As the days get shorter and the nights get chillier, it's time to admit to a painful truth: Cuffing Season is coming. Cuffing Season. Those two words can drive a stake through the heart of any hopeless romantic, and make even those of us who scoff at romance, wince, and cringe.
According to Urban Dictionary, Cuffing Season is defined as: "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 it sounds somewhat harmless, aside from the accusation of being "desperate," the reality is that Cuffing Season is, lasting from roughly November to March, usually a temporary thing. You have people realizing their opportunity to meet others is about to drop drastically due to the colder months, so you might as well procure either a temporary partner or a friend with benefits. It's fine if both parties are looking for something short-term and can admit that they're cuffed, but not so fine if you're investing in someone who plans to split the second the snow melts.
So as we do slide into Cuffing Season, I have a suggestion: don't get sucked into it. In fact, consider avoiding it all costs. Why? For starters, you deserve more than to be a placeholder. Here are some more reasons from experts.
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Being Single During The Holidays Can Be Fun
Think about: being single during the holidays means going to holiday parties solo (you might meet someone!), not having to buy a gift for a partner (more gifts for you!), and no having to debate at whose family the holidays will be spent (hell yeah!) — the list of the positives of being single during the holiday season is kinda awesome.
"When you’re single, you get to really enjoy your freedom during these holidays and if you’re cuffed and coupled, you lose out on the possibilities that being single brings," New York–based relationship expert and author April Masini tells Bustle. "If you can resist the urge or the pressure to cuff up, you may find that you’re going to have some real fun!"
There's Actually No Reason For It
Sure it's cold, so maybe it seems like, "Oh, humans are supposed to find someone with whom they should snuggle down," but that's actually not the case.
“Despite some of the conventional beliefs, there’s no biological basis for why we try to get cuffed in the winter months,” Behavioral Scientist and author of the relationship blog, You’re Just A Dumbass, Clarissa Silva, tells Bustle. "Unlike other species, humans don’t have set or seasonal mating patterns. But there are practical reasons why some cuff. It’s a lot colder, and people are attending fewer events and staying indoors more than warmer months — so it limits people’s dating and sex pools. This also makes people think that we have a mating pattern and strong desire to cuddle up in the winter months.”
Cuffing Is A Sign Of Insecurity
While we're all guilty of being insecure at certain points in our life, you probably don't want to become a cuffing statistic because of insecurity.
"Cuffing just to have a partner for the holidays is often a sign of insecurity," explains Masini. "Press back against that fear of being seen as less than because you’re single. Use the absence of cuffing to get to know yourself better. True knowledge is often uncomfortable. Stay in the discomfort and process your feelings until you know your true self. Ironically, this is the best way to find a soulmate — when you’re super in touch with yourself."
You Could Be Wasting Your Time
Getting involved with someone simply to get through a season immediately closes off opportunities for something better and, in many ways, you'll just be wasting your time. Isn't your time precious? (YES.)
"[If you don't get sucked into Cuffing Season] you won't waste your time," says Chlipala. "If you're looking for something serious, you don't want to waste your time with a short-term partner."
It Doesn't Matter What Others Think
As Masini explains, with the holidays come certain expectations: "Your family is going to want to know if you’re dating, engaged, married — or still married. If you’re not secure in any of those categories, you’re going to feel anxiety. The 'wonder' that your family expresses may feel more like interrogation than holiday interest. Bringing a date, or starting a relationship is a conscious, and sometimes unconscious way of abating pressures."
But you know what? Screw it. "Let your family and friends deal with your singleness," says Masini. "Don’t take on their issues. Let them be the ones with the problem because you’re single. When you divest yourself of other people’s baggage, you’re going to be free, happy, and productive! Taking on other people’s perceived problems about your life is exhausting. Let go. Be single."
It's Better To Keep Your Options Open
"Keep yourself available and date until you find a good fit and someone who has similar relationship goals as you," says Chlipala. "I've often worked with singles where one of the main reasons they were still single is that they spent a lot of time and energy on people who weren't a good fit, and also needed time to heal from the breakups. And if you fall in love as mentioned above, it's harder to leave a relationship." Which leads to...
You're Actually Not Alone In Being Single
Although being one of the millions — singles out there might not quell any desire to procure a short-term thing, knowing that you're not alone should at least help a bit.
"We assume that the holiday season is short on prospects, but the reality is there are thousands of single people who are in our same boat," says Armstrong. "Only, we're too busy being with someone that wants us for the season to be in a position to meet them and get to know them. And, at the end of it, we convince ourselves that we were right when, in reality, we were too cuffed to put ourselves out there and see."
Cuffing Is Far More Complicated Than We May Realize
"With cuffing is the lack of control you actually have in the end," says Armstrong. "You are developing a connection beyond the physical and it will make the 'breakup' more difficult. We're humans and we cannot simply stow away our feelings as if they are inanimate objects. This is not dissimilar to casual sex with a friend — it always gets complicated."
While Cuffing Season works for some, you shouldn't feel obligated to join in, even if it feels like everyone around you is getting together all of the sudden. If you're looking for something long-term, you deserve that. So, by all means avoid it — unless you manage to find someone who's a great fit and isn't into you just to be temporarily "cuffed."