Cuffing Season 2020: Will You Be Skipping Or Loving It During The Pandemic?

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couple during cuffing season

There has long been a trend noticed in the colder months or during the holidays (in many parts of the world, these overlap). Those who may normally prefer the single unattached life suddenly seek a more serious level of dating or coupledom. We call it cuffing season.

But in 2020, cuffing season is likely to be little different. The novel coronavirus and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic has made it a lot harder to safely go out and meet someone, so we’ve seen a rise in "situationships" or turbo dating, with cuffing season making a comeback in other ways.

What is cuffing season?

Essentially, cuffing season is when you "cuff" a specific person in the hopes that they will spend most of their time with you. Whether or not this becomes a serious, long-term relationship is up to both partners.

“Cuffing season refers to a time period where people attempt to find partners (either long-term relationship partners or a more serious friends with benefits situation) to hang out with when the weather gets cold,” says Carmel Jones, a relationship coach and dating expert for The Big Fling.

The idea is that more time will be spent indoors. And what do people love to do indoors? They love to hook up, of course. Netflix and chill, anyone? It could simply be a nesting instinct, or the reality of it being the time of year where we spend more time indoors or at get-togethers with families where relationships are at the forefront.

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When is cuffing season?

Cuffing season typically begins in October as the weather turns cold and ends in February, just after Valentine's Day.

Adds Jones, “[Cuffing season happens in] the colder months, usually beginning in the fall and lasting until the spring” — because getting closer to someone is one of the best way to stay warm.

Even in places where it doesn't get particularly cold, cuffing season applies. The term itself is well-known, and people in warmer cities have caught on. So, yes, you can live in Florida or another tropical location and still participate in cuffing season.

Did the novel coronavirus create an 'artificial' cuffing season?

As we all know, this year's cuffing season is much different. As Jones points out, “Coronavirus made it extremely unsafe to have multiple casual partners.”

Those who were already hooking up, are almost an item, or are about to date just began the process of making their relationship more official. During a pandemic, says Jones, “It was a safety concern that forged relationships or 'cuffing' to happen at a much quicker rate for those who were already on the cusp of something.”

While some people may have taken that leap in their relationships, for others, coronavirus created an off-season cuffing season.

“During the lockdown, many people really confronted their own loneliness,” adds Sofia Sundari, an international transformation leader and best-selling author. “The desire to feel the warmth of togetherness is natural, yet some people may need a warning: Be gentle with your heart,” said Sundari.

This has led to people registering for dating apps, even if they had never considered it before.

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But others say the coronavirus actually didn't create an artificial cuffing season.

“The majority of people were and are too busy hunkering down at home and staying quarantined to allow for others to come into their home, their sterilized safe zone,” says Anwar White, owner of Get Your Guy Coaching.

This has allowed for more online dating and a greater openness to connect with others, even if they are long distance. That's because FaceTime or Zoom is the same experience wherever the person is.

So, instead of cuffing, what we're seeing is an intense desire for connection.

Adds White, “With the coronavirus as deadly as it has become, it has allowed people to ponder existentially about dying alone.”

Now, it’s not that no one is cuffing during this time, but it's a very small percentage of people who are currently cuffing. Most people are virtually dating, waiting for things to open up so they can have a "full roster" when "real life" begins again. This will allow people to lock down their cuffing partner and be pre-lockdown vetted before a potential second wave.

“This means that when things do open up... as kids go to school and more offices are open, the courtships will happen at an accelerated pace, which means that cuffing will probably start happening in September/early October this year, versus the normal November timing,” suggests White.

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Are people skipping cuffing season this year?

Here's the funny thing: the reverse is actually true as well. That's because the beginning of cuffing season means finding someone to cuff.

“It's not always the first person you meet on a dating app or an event,” advises Jones.

With events canceled altogether, people are fearing casual hook-ups and dating, and fewer people are meeting up in-person with their online matches. So, for a majority of individuals, cuffing season might be skipped. If you didn't already have a potential relationship or even hook-up started before the pandemic, there's a large chance you may not find someone to cuff, or be cuffed by.

Are there other ways to make connections while dating or finding a potential partner?

While it can seem difficult to connect on a deeper level with potential mates, especially if you can't yet meet face-to-face, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially during a particularly offbeat cuffing season.

1. Find someone who wants the same thing you do.

​Before opening yourself up to someone, make sure you're on the same page.

Says Sundari, “It may be that for your partner it's just a cuffing season, yet if you open your heart and really go deep into the feeling, you may get really burnt in the end.”

2. Be honest about what you want.

Before going deep with someone, be honest about your intentions and desires. “What do you truly want? Just someone to pass the cold months with, or are you yearning for a life partner?” Sundari adds.

3. Be true to yourself.

Stay in integrity with yourself and life will provide accordingly.

“If you desire one thing, but then with your actions showing another, you're sending mixed messages to the Universe. When your actions, thoughts, and desires are in alignment, you're much more likely to attract what you truly want,” she suggests.

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyle writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.