It’s that time of year again: warm drinks, fires crackling, leaves falling and holidays dinners. It is the season of coming together. Whether to keep warm, as our ancestors did, or to catch up with friends and family we haven’t seen all year, the colder months bring with them a need to belong.
Single During the Holidays? Cuffing Season Do's and Don'ts
Part of this belonging is the sudden urge to couple up. We may think about dating or hope to find a meaningful relationship all year long but something about the temperatures dropping and party invitations that denote the option of a plus one can make this desire seem far more pressing.
Popular culture has come up with a term for this itch: Cuffing Season.
According to Urban Dictionary, Cuffing Season starts after Halloween and ends after Valentines Day. It is a time when the happy singleton is forced to rethink their chosen solitude, when casual relationships become more serious, and when serious relationships become engagements. Because the colder months have holidays and holiday gatherings there is an extra pressure to find someone to bring to these events. This is also a season of reflection - we discuss our goals for the new year, reflect on what we have, and remind ourselves of who and what truly matters in our lives.
Reacting to all of this can also cause some rather negative responses. It can cause us to feel bad about ourselves if our lives and relationships aren’t where we thought they would or should be. The good news is that having a happy Cuffing Season requires an element of mindful intention and understanding of how to navigate these expectations. Here are the top do's and don’t of cuffing it up.
Do Decide on What It Is You Truly Want
Are you looking for a short-term snuggle buddy, a bit of casual sex or a life partner? Being upfront with this can mean the difference between a hurtful miscommunication and a match made in holiday heaven. Examine what your short and long-term romantic goals are and be honest with yourself and your dates about this.
Do Enjoy the Process
Don’t let frost and snow keep you locked away from the world. Dating in the winter can be so much fun! Walking through a Christmas tree farm, shopping for winter coats, driving through town with cocoa in hand while looking at lights are all fun, inexpensive, and engaging seasonal date ideas.
Do Know That You Can Have a Merry Season Without a Love Interest
The desire to have a date or to do holiday things with someone doesn’t mean it has to be a romantic someone. How about making new friends or growing closer to the ones you have? Platonic cuffing can be just as fulfilling!
Don't Cave to Pressure
Yes, I know, your great aunt Sally is always all over you about who you’re seeing and why “a nice person like you is STILL single.” I know that these comments can be annoying and even painful to face but jumping into something that doesn’t make you happy isn’t the answer.
Don't Let the Holidays Confuse Your True Feelings
Seasonal changes can really impact our moods and perceptions on life. Watching holiday family movies and romantic comedies can make us feel like our chance for happiness is dependent on finding love. Seeing siblings and cousins our age who are cuffed can make us think we are the only ones facing cold and dark days alone. Remember that soon the seasons will change, and summer may have you happy to be single again.
Don't Forget No.1
There is one person on earth you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. Yep, I am 100% sure you will die with the person. Who? YOURSELF! You are the No.1 relationship in your life - always. Don’t neglect self-care and self-love for the sake of being cuffed. Falling in love with yourself above anyone else this holiday season may be the best investment you have made all year.
Dr. Laura McGuire (they/them or she/her) is an internationally recognized consultant, survivor, researcher, seminarian, and author of the book Creating Cultures of Consent (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021).
Dr. McGuire is a certified full-spectrum doula, professional teacher, a certified sexual health educator, and a vinyasa yoga instructor. Their experience includes both public and private sectors, middle schools, high schools, and university settings.
They currently are earning their Masters of Divinity at Earlham Seminary where they are studying the intersections of Judaism, trauma-informed care, and restorative-justice in faith settings. Dr. McGuire lives in the United States, where they work as an adjunct professor at Widener University and consultant at The National Center for Equity and Agency.