You may have heard the term "cuffing season" or you may not have but, either way, it's the very real phenomenon of singletons becoming dramatically more ready to couple up as the first leaves start hitting the ground in Autumn. There have been numerous things blamed for this shift in people's mindsets from some doctors stating it's the lack of sunshine and cold weather making people crave the happy-hormones that a relationship can bring or whether it's the additional pressure from society and the media around the holidays making us want more to be part of a pair.
It's easy to see how the cold weather and long nights can make for a relationship craving when you think about those hours spent inside under the duvet with Netflix as opposed to sat in a beer garden, the desire to have a warm hand to hold when you pop to the shops or another body to warm the bed. We also spend less hours on average socialising in winter months so it could quite literally just be that you want the guarantee of company when otherwise things may be lonely. But beyond the more practical use of a partner as a walking, talking, hot water bottle who can sit through hours of binge-worthy series with you, is there a deeper reason colder months make us broody for a little love?
Some argue that, in the same way that lack of sunlight can cause SAD (seasonal affective disorder), there could be a more biological reason we crave intimacy during these times. Sunlight directly impacts our appetite, sleep pattern, sex drive, mood, and activity levels and so when there is less of it around it can throw off the balance with some seeing more of a change than others. One way we may subconsciously aim to amend the feeling of imbalance is by doing things that improve our mood, for example, binge eating chocolate, investing in a million fairy lights or redecorating our space, spending more, consuming more media, and, for some, dating more seriously.
The other noted cause of a season made for couples is the concentration of Holidays. Whether you want to ace that couple's costume on Halloween, see fireworks together in November, spend Christmas curled up on the sofa exchanging gifts, share that New Years kiss, or have a Valentine- there are plenty of Holidays between September and March that seem like they could be more fun with a significant other. It also tends to be a time where families are in closer proximity and so many feel additional pressure from relatives who want to see them coupled.
Whether it's happy, smiling couples in Christmas adverts, gifts for him/her pages in magazines, about a million holiday romcoms on the TV, smug couples posting all over social media about their extravagant holiday plans, or even just the increase in PDA in the street, there's a definite glamorisation of relationships around the holidays which is near impossible to ignore. Obviously from a marketing standpoint it makes sense to aim for couples- who isn't desperate for an answer to their "what do I buy them" problem- but for those who are still single it can be like a bombardment of holiday romance that may comparatively make them feel more lonely or under more pressure.
So how do you know if you're falling victim to cuffing season? Honestly, there's really no easy answer. While the seasons may make us more open to a relationship for a variety of reasons it's not to say that that would be the only reason you're getting closer to that special someone. That being said, if your dates revolve around holiday activities rather than getting to know each other, you only want to see them when you're cold, you lowkey just don't want to be the only single one at the event, or you're moving way faster than you usually would- it might be worth dialling it back a notch.
And what does this mean come spring? Well, according to data from Facebook, people most often change their status to "in a relationship" between October and February while changing it back to "single" increases in March (right at the end of cuffing season) but this doesn't necessarily mean that any relationship that is established in October has a shorter shelf life. As long as you know you're in it for the right reasons and aren't just using the other person for the sake of that work party or to keep your feet warm you should be fine- just like all relationships regardless of when they start it's more about building that foundation than it is about external influences, especially the weather.