When Does “Cuffing Season” Start, and How To Be Ready

couple hugging in the snow woman kissing mans forehead

If you’re tilting your head a little at the term ‘cuffing,’ don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many people don’t know what it is, and if you’re one of them, you’ve come to the right place.

The term “cuffing season” falls into the same category as expressions like “ball and chain” or “hitched.”

To unpack it further, cuffing season is a phenomenon where people who are usually happily single pair up over fall and winter. Research has shown that the cold weather and longer nights heighten the symptoms of depression, making the need to find a partner seem far more pressing.

Relationship experts also state that more people turn toward fast relationships that will fizzle out quickly because of the winter months and the holidays and festivities that take place during that time. This is because the social expectations and views are that if you are single on these holidays, you are doomed to misery. So people scramble to ‘cuff’ someone during these winter holidays.

With this information in mind, it’s no wonder more people jump into relationships during this time. Now that you know what cuffing season is, what more could you need to know, and how can you best prepare for it? Read on to learn everything you should on the topic of cuffing season. You might be surprised to uncover it’s something you want to dip your toe into!

When Does Cuffing Season Start Exactly?

As mentioned, the cuffing season starts when the nights get colder and darker and the days shorter. There’s no exact date per se, but it generally begins in October and ends around April. Notice the trend here? It’s around the big end-of-year holidays and the festivities.

How Will You Actually Know If You Are Being Cuffed?

So the great divide is that some don’t mind the subconscious need and impulsive decision to get cuffed. In contrast, others dread wasting almost half a year on something temporary instead of long-term.

So if it is all subconscious, how can you tell if you’ve been cuffed? Luckily, there are a few telltale signs to look out for. They usually occur in the early stages of the partnership. We have listed these points below.

These are ways to flag down whether you are getting into a ‘cuff’ relationship. While this isn’t always bad, it can cause emotional damage if someone catches feelings when the romantic arrangement is only supposed to be temporary.

A cuffing relationship could end in unnecessary heartbreak, which is what most people fear, second only to have wasted their time in this arrangement.

How To Be Prepared For Cuffing Season

So you know how to identify a possible cuffed relationship, but how could you better prepare for it? It’s all well and good that you know what it is, but prevention is usually better than a cure, right?

Here are our recommendations to prepare you for this upcoming cuffing season.

Cuffing Season + Rebounds = NO

It’s significantly harder not to fall into a relationship during cuffing season, especially if you’ve just exited another relationship that didn’t end on good terms. Most relationships rarely do, unfortunately, so don’t feel too down about this.
Yet, for your sanity and emotional safeguarding, you must avoid turning a cuffing season rebound into a long-term relationship. Try to settle down and get that well-earned me time this season or spend some time with friends instead with your ‘cuff’ partner in the background.

If you are looking to get back into the fast-paced dating game after a bad breakup, then you should be upfront about what you are looking for when seeking cuffing relationships that are meant to run their course quickly.

Many others are in the same boat as you, despite what you may think. They will be just as open to a temporary rebound if you broach the topic and are upfront about it from the beginning.

Take It Slow

It’s been proven that cuddling and handholding release the hormone oxytocin, which gives us those strong feelings of love. During cuffing season, there’s lots of physical contact, ramping up the oxytocin.

This red flag centers around you and your ‘cuffing’ partner enjoying a fast-paced relationship. The swiftness of such a relationship can cause severe damage in many areas of your life, like your emotional and physical well-being or finances.

So when you are getting intense feelings, try to evaluate whether it is because you are scratching a long-time itch or because you genuinely care about this person. A good indicator can be the specific times you have these feelings. Are they only when you are with this person, or do you still feel them when you are apart? Your answer will tell you everything you need to know about if you need to slow things down.

Communicate And Put All Your Cards On The Table

You or the person you see need to ‘soldier up and put all your cards on the table by communicating expectations and relationship duration with one another. Many people dread having such a serious conversation early on. Still, it will save a lot of complications later on and avoid both of your hearts being broken.

 

For example, if you're not looking for a commitment, sit down with your partner (early on) and clarify your expectations. They can then decide if they wish to continue or go their own separate way, and you will benefit from a clear conscience and less drama.

On the other hand, if you’re seeking a long-term relationship, you must explain your position and be honest about what you want from the partnership. Unfortunately, cuffing season is not the best avenue to seek a meaningful romantic relationship. Still, it has been known to lead to one for some couples.

Ultimately, what is essential is transparency on both sides. If things change, the topic must be revisited – especially when feelings are involved. Remember, even if you’re looking for a long-term relationship, do not expect your ‘cuff’ partner to experience a change of heart by the time the cuffing season closes.

The Boundaries Talk

So you’re okay with being in a temporary relationship; what’s next? The conversation is not over, my friend. Next, you must set clear boundaries regarding how far things will go.
For example, maybe sex is off the table, or you only want to see each other during a series of predetermined events.

Early on, you will have to have the “boundaries talk,” where you clearly and thoughtfully go through what is off-limits and what is not. This saves you time and energy and ensures that the ‘cuffing’ relationship is consensual and comfortable.

Suppose you are both interested in pursuing a long-term relationship when the cuffing season closes. Should you revisit the boundaries discussion?

Definitely! But taking it slow while re-determining relationship boundaries is essential. After all, what worked during cuffing season might not work within the limits of a serious long-term relationship.

 

For example, suppose you were allowed to see other people during cuffing season. In that case, this might not work if your relationship has become a serious long-term commitment because you see this person as a potential life partner.

Lastly, if you have fallen into the cuffing season trap without knowing it, don’t worry. Talking and setting boundaries are always on the table and can be done at any point. If you are uncomfortable with where your relationship is currently, sit down with your partner and go over expectations and boundaries again. This will help you gauge whether this partnership is worth continuing and shorten the time lost for both of you.

Don’t Limit Yourself To Just One Person

The best way to avoid being permanently cuffed to someone is to keep your options open. It’s cuffing season; if you’re not ready for a serious commitment, why limit yourself to one person? Especially when you can have multiple short-term relationships to get the most out of the time.

However, if you are going to see other people, you need to make it clear that you are not exclusive and that your cuff partner should also seek out supplemental relationships. Doing so will help you avoid catching feelings while ensuring no feelings are hurt.

To conclude this point, there is also absolutely nothing to be ashamed of if you’re only interested in casually dating during cuffing season. Refrain from letting societal norms and expectations force you to settle on one person when you have a whole sea of options.

Remember, It Is What It Is

After talking to your partner, you’ve both come to terms with the fact that it is temporary and accept it for what it is. While it can be difficult, try not to constantly sour happy moments by hyper-fixating on the short-term lifespan of the cuffing season relationship.

Accepting your relationship for what it is will help you manage your expectations. Yet, don’t get us wrong, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t experience the fun and joy that temporary relationships come with. After all, you might not experience another cuffing season with quality physical contact where you don’t have to commit to a daunting long-term relationship.

If you catch pesky feelings, it’s important to remember that speaking to them about it and ending things is best if you care for them. Yet, don’t be too quick to give in, as they could also have genuine feelings for you. So talk about it first and see if you are on the same emotional page. The last thing you want is to end things badly because you fear being inevitably rejected or being lonely.

For this type of relationship, you have to be wholly honest with yourself and your partner every step of the way. You never know; your foray into cuffing season might become something more permanent. Try to be open to the possibility.

How Do You Find A Seasonal Partner If You Are Looking?

Now for those looking for a partner just for this season, we will be upfront with you and say that it is the same as when you are dating. It is all about putting yourself out there.

The most likely place to find a suitable person is to look in your current social circles and online. Stay away from friends but look at their peripheral social circles to see if there are any worthy candidates. You can turn to online dating if you don’t want to do this. There are numerous apps available, like Bumble, Tinder, Match, and OkCupid, that are the perfect hunting grounds for those on the lookout for a ‘cuffing season’ partnership.

Man and woman laying on floor with laptop in Christmas decorated apartment

As long as you are open about what you want with online dating matches, you shouldn’t run into messy romantic issues. Additionally, if you’re going to avoid trying friends of friends or online dating, you can always turn to tried and true old-fashioned tactics. Head to your nearest bar and see if you can find a casual fling willing to commit to the short term with you.

Wrap-Up On Cuffing Season And How You Can Be Ready

As you’ve probably realized, cuffing relationships fall under the “it’s complicated” status and require a lot from you and your potential partner. After all, they can get messy if not handled correctly.

That’s why there must be constant communication between you two. It would be best if you kept expectations low while abiding by and respecting one another’s boundaries and limits. Essentially, don’t set yourself up for heartache and disappointment.

The second thing is that honesty and self-awareness are crucial to having it all work out in your favor during cuffing season. Whether you want a temporary or long-term relationship, you must know how you feel, how your partner feels, and what you both truly want out of the arrangement.

Last but not least, you shouldn’t ever feel ashamed for wanting to ‘cuff’ someone or be involved in a cuffing relationship. A human’s natural instinct is to seek out relationships. During these months, it is tough to be alone, so don’t beat yourself up over wanting companionship, even if it goes against what society deems ‘normal.’

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