As winter begins to really settle in, if you haven’t already found a partner to snuggle in with for these chilly months, odds are, you’re on the prowl for one. After all, it’s cuffing season, and that means people all across the continent are looking for a seasonal situationship.
But what does this mean? Is a relationship you’ll likely shed come Valentine’s day worth it? If you’re in the business of flings, of having somebody nearby for when the harsh winter days seem a little more appealing when spent by another’s side, then cuffing season is likely something you look forward to. If you’re not, you may fall victim to what has come to be known as Winter Coating.
Winter coating is a seasonal situationship, which is different than cuffing season in a way.
What is cuffing season, you may ask? Well, cuffing season is a term that refers to the period of time during the fall and winter months when people are more likely to seek out and want to be in monogamous relationships. The term is often used in reference to dating and relationships, and it suggests that people are more likely to want to “cuff” or settle down with a partner during the colder, darker months of the year.
What is Winter Coating?
When fall comes around and winter draws near, the weather cools. As the days grow shorter and ever colder, you bring out your winter coat to bundle up in for the season. It’s nice to keep warm and cozy, and it makes you feel a little more at home. When the weather warms and spring dawns, you hang that coat up in the back of your closet, alone and forgotten, while you enjoy all that the rising temperatures bring.
This is the principle that Winter Coating is founded on. The comfort of an old flame or even a not-so-bitter ex can seem rather appealing when you have no one by your side to brave the cold, dark weather. Rekindling that spark in the hopes of benefiting from them– or more dangerously, them benefiting from you– is the metaphorical act of dawning that winter coat. It’s warm and cozy because you already know them, have spent a portion of your life with them, and you don’t have to put in the time, energy, and effort to get to know some new fling. This is why it can be so easy to fall into the pattern of Winter Coating, despite knowing that you’ll shed them, or they’ll shed you, come spring.
Why is Winter Coating Bad?
Inherently, Winter Coating doesn’t have to be a terrible arrangement. If communication is clear and both of you are on the same page, it can be a fine situationship to be in. You both want somebody to spend the colder season with as you grow lonely and nostalgic, and you’ll put each other back in the closet come spring.
Oftentimes, as unfortunate as it is, that isn’t the case.
With recent economic hardships, many are seeking out relationships to provide housing and food for a short while, and as generous as you may be, providing that for someone under the false pretense of something more is never a good feeling. It will leave you lost and desolate when they toss you away like an old, ratty coat when you are no longer of use to them. No matter how brief, having misguided ideas about a relationship is harmful to your mental and emotional health. Getting back with an ex is always a sticky situation, and you can’t rush headlong back into a relationship thinking it’s for love when they only want you for the season and their own selfish reasons. However, it can be hard to resist as the holidays near, pressure increases, and that pit of nostalgic longing for times past settles in.
How to Prevent Winter Coating
As with any relationship, communication is key. New or old, establishing your expectations and boundaries from the get-go is a must. It may seem pointless to rehash these things with an ex, considering that you already know each other, but you have to remember that you are exes for a reason. Reestablishing these things, and even establishing new ones, are more vital than it would be in any fling.
Establish the Longevity of Your Relationship
Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in an ex that comes crawling back when winter draws near. You have to sit down and have an honest chat with each other. If you want something more than just a situationship for the season, let that be clear. If you are okay with merely keeping each other close during the cold, dark winter months, let that be known. If your ex wants something different, if your interests for the future of your relationship don’t align, don’t let yourself get hurt come spring.
Reevaluate Your Past With Them
Did things end on good terms? Why did you two decide that you didn’t work out in the first place? Did your paths simply diverge, or was it a far more rocky demise? Financial unreliability, boundary crossing, and domestic disputes, are all things you don’t want, even in a Winter Coated relationship. If there are any doubts that you two could have more trouble than it’s worth if you get back together, it’s best to stay on separate paths.
Firmly State Your Boundaries
If you think that this seasonal situationship is something that you both are comfortable pursuing, make sure that the two of you are clear in everything you want. This reignited flame should be something that you are cozy in, a fireplace you can snuggle up by. You shouldn’t have to worry about all the little things a full partnership brings, so you need to establish what you want, what you are comfortable with, and the lines that should not be crossed.
The Bottom Line
Winter Coating doesn’t have to be unhealthy, and if you’re not in the business of Cuffing Season, it can even be nice. But, you can’t be fooled into a relationship built on the false foundations of growing something more. Let it be clear what you want and what they want. If that can’t be established, don’t dawn that winter coat. Stay safe and stay sane, this winter season.