How to Thrive & Survive During Cuffing Season This Year

According to dating experts.
Couple cuddlig on bed together
Photo: AleksandarNakic / Getty Images
Hayley Folk
Hayley Folk
Hayley Folk
Hayley Folk
The Knot Contributor
  • Hayley writes articles on a freelance basis for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in sex and relationships.
  • Her work has appeared in The Knot, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and more.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hayley was a full-time editor at a business publication.
Updated Jan 23, 2024

As the temps drop below 30 degrees, slush fills the streets and you're well into your winter wardrobe rotation, you might be wishing you had a lover to snuggle up by the fire with. That itch is right on time when cuffing season rolls around.

"In the dating world, cuffing season is that magical time when even the most free-spirited folks contemplate settling down for a bit," Jacqui Rubinoff, a certified love coach and Vice President of Eye of Love, explains to The Knot. "Some question its legitimacy, but many notice the trend."

But when is cuffing season exactly? (BRB, marking our calendars now.) And do cuffing season relationships ever last? We turned to the dating experts to bring you the ~piping hot tea~ on all things cuffing season, below.

In this article:

What Is Cuffing Season?

"Cuffing season is when people start looking for a steady partner to weather the colder months with," Rubinoff explains.

With the perks of a relationship more obvious during this time of year (think: snuggle time at home, making a hot soup for dinner together, enjoying game nights with friends and having someone to fall asleep next), daters often seek out more stable and reliable partnerships. And thus, the annual cuffing season phenomenon was born.

In short, cuffing season is a time when situationships can become exclusive relationships, according to relationship expert Sujeiry Gonzalez, because people want to settle in with a partner and endure the cold together.

Why Is It Called Cuffing Season?

The specific term 'cuffing season' originated grew in popular on Twitter back in 2023. It describes the annual time when many singles settle down, in lieu of braving the cold weather for a string of first dates—"cuffing" one another, so to speak, if we were to get figurative (and monogamous) about it.

Since its debut in the social media and dating app lexicon, the term has remained alive and well every year as the sun sets earlier and the winter storms come in.

When Is Cuffing Season?

Like clockwork, cuffing season is usually ushered in at the end of October and typically lasts through early March.

"People tend to hibernate during cooler months," Gonzalez explains. "And what better way to spend a wintery night than with a significant other?"

How to Surivive Cuffing Season

If you're single or dating and looking to survive cuffing season sans drama, communication with your partner(s) is the key ingredient here. There are no "offical" cuffing season rules, except that everyone should be treated with mutual respect.

1. Don't Feel Pressure to Jump Into Anything

As Gonzalez explains, we typically spend more time alone with our partner in the winter. So only choose to commit to something more serious if you truly enjoy being around that person. If you find you don't feel that way about any of your potential partners, you're likely better off continuing to date around. (You'll be avoiding potential stress and hurt feelings later on.)

Alternatively, if someone you're dating wants to spend cuffing season with you, have a conversation about whether they see the relationship in the short or long-term (i.e. post-cuffing season). Don't be afraid to break things off if your visions don't align.

2. Only Commit to Someone You're Proud to Be With

If you're dating someone, you should be proud to show them off! "Let's not forget that cuffing season falls during the winter holiday season and Valentine's Day," Gonzalez reminds. "So it's essential to select a partner that fits in with our family and friends."

3. Be Honest with Your Partner (& Ask the Same of Them)

The perfect way to kick-off cuffing season is with an honest discussion. If you're looking for a wintertime snuggle buddy and not a longterm partnership, be upfront. It's important to be able to be clear and let your partner know that this exclusive relationship is temporary.

And if you're looking for something more, be sure to share that, too. Your partner can decide whether the relationship is right for them or not.

Do Cuffing Season Relationships Last?

Do cuffing season relationships last? Well, the answer depends—but yes, they absolutely can. According to Rubinoff, cuffing season relationships can transition into something more when both of you are ready for a bit more depth in your connection and want a reliable partner for longer than a few months. Again, just ensure you're on the same page before embracing the winter couple vibes.

Happy cuffing season to all.

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