"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.
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.