Singles May Not Be Falling For Cuffing Season This Year

In the past few years, we've heard a lot about cuffing season. It's that lovely time of year when the days get shorter, the weather calls for sweaters, and people are less likely to venture out as they tend to do in the spring and summer, so they "cuff" themselves to someone else. For many, this relationship is meant to only last from October to March or April — whenever the world starts to thaw — and it's understood by both people that it's a temporary thing. It also includes the holidays so those who get the "Why are you still single?" question every year, can avoid it since they have someone to bring around to family events.

But as much as cuffing season has become a very popular dating trend and one that's accepted by many as a source of love and connection every autumn, singles are starting to give the whole cuffing thing the cold shoulder. "[Difficulty in finding connections] cause people to feel lonely and to depend on romantic or sexual partnerships to alleviate the loneliness, which then becomes the norm," psychotherapist Gabes Torres told i-D. "People are beginning to see how some of these needs are not accommodated in casual dating. Ultimately, it seems that those who divest against cuffing season are those who are ready to be fulfilled in ways that hookup culture doesn't offer."

In other words, singles are realizing their worth and looking past just seasonal love and convenience. Although these short-term relationships can serve a purpose, a lot of singles want connections with more substance — something that you don't always find during cuffing season.

Singles are no longer interested in temporarily settling

No matter how you slice it, cuffing season is settling. You pluck someone off a dating app, out of your group of friends, or go back to an ex — the one you swore you'd ignore forever — just to cuff for about six months or so. But when we settle we take what we can and accept that this person isn't great, but just fits the bill for a temporary situation.

"[Daters are] looking for the same thing that they want in the summer [or in any season], which is a mutual, logical, and gradual connection that is genuinely good, not just good for now," sexologist Shan Boodram told Well + Good. Not to get all existential, but life is too short for "just good enough for now" and, as Boodram pointed out, singles are beginning to really understand that. Because of this, cuffing season is likely to have fewer participants this year.

Singles are re-evaluating what a relationship looks like to them

Relationships and what we may want from them look different to different people. Some consider ethical non-monogamy as the ideal relationship structure for them, while others prefer monogamy, relationship anarchy, or one of the many other relationship options out there. But no matter how you choose to love or have a relationship, this fall people are looking at what a serious relationship will entail and how to get it.

"The chilled-out summer vibe is coming to an end as individuals are getting serious about life again," eHarmony relationship expert Laurel House told The Everygirl. "Couples who are coming back from summer vacations are now reconsidering what they really need and want out of life and love." Because there's so much emphasis on the fact that cuffing is temporary — and it is for many people — it doesn't align with serious relationships that can stand the test of time. It's that realization that's pushing singles away from it.

Singles are realizing friends and family trump cuffing

Is it fun to have a part-time lover? Of course. Is there something cozy about cuddling up on a cold December night with someone who makes you comfortable? Absolutely. But are these things necessary to enjoy the fall and winter seasons? No way.

"It's easy to get caught up in the hype of cuffing season and rush to settle down for the winter," dating and relationship expert Heather Ebert told Bustle. "But those romances are unlikely to outlast the cold because they're rushed and usually not met with intentions of lasting any longer. Instead of focusing on settling down for the last part of the year, spend some time on yourself and with your family."

When you focus on yourself, friends, and family instead of cuffing to someone, you're thumbing your nose at the archaic mentality that people need to be in some sort of relationship to truly thrive. But that's not the case. Staying single, enjoying your loved ones, and keeping things casual with a handful of people is a far better option than cuffing season. You won't be restricted to one person, giving you the opportunity to find someone who fits the criteria for both what you need now and what you'll need in the future.