What is cuffing season?
No, it's not a new kink trend you're missing out on as you might initially have thought of when you heard the words "cuffing"! Cuffing season begins in the autumn and winter months, running from October into the New Year, sometimes as far as into March. It's the concept that refers to "cuffing" yourself to someone to couple up with and get through the cold, cosy season, with less of an intention of a long-term relationship. It's for snuggling up, sitting by the fire and enjoying the company of someone through the season.
What are the advantages of "cuffing season"?
The ultimate purpose of cuffing season is to get through the winter months without the commitment of a long-term relationship. During this time, the days are shorter and people tend to spend more time indoors which as a single, can bring on a dip in social interaction and an increased time in the time spent alone. But cuffing season offers the opportunity for companionship during these darker, winter months and having the intimacy and closeness between two people.
And just because you go into the experience of a cuffing season relationship with the intention that it will end as Spring begins, doesn't mean that the relationship is worth any less. Tradition suggests that when we're dating, we should be looking for a life partner to go through the rest of our life with. Cuffing season could be useful to those that understand and accept that not every relationship out there will stand the test of time, and knowing that some people are out there and don't want a long-term relationship as an intention can be a relief.
Whilst that comment may scare others, it's worth considering that if you are seeking a long-term partner, the chances are that you won't get everything right in that relationship. When you're training to run and marathon, sound advice for that training is to not run the marathon distance, but you're smaller runs during training will prepare you both physically and mentally for that experience. Dating can be the same; we need smaller dating experiences to prepare us for the longer term relationships, so using cuffing season relationships as a way to develop and practice interpersonal skills can be useful.
What to watch out for in "cuffing season"?
If there are more people consciously or sub-consciously using dating apps for shorter-term relationship stints, you're going to be need to be wary of this if you're looking for more long-term partnerships. It's not wrong for anyone to be using dating apps in the way that they feel most useful to them - though being upfront about what they want from a relationship always leads to a fairer experience - but as someone that might be looking for a long-term relationship, now might not be the time to get your hopes up to high!
It's also important not to judge those that are partaking in a more casual approach - each to their own, and it's about you setting your intentions for what you want from the dating experience, as well as setting and holding boundaries that will
If you do decide to engage in a "cuffing season" relationship, it will be worth reflecting on how much time of dating is reasonable for you to engage with this other person per week. You might end up texting every day and suddenly, there's more reliance and attachment on this person, for things to change knowingly later down the line. Falling into that by accident, rather than acknowledging that this will happen, will put you in good stead for managing the shift in your relationship as it de-escalates further down the line. Overall, how far you want to integrate aspects of your live during your experience will need to be considered carefully to maintain your wellbeing, and ensuring you still have a strong sense of self and support network will set you up for changes later on.
How to get through cuffing season when you're single and dating
Cuffing season is a time for you to review and reflect on what you really want from your romantic relationships. You need to decide if you're looking for a long-term relationship or if you're happy to accept short-term experiences (and this is a reminder that a short-not-quite-as-official relationship is not worth any less than something that lasts a long time).
It may also be an option for you to opt out of dating entirely for this period of time. With more time being spent indoors, and the higher probability of meeting those after short-term relationships, you might choose to use the time to focus on yourself instead. Otherwise, if you want to continue into navigating the dating scene, communicate early and effectively for your intentions for the relationship, cuffing season style or not, and both listen for what a potential dates says and what they do as to whether a long-term relationship is also what they want to.
Cuffing season doesn't have top be a bad experience - but it will be if you get yourself caught up in something you aren't actually looking for!
If you want the support of a community of single ladies that are navigating single life including dating, living alone and solo travel, you can join The Single Girls Club online community for discussions, zooms and live chats.
Listen to the full episode of The Single Girl's Guide to Life episode here: