It’s that time of year, folks — prime cuffing season. It's like a summer fling, but in the winter: the time of year when usually flirtatious individuals find themselves desiring a real relationship. The cold weather from November through March and increased indoor activity can cause singles to feel lonely. Before fall officially ends, some people might want to find someone to spend the cold winter months with. Cuffing season participants look for a short-term relationship for the winter with plans of cutting ties when the weather warms up.

Students’ Definition

With college students being the largest participants of cuffing season, their general understanding of cuffing is vast.

“[Cuffing season] means you only date for the winter season because you only want to be with them physically,” said Anna Leung, a first year New Media Design major.

The winter months in Rochester bring with them freezing temperatures and fierce winds, forcing people indoors.

"Having someone there to cuddle with and watch Netflix is nice, but once the warm weather hits, some people want to be single again," Leung said.

But wait, what about dating apps? Why would someone need a relationship when they can hop on their phone and find someone to come and cuddle with them? 

"You have to let the potential cuddler know where you live. And do you truly want to be sharing your address over an app?" Cisco Morrison, a third year Chemical Engineering major, asked.

Maria Cordero, a third year Human-Centered Computing major, agreed. "[Cuffing season] provides a secure and reliable cuddle partner." 

 "[Cuffing season] provides a secure and reliable cuddle partner." 

You can be more confident that your cuffing season partner won’t steal something from you or share your address with others, as opposed to a stranger.

Finding Pleasure in the Pros

Being with someone for the cold months has some obvious benefits.

“I love cuddling! Having someone to cuddle with when it's cold is so nice, especially during exam week," Cordero said.

Wrapping up under a blanket and watching a holiday movie with someone special is a sweet moment. Spending time with someone is also a way to relieve stress and help fight the sad or lonely feelings that come with winter. The presence of someone special during the holiday season is a gift in more ways than one. 

“Having someone special get you a present for the holidays is a great way to remember the relationship,” Cordero said.

Whether the gift is an article of clothing or something sentimental, the memories of the relationship can be tied to it. There is also the chance that a cold weather romance won’t fizzle out when the spring rolls around. Cuffing season success stories are more common than one might think. Whether it be connecting with an old crush or finally making a move on that one person in your 8 a.m. class who you've had a secret crush on since the semester began, cuffing season stories start in a variety of ways. They can also end in long-term relationships that last through the next coming years or could possibly lead to marriage.

However, Morrison isn't too keen on the idea. 

“What are the pros of cuffing season? None, no pros,” he said.

“What are the pros of cuffing season? None, no pros.”

Consider Skipping Cuffing

As fun and innocent as cuffing may be, some students feel that the negatives of cuffing season outweigh the positives.

“I’m on Tinder 24/7,” Morrison said. "Swiping left and right trying to find the right person not only takes up precious battery power, but also creates anxiety. Knowing what to say and when to say it to someone can take a lot of practice and social skills that some individuals might not possess." 

Viewing profile after profile can get tiring at times, and sometimes have an adverse effect. 

“I am also reminded of how lonely I am, how utterly lonely I am in fact,” Morrison added. "The number of couples everywhere is astounding,"

This is easily visible on campus.

“Walking the Quarter Mile, I pass couple after couple, flaunting their happiness,” Morrison said.

Cuffing season is also incredibly emotionally risky.

“People just use you for that time of year,” Cordero said.

Cuffing season is centered around the temporary relationship lasting until the warm weather sets in for good. If both participants are not actively participating in cuffing season — or are aware of cuffing season — someone could get hurt.

“One person could get attached while the other doesn’t and knows that they are going to end the relationship,” Leung said.

A breakup would be damaging if someone in the relationship felt a true connection to their cuffing partner. Before heading into a cuffing season relationship, be aware that starting one can be just as harmful as ending one.

“Someone might lower their standards or choose to be in a relationship that is unhealthy for them,” Leung said.

The cuffing relationship is only as good as the connection that the two participants feel. If that relationship is unhealthy for one party, then it will cause damage.

Cordero built on this point: “You get to be with someone which is fun, but at the same time they might leave.”

The Choice

It ultimately falls to the individual on whether or not they want to partake in cuffing season. It is typical for people to get together towards the beginning of winter due to increased time spent inside, but that is only one factor. 

“Cuffing season, I feel, is just a name given to that time of year where college students come back to school and are trying to find someone to be with,” Morrison said.

To cuff or not to cuff — finding someone to cuddle with for the winter has both its benefits and shortcomings. Depending on which way the wind blows, you may find yourself either downing ice cream alone or throwing away the key and staying with that special someone when the warm weather finally returns.