What Is Cuffing Season?

During the summer it can be fun to be single. There are parties by the pool and on rooftops. And who doesn't want to go on dates when the weather is warm and the vibe is carefree? But when the weather changes many singles find themselves wanting something else: a partner. When it's cold and snowing they want to cuddle up with someone familiar for movie night. And of course, it's also the holidays. Enter cuffing season.

What Is Cuffing Season?

Cuffing season, which occurs in late fall, early winter, is when singles, who were happy dating around in the summer, start looking for a special person to settle down with for the colder months. Some of these relationships last only for the winter while others can lead to longer-term relationships.

To learn more about cuffing season, we spoke to relationship expert Amie Leadingham. She is known for her work mentoring singles and is very familiar with the idea of cuffing season. "Its namesake derives from one's desperate desire to be 'cuffed' aka handcuffed, by a serious relationship," she shares.

When Is Cuffing Season? 

Cuffing season is all about the cold. It's about people's desire to spend the miserable winter months with somebody familiar and reliable. Singles who participate in cuffing season want someone to cuddle up with on the couch when it's too cold and snowy to go outside. Many also want someone to spend the holidays with.

That means cuffing season occurs whenever it starts to get cold and before the holidays begin. In warmer climates, it might start later, while in colder climates it might start earlier. The general rule, per Leadingham, is that cuffing season lasts from October to Valentine's Day. After the holiday of love, when it starts to get warm again, many couples decide to go their separate ways and prepare to be single and free again. Although it is less likely, some do stay together.

Tips for Finding a Partner During Cuffing Season

Start Early

While you may be looking for someone you want to spend the winter with, not someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, it's still important to find someone you really like. You'll be with them for a couple of months, and because it's cold outside, you'll be spending a lot of time with just the two of you.

To give yourself time to search for the right person start looking early. You'll want to go on many dates to narrow down your search so start well before the holidays. Many singles start looking right after Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, or as soon as the fall weather hits.

Enjoy Your Choices

Cuffing season is a great time to look for a partner because there are a lot more singles looking for the same thing, admits Leadingham. "There are more singles online during this season," she says. "On the dating app Hinge, for example, during cuffing season they experience a 15 percent spike in their users who are actively looking for a relationship." Aside from looking for a partner online, consider going to more in-person events and parties in the fall so you can meet as many people as possible, as long as you are comfortable. You can also join sports leagues, ask your couple friends if they know of anyone available, and go to singles events in your city or town.

Put Your Best Forward

Simply because you want to find a partner does not mean you will find one automatically. You have to do the work to make yourself emotionally and physically appealing and available, explains Leadingham. "When it comes to finding a cuffing partner, it is all about confidence," she shares. "When you look good, you feel good. Feeling good raises your vibration as a person. Like attracts like. If you want to cuff a quality partner, then it starts with you." She says it is also important to make time for self-care to ensure you are putting the best you out there.

She advises clients to invest in beauty products (the new Shark HyperAIR™ or our Brides beauty award-winners make great wingmates!), make time for exercise and healthy eating, and get to know themselves through therapy or writing in a journal. "Celebrate your true authentic self," Leadingham encourages.

Ask Smart Questions During Your Search

Cuffing season relationships are usually short-term, but it’s still important to ask your potential partners what they are looking for. After all, not everybody participates in cuffing season. "You must ask the all-important question, 'What are you looking for right now?'" says Leadingham. "Set the expectations upfront and ensure you are both on the same page before locking down the relationship."

Because cuffing season is all about getting through the winter with as much joy and comfort as possible, it's important to make sure your partner likes to do the same things as you. If you envision a winter spent skiing, and your partner wants to sit on the couch every day and binge-watch Netflix, you won't be compatible. Find someone with similar interests so you can have fun together even when the weather gets nasty.

Can a Relationship During Cuffing Season Lead to Marriage?

The answer is easy. "Yes of course it can," says Leadingham. "Not all winter relationships will fizzle out." If you are enjoying one another’s company and enhancing one another’s lives there is no reason you can’t keep dating when it gets warmer.

"The key to relationship survival depends on a couple's ability to communicate their needs, share common values, and, most importantly, how they resolve their conflicts," explains Leadingham. "It's not only love that keeps a couple together. It is how they fight and resolve their problems that can lead to marital bliss." After all, if you can survive the coldest part of the year, the warm, summer months might be a piece of cake!