In winter, our natural instincts are to want to rug up and stay indoors, ideally with a partner to snuggle up with on the couch. In other words, the true definition of ‘Netflix and chill’.
So, it’s no wonder, then, that this instinct of coupling up when the weather gets chillier has a name: cuffing season. “The term is derived from the word handcuff and literally means to ‘cuff’ yourself to someone for the winter,” explains Lucille McCart, APAC Communications Director at Bumble.
The idea usually refers to short-term relationships, formed during the cooler months of the year when we are more likely to want a relationship.
Ahead, McCart answers everything you wanted to know about cuffing season.
Why Does Cuffing Season Happen?
“Apparently, there is a scientific reason for why we want to snuggle up more in winter,” says McCart. “Neuroscientists say that humans evolved by using body heat as a survival mechanism, so when it gets cold our brains are still wired to look for a human heat source.”
There are social reasons as well, explains McCart. While summer dating is defined by beach days, walks in the sun and cocktails outside, winter dating is geared towards more ‘serious’ tendencies like going out for dinner, watching movies and perhaps rugging up to attend a sporting event.
“Especially for Australians, we tend to hibernate during our few cold months and it takes a bit more effort to go out and meet new people,” she says.
Why Should I Consider a Cuffing Partner?
The perks of cuffing season?
“Not everything has to be done with the long term in mind, or even be super serious,” says McCart.
“Dating someone for a short period of time can be a fun and exciting experience during a time when there isn’t much else going on. If you are both on the same page about keeping things low-stakes then why not make a winter fling a thing?”
Do I Need to Find a Cuffing Partner?
Absolutely not, McCart says. If you’re enjoying being single and going on dates, keep doing you.
“Though you may feel the urge to ‘cuff’ because it’s the current trend, just follow your instincts and do what feels right for you,” she says. “Also don’t feel the need to settle down just for the sake of it, especially for just anyone. If you do want to couple up, there is no shame in that either.”
What Are the Dangers of Cuffing Season?
“The danger of a short-term or casual relationship is that you don’t stay on the same page as things progress,” says McCart.
“Communication and transparency are key. This means having to be willing to openly discuss your feelings! There is always a chance that your cuffing partner might become the love of your life, but things can get messy if one of you develops stronger feelings than the other.
“Pay close attention to how you feel, check-in with your partner regularly, and also make sure you have discussed the level of exclusivity you both want to have so there are no misunderstandings and no one gets hurt.”
What Are Some Tips for Navigating Cuffing Season?
“Keep what you are looking for front and centre on your app profile so you are attracting people interested in the same thing,” suggests McCart, adding that Bumble’s Dating Intentions Badge is great for this.
McCart also suggests having honest conversations about where you are at, what you are looking for and how you want to date — with anyone you go on a date with. And finally, she says: “Remember to be yourself and have fun”.