As the air begins to cool and the pumpkin-flavored products hit the shelves, many singles are faced with the onslaught of Cuffing Season.
What exactly is Cuffing Season, you ask? According to Urban Dictionary, “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.”
If you’ve noticed you’re getting more attention online or that person you kinda-sorta-dated this summer now seems to be blowing up your phone with adoring texts, it could be a side-effect of the change of seasons.
As Jocelyn Charnas, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in private practice in Manhattan told Glamour, “We enter into relationships for any number of reasons, regardless of the season,” she says. “Sometimes it’s because someone piques our interest, sometimes because we’re lonely, and sometimes because we’re trying someone on for size.” And sometimes it’s because we just want someone to cuddle up next to while we binge watch all of the seasons of Game of Thrones.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with “cuffing” per se (I mean, who doesn’t want someone to share a couch and snuggie with?), it’s also easy to get into relationships of convenience and be fooled into thinking they’re much better than they are as soon as the temperatures begin to drop.
So, how do you know if your new relationship is the real deal, or you’ve merely fallen victim to the pressures of cuffing season? Well, here are a few ways to know your relationship might be one of sheer winter convenience.
You went on your first date last week and you’re already sharing a Netflix account.
Of course you are. Because, if you aren’t, how are you supposed to keep track of what episode of BoJack Horseman you’ve watched together?
You were lukewarm about them until date number three when you saw their living room.
A large plush sofa. 50 inch TV. Lush throw blankets. An inexplicably fully-stocked snack cupboard that you only thought existed in your wildest fantasies.
All of their friends are friends with your friends, so it just makes sense that you get together, right?
You’re both the odd single person out in your friend group of couples and have been awkwardly (longingly?) making eyes with each other across the spinach dip at parties for years. That Super Bowl party that’s happening in FOUR MONTHS would be so much cozier if you had someone to share it with, right, right?
You just went apple picking together and it was the most romantic thing ever.
Forget the fact that you had to carry around those 40-pound bags of apples and all you talked about was what you’re watching on Netflix, you’re clearly meant to be.
You just started dating and they’ve already invited you to be the plus one at their staff party. In December.
As the old saying goes, the early cuffer gets the worm. You’re not weirded out by their invite in the least because you’re already planning to invite them to Thanksgiving dinner at your Aunt Irma’s house. Time to start coordinating outfits.
You wouldn’t have given them a second glance at the start of the summer, but now the fact that they like to spend entire brunches telling you about their collection of baseball memorabilia seems “sweet” and “endearing.”
Sure you’ve only known each other a few weeks and it could be the maple syrup drenched, twice-fried cinnamon French toast talking, but this person might just be The One.
You’re already planning your spring and summer plans.
And you can’t picture including your new boo in any of them.
You’re overlooking some major deal-breakers.
Jokes aside, the biggest sign that you might have fallen victim to cuffing season is if you’re willing to go headfirst into a relationship despite there being some major signs that it won’t work out. For example, when you’re snuggled under a blanket and having sleepy, but passable post-brunch sex, it might not seem like that big a deal that you and bae don’t share any of the same life-goals, but it will once the coziness of fall wears off and you have to face your future as a couple sans apple picking adventures and readily stocked snack cupboard.
This is all to say that when faced with the possibility of starting a relationship during cuffing season, make sure you’re falling for the person and not just the idea of them.