By Amber Raiken

Cuffing season officially ended on Valentine’s Day. Did your winter fling call it quits? My interview in the Independent explains why.

Amber writes, “While Valentine’s Day is deemed the romantic day of the year, it’s also the annual end of a popular dating trend: cuffing season. The trend coincides with the winter season, and sees people take advantage of the opportunity to date one person during the cold months, also known as being “cuffed” up.

As noted by Merriam Webster, cuffing season refers to “period of time where single people begin looking for short term partnerships” during the cold season. The search for the winter romance usually starts around October, with the relationship going until after Valentine’s Day. However, not everyone has followed that time table when casually dating.

Over the years, cuffing season has become a bigger phenomenon on social media, with a woman named Elizabeth recently sharing a dating schedule, which went from August to February, on TikTok. After describing August and September as a time to figure out what you want in a relationship, she acknowledged that cuffing season then “moves pretty fast” in October, when you can date as many people as you please. According to the plan shared by Elizabeth, you can be coupled up by 1 December, before deciding by 1 February if you want the relationship to continue.

Speaking to The Independent, New York City based relationship expert Susan Winter compared cuffing season to purchasing a winter coat, as it’s something that you wear specifically for the cold months. She also acknowledged that there are benefits to dating just one person when it’s chilly outside.

“It’s like ‘I want a little comfort and security. So I’ll just use one for this season,’” she explained. “So cuffing season is a real thing, as people are feeling too lazy to go out and date. They’re more motivated to settle down now than they are in the summer, when it’s easy and breezy. In winter, meeting people is cumbersome.”

Once you enter into a relationship during cuffing season, it’s important to keep your intentions in mind. Winter acknowledged that people aren’t entering these relationships for it to just be a one and done experience, even though the flings often end in February. In fact, younger generations are aware of the cuffing season trend, and have ultimately decided if they want it to be a part of their love lives.

“They’re entering these relationships in a segmented way, with the understanding that it can be disposable. So why not enter it?” Winter explained. “It psychologically provides the latitude that I can enter a relationship. But hey, it can also be just as easily have happened because it was cuffing season.”

“We should constantly be asking: ‘How do I feel? Is this working for me? Do we have shared goals?’ And if you find that your goals and where you’re going in life have been compartmentalised into a brief two or three months in your partner’s mind, then you need to psychologically prepare for that or start to plan your exit strategy,” she said. “It can be hard to distinguish, like: ‘Am I entering a brief cycle of cuffing season or are we actually meeting each other and exploring our future?’”

According to Winter, it’s obvious why cuffing season and International Breakup Day take place during the colder months. During the summer and spring, your social schedule is maximised, with more occasions to mix and mingle with people outdoors. “As we hit the colder weather in many countries, we are not seeing people in real life and we will be finding partners online,” Winter added. “That’s why togetherness and breakups can occur at the same time.”

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