Is It Love Or Is It Just Cuffing Season? Here’s How To Figure Out What Situation You’re In

It’s cuffing season, when all the single people get a little more lonely, drinking wine in their warm houses with no one to cuddle by the fire, so they venture out looking for someone to spend the winter with before dumping in time for spring. If you’ve recently gotten into a relationship, you might want to double-check whether or not it’s really love or just a fling. Here’s how to tell it’s for keeps.

  1. You started dating when it was still warm outside. Cuffing season starts in the fall, so just because you’re attached to someone during the fall/winter season doesn’t mean it’s a cuffing season fling. It supposedly begins in mid-late fall, but basically, if it’s still warm out, it’s not cuffing season yet. If you started dating in the summer, you’re in the relationship because you truly want to be, not because you’re using it as a way to survive the winter.
  2. The person you’re dating has been in multiple long-term relationships. Cuffing season was famously invented by single people who put aside their usual bachelor/bachelorette ways for a few months every year and pretend to be in a real relationship with someone, only to cut them loose come the spring. Though there are some exceptions to this happening (i.e. in rom-coms), if the guy you’re dating started to become interested in you in mid-late fall and has an unimpressive relationship history, he might be just trying to get his cuff on.
  3. You were friends for a while before dating. This relationship you’re in hasn’t been spawned from some chance meeting or an online date that was surprisingly not super bad—it grew organically into something beautiful and will continue to grow despite the plummeting temperatures. You’ve known each other for a long time and your relationship is based on a solid foundation of friendship, not just Starbucks dates, cuddling, and movie nights.
  4. He wants to go on actual dates with you. If this guy you’re with is TRULY in this for the long-run, he’ll want to do more with you than just chill at home, basking in the warmth of his radiator. Frosty winter mornings aren’t just about keeping warm in bed and cold winter nights aren’t just about going to each other’s houses to have sex. He braves the ice and snow and takes you out because he wants to impress you for real.
  5. It’s moving slowly. Let’s say you did, in fact, start your relationship around the mid-fall mark—don’t freak out and assume it’s just a cuffing season fling. Observe how fast the relationship is ACTUALLY going. Are the two of you already acting like girlfriend and boyfriend after just a few weeks? If you are, that’s straight up cuffing behavior. If the relationship is moving at a normal or even slow pace, you can be sure that what you have going is real.
  6. You’re not spending every waking moment together. The kind of people who participate in cuffing season are perpetually single people who are lonely and desperate, so when they DO finally manage to reel in a hot one (AKA you), they’ll want to spend every waking moment with them because they know in the back of their heads that it’s gonna be over once the very last icicle melts.
  7. Your lives don’t revolve around holiday plans. One big reason people get all cuckoo over love in the fall and winter months is because of the holidays. What makes Christmas even better than it already is? Having someone special to share it with. If you find yourself getting into a relationship in the fall and your guy is already starting to talk about Christmas and New Year’s plans, he might just be using you for some extra good tidings and cheer.
  8. Your relationship just kinda fell together. You’ll know your relationship is based on REAL love if it felt like it came together organically. At no time did either of you feel like you were forcing it or felt forced into being together. You’re together because you want to be and it just makes sense.
  9. He’s not really a cuddler. Cuddlers are notorious for losing their minds at the start of cuffing season. All the touchy-feely people out there need someone to touch and feel during the cold months otherwise they’ll go nuts. If the guy you’re dating is not that kinda person, he’s probably getting into this fall relationship for the right reasons and not to acquire a glorified self-heating body pillow that can also talk.
  10. He brings up things the two of you could do in the spring. The final and probably most important thing to keep in mind during cuffing season is whether or not your person brings up future plans. Do the two of you share excitement over what life will be like when the snow finally melts? Do you talk about picnics, beach days, patio beers? If he’s not bringing ANY of this crap up, he’s a stone-cold cuffer. Don’t say I didn’t want you!
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.