is more likely that we tend to feel pressure to be in a relationship during this time of year due to the messaging we are getting from the entertainment industry, advertisers, social media, friends, and family.

You know what I'm talking about. There are the questions you get at the holiday party or family function, like, “You dating anyone yet?” Or, “When are you going to settle down and start a family?” And then there are those corny, but addicting holiday movies starring celebrities from the 90s that tell us the holiday season and romance go hand in hand.

Another explanation is that people crave the literal and figurative heat generated by being in a relationship. Having a dependable body next to yours makes you feel comfortable, safe, and, yes, warm. So, we attach, or “cuff,” ourselves to someone during this time to guarantee a cuddle buddy to keep the chill away.

People also tend to feel lonelier during these months. You see, when the days get shorter and colder, people head straight home from the places they absolutely have to go to, like work, school, or Starbucks. This makes socializing a little more difficult, and feelings of isolation can start to set in. For many, the solution to this problem is finding a guaranteed special somebody who will be there with you just as soon as your fingers can text, “Come over, baby.”

But Is It Right for Me?

Getting “cuffed” might sound appealing, but don’t jump in until you have considered the big picture. If your goal is to find a long-term partner, beware of starting a relationship during cuffing season. Like a summer fling, relationships that start during the colder months often have an expiration date. It is typical for these relationships to end just as the weather warms up, when people have more motivation to get out and about, and more options are available to them.

Relationships are great, but they take time to develop. If you have a plan you are working on, such as getting to the next level in your career, getting your finances right, or focusing on your mental health, for example, a relationship will take some of your focus away. Don’t let the allure of cuffing season keep you from accomplishing what is important to you.

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Nobody likes to be lonely, but if you are seeking out a relationship to avoid loneliness or any other unpleasant emotion or thought, you could be doing more harm than you know. Including hurting an innocent person who may really care for you. Avoidance makes problems bigger. It doesn’t magically take them away. Be curious about why you are seeking a relationship during this time.

To cuff or not to cuff: That is the question. Make the choice that suits you and your lifestyle best. Season’s greetings!

More from Chamin Ajjan LCSW, A-CBT, CST
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