How to Survive and Thrive During Cuffing Season
It’s that time of the year again when the temperatures begin to drop and the urge to heat things up with a seasonal fling has never been stronger. Hi, and welcome to cuffing season!
When is cuffing season you may ask. “Cuffing season” marks the time of year when there is a rise in many short-term relationships, usually beginning in the fall around October and ending in the spring around April. And while a temporary relationship with an expiration date doesn’t sound the most intriguing, Cuffing season is about having a good time with someone for a short time. Short-term relationships like this offer a connection with another person and the opportunity to explore different experiences. These relationships can help rebuild your self-esteem and get you excited about dating after a breakup or difficult time. It’s less stressful because you aren’t putting pressure on where the relationship is going and allows you the chance to date different types of people whom you might not see as long-term partner material. Cuffing season is also a good way to ward off the winter blues as it may be good for people’s mental health to not be isolated.
So, to cuff or not? That is the question that only you can answer. Keep reading to learn the ins and outs of the cuffing season.
How do I find a seasonal bae?
On an average day, it’s hard enough to spark some romance in your life. Factor in shorter days, fewer chances for a meet-cute since you’re inside all the time, and an instinct to just hibernate in bed until Spring. It can make dating prospects feel dismal. That’s why you should resort to sending out some feelers. Follow up with that cute match after a couple of swipes, hit up that friend-of-a-friend you’ve had your eye on, resurrect promising conversations you ghosted on, or take to the Instagram DMs. All you have to do is be upfront that you’re looking to cuff—then, you can focus on how their personality gels with yours. As long as you set those clear boundaries and expectations upfront, you should be good to go.
Your cuffing season checklist
Figure out what you want.
Sometimes, the thing we say we want isn’t compatible with what we’re hoping to experience. Maybe you want to go on cute fall dates with someone, but on a deeper level, you want a genuine emotional connection. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting companionship or attention, but be honest with yourself about whether a temporary relationship will fulfill that emotional need.
What are your intentions & boundaries?
Take some time to think about whether you want this relationship because you want to hook up with this person, or because you want a holidate for your friends’ parties. It's totally fine if it's the latter, just make sure your potential partner knows what they're getting into. Being clear about your intentions allows them to then make a choice as to whether or not they also feel they would benefit from a short-term fling. After that, you’ll also want to define boundaries, chatting through what’s in and what’s out. What’s the line between a casual thing and taking it to another level?
Don't go all in
Some people are able to separate their emotional needs more than others. These individuals usually have time and energy invested in other areas of their life such as social relationships with friends, careers, or other personal endeavors. Instead of spending all of your time with your seasonal bae, make sure you're connecting with the people who are permanent fixtures in your life. It's never great to hinge all of your emotions on one person, but especially problematic when that person is likely going to leave your life in the next few months.
Keep having check-ins
Be honest throughout your time together and take semi-frequent pulse checks. They don't have to have awkward or serious conversations though. It could be as simple as saying, “Hasn’t this been fun?” to emphasize that this is just a fling. Or you can say, "You're not so bad, I like you way more than I thought I would," if you want to signal that you're starting to see them as a long-term lover. Either way, gentle communication is key.
As with any other breakup, you'll want to be as kind as possible when it comes time to call your cuffing season relationship off. That means having an in-person conversation and explaining why you're not interested in the relationship anymore. If you've been clear with your expectations since the beginning, this conversation shouldn't be a huge surprise to your partner. There’s no need to ghost or block if things ended kindly. And hey, why not end your cuffing season with a bang? You know as a good fortune to the relationships to come, of course.