In the fall, you may notice a strange phenomenon. As the temperature starts dropping more people are coupling up, staying in, and spending time together. Well, this trend has a name: Cuffing Season.

The history of Cuffing Season

The term first appeared in Urban Dictionary more than 10 years ago. Here is the top definition:

“During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be ‘Cuffed’ or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

It’s not officially in a legit dictionary, but Merriam-Webster has it on a list of “words we’re watching.” Some experts have also voiced doubt on whether or not there’s science behind cuffing season, but people seem to agree. When it gets colder outside, it’s nice to have someone to cuddle with inside.

Let’s look at the facts

As serotonin levels drop with temperature, that triggers the desire to have someone close. Plus, as those temperatures drop, we’re less likely to go out and meet new people. That’s why the warmer autumn months are the best time to find a partner. In fact, Facebook has studies that find more relationships start in the fall and end by May.

Studies also show the reasons why Cuffing Season is so popular. For example, a this study shows being socially excluded causes us to feel cold which then causes us to want warm food and drinks. A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that being cold leads to an increased liking for romance movies. Ergo, when you’re cold and watching sappy movies, it can be nice to have someone there to warm you up and give you company.


Most people agree that October to February is primary cuffing season. In fact, there are social media posts that break down exactly what happens in each month. Most people interested in having a partner want that person for holiday get-togethers so they can avoid the dreaded “what’s going on in your love life” question from family members. Also, if you’re not going out as much due to snow or cold weather, those typically cold months are perfect for a relationship.

Cuffing Season relationship identifiers

If you’re worried that you’re in a Cuffing Season relationship or are being scouted to be in one, watch out for the following six identifiers.

Urgency to meet

If you’re on a dating app and the person you’re talking to wants to meet right away and continues to pressure you to meet up several times a week, they may be looking to rush into a relationship.

Make holiday plans on first few dates

If they’re already asking you to go to the annual family Holiday party within the first few dates, they may have ulterior motives. Who likes going to parties alone anyway? They may just be trying to satiate the curiosity of nosey aunts and uncles. 

Make plans regularly but not in the spring

If you’re making plans to get together every week, but they’re dodgy about planning for the future, you may want to reconsider where the relationship is going. They may already be getting ready to uncuff once spring comes around.

Want to stay in and nothing else

Grabbing a blanket, snacking, and watching movies is a great time, just not all the time. If you find that week in and week out you’re just staying in, then your partner may just be in it for the wintertime cuddles. There’s also a possibility that they’re an introvert and just like staying in.

Their friends are all in a relationship

It can be difficult to be the odd one out. I mean, who hasn’t been a third wheel? If you notice that everyone in your partner’s friend group is in a relationship, then this could be a warning sign that they’re rushing into a relationship to be like everyone else.

Friend confesses undying love

If a close friend suddenly discovers they can’t live without you… and not in a platonic way… this may be a sign that it’s not true love. They may, in fact, be feeling the pressure from all the other couples around them.

Cuffing Season isn’t all bad. If you’re looking for a short-term partner who would be great for a winter of staying in, watching movies, and cuddling, make sure that’s what your partner also wants. You can have a great time in a relationship, even if it’s not meant to last!