Coping With Cuffing Season

Coping With Cuffing Season

By , 17, Staff Writer

February 9, 2024

With Valentine’s Day approaching fast and the winter dragging on, we’re smack in the middle of “cuffing season.” You might be wondering, what is cuffing season? Why does it seem like everyone is coupling up? How am I supposed to be single during all of this?

By reading on, I hope you get some answers to these questions!

Cuffing Season Explained

Cuffing season is a slang term that surfaced online several years ago and quickly caught on. As you may have guessed, it comes from the idea of being “handcuffed” to someone, in this case a romantic partner. The idea is that during times like the colder winter months, the holiday season and Valentine’s Day, people are more likely to want to couple up.

Unfortunately, this can create pressure to get together according to a deadline rather than letting it happen naturally, sometimes leading to couples that aren’t a good fit. “I’ve experienced the pressure of getting with someone just because it feels like everyone around you is in love and you’re not,” says Megan (they/them), 15, of Kinnelon, NJ. “It’s a very lonely experience because you’re not with a person because you love them, you just feel like you’ll be happier in a relationship like everyone else.”

The concept of cuffing season can add confusion when the idea of dating may already feel stressful. “It’s hard enough being an average teen without feeling the pressure to get into a relationship, which, if you’re being completely honest, you might not be ready for,” adds Megan.

The Sting of the Season

When you’re single, it can feel like there’s an expectation to find someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. “Sometimes if I get my expectations up that someone will give me something, I get kinda sad when no one does,” says Lyla (she/her), 15, of Warren, NJ, about Valentine’s Day. “Other people around me during cuffing season don’t really get to me, but my own thoughts and expectations throughout the year do.”

Some teens may not feel ready for dating, may not be into dating or may not have had the right opportunity. Any of these are totally OK. But seeing others get together can cause pressure. “It’s a little tough to see all your friends getting into relationships while you’re single and have never been in one,” says Jay (he/him), 17, of Columbus, IN. “You feel like a third wheel a lot. There have been times when I wish I could find someone, but I don’t want to rush into something I’m not ready for with the wrong person just because everyone else is in a relationship.”

If you decide to get together with someone you don’t really want to be with, you might be in for disappointment and hurt feelings later. “I’d rather find a good partner than finding a partner just for the sake of it,” says Jenny (she/her), 17, of Bethesda, MD. Rather than looking for a fling to avoid being single for the season, it may be better to look at the holiday season and Valentine’s Day in particular in a different light.

Palentine’s, Galentine’s and Valentine’s

Valentine’s Day doesn’t just have to be about romantic relationships. It can be a day of celebration and showing appreciation to anyone in your life that you care about, be it a friend, colleague or family member.

One major example is “Galentine’s Day,” which, via TV show Parks and Recreation, became a well-known tradition of women getting together. For instance, Jenny says her Valentine’s Day traditions involve “celebrating with friends and doing a Galentine’s. I’m not currently single but we still do this every year.”

So this year, don’t let “cuffing season” get you down. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about falling in love, or chasing the perfect night. It can be about showing a little extra love and appreciation to the important people in your life.

I’ll close with some wise words from Jay, first quoted above. “I’m not really bothered by being single on Valentine’s Day,” he says. “I know that one day I’ll find someone and even if I don’t, I always have my friends.”

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