In 2011, The Urban Dictionary defined The Cuffing Season: "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".
Cuffing Season is not some Christian "50 Shades Of" Grey fantasy. Nor is it a Millenial fabrication. It is very real and so is the pressure. There are biological and psychological reasons why singles want to become couples and it's not just because they want to split the gas bill. "We are...primed to seek mates in the winter," psychiatrist Scott Carroll told Medical Daily. "We also associate the winter holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) with family and partners, so we feel particularly lonely then, on top of our evolutionary drive to seek connection in the winter."
Being mindful of this very real phenomenon will help you understand your potential tendencies to be attracted to people you normally would not be because that desire stems from deep inside our monkey brain. It also affects both men and women. During the summer months, people are out on the town constantly. Men and women have many chances to interact so you'd think winter would be a nice reprieve from all of that socializing and tend to the self. Quite the opposite happens, however.
Recognizing Cuffing Season will also help you recognize the onslaught of strange proposals you'll be getting, namely your exes. They remain dormant for months but, as the hot cocoa and soups come out, so do the ones we have dropped. The emergence of exes become prevalent because they possess familiarity. This familiarity is formed during courtship. The idea of starting all over to the beginning of courtship seems like a gross waste of time if you're looking just for a quick snuggle. Moreover, the need to not be alone is stronger than the memory of how he consistently riddles his side table with a myriad of unnecessary glasses that you have to clean up because he won't.
Cuffing Season really hinders your game. Considering someone as a potential mate means you have to assume their intentions are good. But not now. Everyone is on high alert wondering who is using who; if your ex's desperate pleas to reconcile are real; or if that guy who took your number will really call. To help navigate through these murky, sweaty waters, try to use direct and honest language so both consensual parties have clear expectations.
The holiday season also compounds the onslaught of these bizarre emotions. The winter holidays are all family-based whether good or bad. You may be surrounded by 40 cousins you have awkward conversations with because you only see them once a year or it can just be your immediate family who pepper you with questions about your romantic status. Either way, the holidays subconsciously trigger an emotional desire for us to want a kiss under the mistletoe, to mull over what appetizer would be appropriate for crazy Aunt Edna's Thanksgiving dinner, or to lie to your parents and say you have to go to "his" family's party but you just go home and watch Netflix instead.
So be careful out there, singletons. Be careful of making embarrassing decisions but also be careful falling into emotional traps. Being single is great. You have to be comfortable with yourself. It may suck to face the aunts who scrutinize you under the guise of "when will she get married?" or to guzzle champagne instead of kissing someone at midnight during New Years Eve. But that is way better than settling just because you have an inherent need do the funky chicken with someone.
This need will pass after about 3 ½ months. This is just enough time to hole yourself indoors, focus on that scrapbook from college you never started, and wait for spring.