5 Steps to Safely Navigate “Cuffing Season”

The dreaded moment has come. Sit down and take a deep breath before you read on. I promise, you will make it through. It’s time to accept that we are officially in “cuffing season.” “Cuffing” refers to the chaos that ensues during seasons of the year in which many tie themselves down to another in a relationship. As Lisa Bonos describes in her The Washington Post article, “Cuffing season is the period between October and February when it’s colder out and a regular Netflix and chill buddy seems more desirable than keeping your options open.” As the new school year begins, many wrestle with the chilled air and hope for someone to share a cozy blanket and hot chocolate with. And apparently this is totally natural as Bonos explains how the darkness of the winter sparks the body into making more melatonin, therefore putting us all in sleepy, (needy), and cuddly moods! Olivia Petter, writer for The Independent, offers a more scientific name for this phenomenon. She calls it: “Seasonal Dating Disorder, (SDD)” as she states how summer is more about lust, not love. Relationship psychologist Madeleine Mason also explains this pattern as an excuse for not actually being able to commit to something more long term. In short, there’s hope us going through cuffing season without another!

But, this leaves those who are single in a bit of a bind, as although they may not be looking to be “cuffed,” it seems like everyone around them is. So how do you survive this arduous season?

1. Know Your Worth You have not given in to “cuffing season” so that’s sure a start! You do not need anyone to get through the cold (and warm) days and you sure do NOT want to settle down just because the world says it's time to be “cuffed.” Do not get sucked in if it does not feel right. Stay strong.

2. Do Not Let Peer Pressure Bring You Down Just because everyone else is doing it, does not mean you need to! I know there may be a lot of social pressure, but rise above it. If you’re feeling left out on date nights, have your own date and practice #5!

3. Do Not be Fooled By “Cuffing” Players Boys will make moves, and they hope can navigate this season, but be aware, they may not be on the same page as you. As dating expert Francesca Hogi explains, “prioritize those that prioritize you.” Do not let those that are essentially “spraying and praying” fool you. Maneuver these waters cautiously, as you do not want to get roped into something you weren’t prepared for.  

4. Concentrate On What You Want Maybe you are ready to settle down! Maybe you’re not! Always remember what is important to you and focus on that. Be it academics, athletics, family, friendships, or relationships, prioritize the important things and don’t let anything get in your way.

5. Love yourself! All of “cuffing season” may be about love, but, as Erika Ramirez, author and founder of ILY, popular love magazine, writes: “You can be alone and not feel lonely.” This self-love comes first and foremost, so remember, love with another person only comes after love for yourself.

Good luck in the brawling snow storms in the winter, alone or with another, I’m sure you’ll navigate it safely!