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Cuffing Season

Updated: NOVEMBER 26, 2021
Reviewed by Kinkly Staff
on November 26, 2021

"Cuffing season" is a colloquial term for the holiday period when people feel especially motivated to form relationships. Cuffing season typically starts in late October or early November, around Halloween and runs until mid-February to March, after Valentine’s Day.

The term cuffing comes from the short form of handcuffs, a device that can be used to lock someone down or attach one person to another. So, cuffing season is a time when people attach themselves to someone else.

This may involve hooking up, getting into a committed relationship, or gettiing engaged or married. It’s unclear who coined the term cuffing season, but it entered youth culture through college newspapers in the early 2010s. By the late 2010s, writers in mainstream lifestyle publications were penning articles about cuffing season.

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While some people may look for a partner all year round, they often feel a stronger desire to couple up during cuffing season. Others who rarely think about finding a partner may also feel these pull during cuffing season.

Cuffing season doesn’t just impact singles though. Many people in relationships feel the need to take them to the next level during this season. Casual relationships often deepen and progress during cuffing season. It’s not uncommon for couples to get engaged or casual relationships to become exclusive during this season.

There are many theories why cuffing season encourages relationships. Cuffing season coincides with several holidays and parties. As people receive invitations to social gatherings and family get-togethers, they often long for someone to accompany them. They may even feel pressure from family members and friends to bring a “plus one.”

Holiday romantic comedies and advertising campaigns reinforce the idea that people are happiest when they're coupled up. The new year, which is traditionally a time for reflection, also falls in the middle of cuffing season. During their reflection, many people decide that being part of a committed couple would make them happy. The cold winter weather in the Northern Hemisphere may also play a part as people look for someone to get close and warm up with.

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More About Cuffing Season

Cuffing season and the resultant relationship can bring positive changes to many people’s lives. Being in a healthy relationship or becoming more committed can improve mental health and wellbeing. The energy from a new relationship or deepening a commitment can also give your sex life a real boost. Dating and pursuing new attractions can also be great fun, even if it doesn’t lead anywhere.

But cuffing season can have a down side. People who feel pressure to couple up or take their relationship to the next level during this period may feel stressed, anxious, or depressed. They may feel they’re not lovable or good enough for the relationship they want. These emotions and thoughts can take a toll on the person experiencing them and their relationships with other people, including family members, friends, and intimate partners.

It's important to manage your expectations during cuffing season. While it’s good to be optimistic, you may not meet the love of your life or take your relationship to the next level during this time. Accepting that can help you take the pressure off and have fun dating or simply appreciate the moments you have with your partner at this time of year. Remembering you are valuable may take the sting out of any cuffing season rejections. Your desire to start or develop a relationship also shouldn’t derail your other plans.

Relationships take time and focus which could impact your other plans such as furthering your career, taking care of your mental health, or managing your finances better. Consider what you really want to achieve in the short-term and if sitting out cutting season would benefit you.

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It’s also important to understand that others are not immune to the effects of cuffing season. Being honest about your intentions can help you form the right connection with someone new. For example, you might want a holiday romance, casual sex, or a committed long-term relationship. Making your plans clear avoids miscommunication and hurt feelings.

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