From summer loving to cold weather cuddle buddies, some relationships come with an expiration date. Most would call this a fling. Seeing as we’re well into the winter season, though, you can officially call it cuffing.
If you’ve never heard of cuffing, you’re not alone. Urban Dictionary says cuffing season happens during fall and winter when, “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 reason? The cold weather keeps most people inside, so singles can find themselves lonely.
Once the temps start dropping, people look to cuddle up. The days are short, the nights are long, and most are more likely to snuggle up by the fire than, well, perhaps anything else outside. It makes sense if you think about it. August is the most common birth month, after all. We’ll let you do the math on that one.
So, back to it. Do you think it’s possible you’re a victim of cuffing season? If you’re questioning your new relationship that’s only just begun, here are five telltale signs you’re just a winter fling.
1. You got together between Halloween and Thanksgiving
It’s quite possible you and your latest cuddle buddy were fated to find one another, and it’s just coincidence you happened to meet during the time of year that Vogue describes as the “window for finding a cuff buddy.” If that’s the case, we’re cheering for you. However, if you feel more like a bench warmer than a starting player, it’s time reevaluate. The entire premise of having a winter fling is pretty much in its name. It’s wintertime, and you want to make sure you’ve secured someone to, ahem, help keep you warm on those frigid winter nights. If your partner has in fact sought you out for this exact reason, they’ve likely done so prior to the coldest months.
2. Your partner’s communication suddenly went from thoughtless to thoughtful
Did your companion go from ice cold to shockingly warm at the drop of the first fall leaf? Before you venture out to Bed Bath & Beyond for a set of matching towels, do yourself a favor and don’t. In one Vice article, authors Hannah Ewens and Emma Garland describe the cuffing phenomenon in several ways. One, for instance, is by way of texting.
If a person who formerly sent crass messages during warmer months is now sending carefully crafted love notes, recognize fling from real thing. As long as you have your wits about you, it’s plain to see you’re just a winter fling, and your newest mate probably won’t last for long.
3. You actually live in a place with all four seasons
This is actually a prerequisite for the whole idea of cuffing, but it’s still worth addressing. Elena Feldman’s hilarious description of cuffing season featured on Complex fits the bill nicely. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept of fall and winter, she explains it becomes less common for people to spend time being social due to cold weather. This means it’s imperative for people who might easily hook up with a person during the warmer months to lock down a mate before everyone goes into hiding. You’ve traded sunny happy hour patios for evenings spent bundled up on your couch, so you have to be prepared.
4. Your partner doesn’t care whether you like each other’s friends
If your partner has no intention of introducing you to their social network, they’re clearly not too interested in keeping you around for the long haul. And if they don’t care how your friends feel about them, or are totally uninterested in getting to know the people you’re closest to, consider this just a fling. And, obviously, the opposite is also true. Cosmopolitan says caring that your friends like them and that you like their friends is a clear sign your fling is turning into something more serious.
5. You resolve to date better people in the future
You know it’s bad when you’re already considering your next potential suitor. If you’ve found yourself daydreaming about much better options down the road, your partner may be doing the same. Either way — your decision or theirs — it’s a telltale sign your relationship is nothing more than a winter coupling if your New Year’s resolution is to date better people. So head for the hills sooner rather than later.
All this said, don’t let yourself become totally jaded when it comes to wintertime romance. While the nature of a winter fling is a short-term lustfest, cuffing season may serve as the start to a beautiful thing. Just something to keep in mind.