A$AP Rocky accurately described most of our summer moods when he said, “truthfully between you and me I’m usually single when it’s hot outside” but with cuffing season just around the corner, those random DMs are about to start flooding in and someone might just become your lover for real.
Cuffing season—better known as the time of year where those who prefer to be single choose to be in serious relationships, or “cuffed” to a significant other—starts in fall and lasts through the holiday season. It’s when you and your chosen temporary bae abandon your YOLO ways in favour of “touch my butt and buy me pizza” memes. This temporary bae is the person you unapologetically arrange Netflix and Chill dates with, but by next summer, you might disappear from their life.
Some say this is a dangerous game to play, since people can actually catch deep feelings and don’t realize that their relationship is only a seasonal friends with benefits arrangement, but Manfred van Dulmen, a professor who researches adolescent and young adult romantic relationships at Kent University, says there might be an upside to the seemingly savage temporary relationship set up.
We chatted with him about casual relationships and ‘cuffing season’, and he (of course) had some pretty insightful views.
“Anybody who experiences dating relationships has benefits,” he said. “When people are aware, and two people have a common understanding of what their relationship is, whether short-term or long-term, there are some positives.”
For starters, van Dulmen’s research proves that people are significantly happier in casual relationships than hook ups, mostly because both parties have similar expectations from the jump. We’re not saying to put an expiration date on the relationship, but looking for someone who is equally disinterested in a long-term relationship will be more successful than trying to lock down someone who’s leaning towards the long haul.
With that in mind, cuffing season can also play an important role in developing skills for dating long-term. Van Dulmen says that along with improving your conflict-negotiation skills, which might help you avoid the legendary “what do you want to eat?” arguments, short-term relationships teach you how to get along with somebody else.
“You can explore intimacy, similar to an ongoing romantic relationship and experiencing closeness,” he said. Think of it as building up on your resume to eventually hand over to that MCM/WCW you’ve been patiently waiting for.
Also, cuffing season is integral to our social survival during those cold, brisk winters. You’ll always have someone who’s down to stay in and have a cuddle date with you, which cuts down on your spending and allows you to experience being close to someone without serious commitment.
And when you don’t want to stay in, you’ll have your partner in crime for Halloween parties, pub nights (where you’ll no longer have to scan the room for someone to take home) and coupley events like the Christmas Market. So start look at cuffing season as a relationship boot camp and invest your time in potential candidates, because the season is just a few weeks away.