A Couples Therapist Explains Why Cuffing Season Could Be Good for You

December 12, 2017

Oh the weather outside is frightful…

But “Cuffing” is so delightful!

What is Cuffing Season?

“Cuffing” refers to getting into a committed relationship. “Cuffing Season” is the phenomenon of getting into a serious, committed, sexual relationship for the fall and winter months. According to popular belief, these relationships are often considered temporary, and may dissolve by the spring.

The ultimate guide to trending terminology, Urban Dictionary, reports:

“During the fall and winter months, people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves, along with the rest of the world desiring to be “Cuffed” or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

While some people speculate that Millennials are responsible for the Cuffing Season phenomenon, others say that Cuffing is a natural impulse that has been going on for a long time. Let’s look at the motivations behind Cuffing and what it looks like.

Why Do People Cuff?

  • To stay warm with a snuggle buddy
  • To combat the holiday anxiety about being single at family gatherings
  • Because they are lonely or desiring connection
  • If someone is really forward thinking, to have a partner to spend holidays like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day with

Types of Cuffing

  • Casual hookups (sexual relationships) that would have dissolved if it was summer, but instead keep a low burning flame throughout the winter
  • Friendships that turn sexual and romantic
  • Relationships that start in the fall and quickly pick up speed and intensity during the cold months

These relationships may not last until summer, unless they are “for the long haul,” according to this Huffington Post chart:

Source: http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/CuffingSeason_8A.png

Is Cuffing Season Bad?

Some people talk about Cuffing Season as if it is a bad thing. They say two things, primarily:

  1. If you’re cuffing with someone because you’re lonely and too cold to go outside, then this relationship is doomed because it does not have a solid foundation.
  2. If you participate in Cuffing Season in the winter, you may have to break off the relationship when the weather gets warmer, which some people would rather avoid altogether.

As a relationship therapist, I have a different opinion about Cuffing Season. There are many valid reasons to get into a relationship. When you are cold and lonely around the holidays, you may be more motivated to meet people and find someone to get to know this winter.

Whether your relationship starts off out of convenience or a strong desire to be together, there is still opportunity to develop a stable and enduring bond. Also, if that bond does not deepen and grow by summer, it is okay to call things off and move on. This is part of the natural progression of dating.

So, yes, Cuffing Season is another fun term that Millennials may use at this time of year. But it refers to an older trend of wanting to find relationships, especially in the face of cold winter weather and loneliness. This natural impulse can be embraced, if done intentionally, with clear communication about expectations and desires from both partners. When in doubt, remember:

If you want to get Cuffed, give it a try.

If you lose your Cuff love, then just say goodbye.

After all, there’s always next year!

Staff Therapist Briana Bogue, MFT works with young adults, couples, and families who are experiencing distress due to grief and loss, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, conflict, and communication problems.