By Jenna Ryu

Your ex has resurfaced (just in time for the holidays). Is their renewed interest real, or a case of ‘winter coating?” My feature in USA Today reveals the clues that show the truth.

It’s that time of the year: Cuffing season.

As the temperature drops and the holidays roll in, the search for a temporary cuddle buddy begins. But this season, relationship experts are warning about another toxic, seasonal dating trend on the rise.

It’s called “winter coating’ and has over 300K views on TikTok. The trend involves rekindling a relationship with an ex or old flame during the winter only to discard them, like a parka, in the spring. Often times, it’s to escape loneliness and get through the cold, dark months.

“We get lazy in the winter, and it’s comfortable to have somebody right here with you without having to go hunting for someone new, “explains Susan Winter, a relationship expert based in New York City. It doesn’t help that single people feel pressure from family members and friends to be partnered at holiday gatherings.

Reaching back out to an ex is a popular, often convenient, option but experts warn it can be hurtful and damaging.

“People break up for very strong reasons, and if those reasons haven’t been addressed or corrected, you’ll be walking back into the same emotional chaos that you left,” Winter says.

What is ‘winter coating?’

Winter coating is not a new phenomenon but it’s especially tempting this time of year, experts say.

 “They’ll seduce you and pay attention to you without addressing the break up, because they don’t want to deal with having been responsible,” Winter says. “They just want what they need for that time period, and as a result you’ll see them being reluctant to talk about the past regarding why you broke up and how it affected you.”

Winter coating can feel manipulative. Here’s how to avoid the heartbreak:

“Be vigilant as to why this is happening, and “Winter advises. “Is it temporary or do I really see it changing their behavior? Is there an honest apology? Have they taken responsibility for their part of the actions? Are they really getting back together with me?”

Communication is key, so Winter suggests setting boundaries and says “don’t be afraid to be direct and asked, are you winter coating me?”

Continue reading the full article on USA Today: Beware, your toxic ex may be ‘winter coating’ you this season. What does that mean?