Don't Text Your Ex: The Do's & Don'ts of Cuffing Season

["family", "relationships", "dating"]
Marie Claire

If you’ve never heard the term "Cuffing Season," you’ll likely have an instant understanding of what it is anyway. This kitchy “season” occurs during the colder and darker months of each year, during which, men and women shed their summer bachelor and bachelorette lifestyles and suddenly feel compelled to have a plus-one for the holidays.

According to Urban Dictionary (as this isn’t exactly term one can look up in the local library’s dusty dictionary):

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“During the fall and winter months, 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 cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

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But while this terminology was coined somewhat recently, the trend has been around for thousands of years. We are, after all, walking around in DNA that’s hundreds of thousands of years old. And according to Dr. Wendy Walsh, a clinical psychologist who specializes in the psychology of love, sex, and gender roles: “There was less food and resources [available], and hunter-gatherers' survival happened better if you were in a pack, if you were coupled up ... This increased survival of any offspring that came out of it."

It all just makes far too much sense now that we’re all hitting up toxic exes and scheduling dates via dating apps as if it’s our full-time job. I’m ever-so-guilty of feeling an urge to couple up — cuffle up? — during the winter months, as are many of my friends. But, I’ve noticed a pattern in recent years…

Do's & Do Not's Of Cuffing

Do Fill Up Your Nights Off With Girls' Nights When You Don’t Have A Date

Swiping right repeatedly can get exhausting, and all the repetitive small talk will drive you to sheer insanity if you let it. But while the loneliness can become, at times, far too palpable, it’s important to spend this time with the people in your life who know you best and are there for you whether you have a partner or not.

Girls' nights serve a few different purposes during cuffing season:

  • They help you not feel alone on nights where you’d otherwise head home after work and sit on your couch solo
  • Your [good] girlfriends will openly and honestly tell you whether or not someone is worth your time.
  • Spending time with your girlfriends helps you feel like you during a season when it’s easy to settle for someone you don't want

Also, try to RSVP to as many of your friends’ holiday parties as you possibly can. Not only will doing so help fill any void, you may just meet someone new through your friends.

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Don't Pick Up Your Phone And Text Your Toxic Ex

Your ex is an ex for a reason. Yes, there are couples who break up and get back together around the holidays. Just throw in any holiday movie, and you’ll find yourself thinking “If these two could survive a fight that wasn’t a real fight and then get back together in the most romantic way while snow lightly fell around them, then so can my shitty ex and I!”

I can almost promise you that if you two get back together in a rush (as in glossing over all of the problems that caused you to break up in the first place) just so that you don't have to handle the holidays solo, you will inevitably break up again once the season ends. You do not need this person. If the temptation to hit him up is overwhelming you, text your best friends instead.

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Do Open Yourself Up To A New Person

If you grabbed overpriced cocktails with a new Tinder match and found you actually like this person, by all means, start the cuffing process! Whether or not this is The One doesn’t have to weigh you down every time you begin a new relationship. You can still have fun with someone new who may not be someone you can actually be with long term.

Don't Get So Attached You Now Have Lost Communication With Friends

It’s not exactly pleasant outside, and you have someone new in your life. Congrats! But, you still have friends. You had a life before meeting this temporary (or not temporary) new partner, and you still have a life outside of him or her.

In order to really let any relationship blossom, you need to spend time apart. It’s healthy, and the upside is that it’ll make you miss that person — or realize you really aren’t that into them. Regardless of which category you and your new flame fall into, it’s important to note they may very well be with you for the wrong reasons. So keep your life and weekly friend dates. After all, your friends won’t dump you when Cuffing Season is over.

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Do Enjoy The Cuff While It Lasts

As I mentioned above, keeping in mind that you both may only be in this temporarily — even if you aren’t always fully conscious of this, yourself — is key to sitting back and enjoying some snuggle time with your new cuff. When this person’s texts start to dwindle and your desire to tell them about that funny thing that happened on your way into work this morning fades away, then perhaps it’s time to call it off.

Take a good look back on the months you spent laughing on the sofa while sipping on hot tea and smile, while simultaneously remembering all of the reasons you knew this wasn’t going to last forever. Un-Cuff yourself and open your fabulousness to new adventures.

And for the love of all things holy...

DO NOT text your ex.

Let us know what your thoughts on cuffing in the comments below, and don’t forget to SHARE this fascinating guide with friends and family.