Singles look forward to getting ‘cuffed’ this season

By Gabriella Scibetta

The temperature on the thermometer is falling, and singles hope to do the same this time of year—fall in love.

Aside from spending the holidays with family and friends, many people prepare for winter by searching for someone to spend it with.

This seasonal trend among young singles is known as “cuffing season.”


During the fall and winter months, people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves desiring to be “cuffed” or tied down by a relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed, according to The season lasts from September to March.

Annette Vaillancourt, a psychotherapist and counselor who has been in private practice for 24 years as a marriage and relationship therapist, said people who participate in the season should consider why they want a relationship.

“With all these sites like Tinder and, it will truly be wise to know what you want out of the experience,” Vaillancourt said. “If you are new to the dating world, it would be nice to have hundreds of emails from people wanting to know something about you.”

During these months, cases of seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD, increase. SAD is a form of depression and occurs when seasons change, Vaillancourt said.

The symptoms for SAD are similar to depression and there are no tests that prove someone is dealing with it, according to WebMD. Vaillancourt said chemical changes in the brain can cause SAD.

“When the days get shorter, especially since we just had the time change, and the sun sets earlier, it affects our brain,” Vaillancourt said. “There is a part of us that just wants to hibernate in the winter. So people will get depressed in the winter, and that can affect their interpersonal relationships.”

Isaiah Cotton, a freshman from Naperville studying cinema and cinematography, said he is seeing relationships start to heat up in college.


“I don’t see people getting into relationships with others, but I’m starting to see people open up to others and begin the process of starting a relationship,” Cotton said.

Megan Monaco, a freshman from Erlanger, Ky., studying economics, said she is against the idea of cuffing season.

“People look for a winter relationship just to have somebody to buy them things during the holidays and to have someone to cuddle with when it’s too cold,” Monaco said. “I would personally rather invest in Netflix and a thermal blanket because there is less work and feelings aren’t involved.”

Vallancourt said when days start to get longer, people start to feel better. However, it’s not uncommon for people to hit a slump from November to about April, she said.

She said although studies show suicide rates peak during the holiday season, there are two peaks during the year.

“One [peak] is during the holiday season, and the other is in the spring when everything is new, bright and shiny and everyone is happy and the depressed person feels so different than that, and they feel hopeless,” Vaillancourt said. “During the holidays when you are supposed to be feeling happy, and if you are depressed and you’re not feeling happy, I think there is the highest rate of suicide.”

She said she urges people to be good to themselves and said people in relationships often do not realize how important their own happiness is.

“People have to optimize this time of year,” Vaillancourt said. “Young people don’t understand that you are not in the relationship for the other person to make you happy. Your job is to make yourself happy, and share that with someone.”

She said concentration on one’s own happiness is an important life skill because relying on others for happiness makes one susceptible to getting into abusive relationships.

“If you get into the relationship and you aren’t in charge of your own happiness, you are not doing things to build your self-esteem and be able to leave,” Vaillancourt said.

Many people believe their happiness is reliant on others, which leads to the belief in cuffing season, but they can create their own happiness, she said.

Cotton said SAD can affect students’ lives in other ways aside from relationships, but if students do pursue relationships, they must make sure they are ready.

“Relationships are pretty great for people who are comfortable enough with themselves and can identify their own faults and adjust their own faults and adjust to them for someone that brings joy into their life,” Cotton said.

Demetrious Charles, a freshman from Chicago studying biochemistry, said the season could be beneficial for some people but detrimental for others.

Charles said he would not take part in cuffing season because he does not want to play with someone else’s feelings.

“For those who can get cuffed every season, it’s good because they’re able to settle down and have an intimate relationship for a little while,” he said. “But it wouldn’t be good for those people who don’t usually settle down often, because they would most likely want to stay in a relationship and their feelings would get hurt.”

Ken Culton, a clinical social worker and the social work coordinator at the SIU clinical center, said this is a common behavior.

“Any kind of novelty is a way to keep out a negative emotional state,” Culton said. “As students and their families gather together for the holidays, I think a lot of people put a lot of pressure on themselves as they approach the holidays relationally.”

He said he sees the phenomena happen in both positive and negative ways during the holidays depending on the parties involved. He advises people to choose their moments of happiness.

Gabriella Scibetta can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @Gscibetta_DE.