Coping With Cuffing Season

By Nathan Shurts (he/him), 17 years old, editor

February 9, 2024

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

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

handcuff season

Cuffing season is a slang term that appeared online several years ago and quickly became popular. 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 partner up.

Unfortunately, this can create pressure to meet on a deadline instead of letting it happen naturally, sometimes leading to couples who aren’t a good fit. “I’ve experienced the pressure of being with someone just because I feel like everyone around you is in love and you’re not,” says Megan (them), 15, from Kinnelon, New Jersey. “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 cause confusion when the thought of dating can already be stressful. “It’s hard enough to be an average teenager without feeling the pressure to get into a relationship that, if you’re completely honest, you may not be ready for,” Megan adds.

The sting of the season

When you’re single, you may feel like you’re hoping to find someone to celebrate Valentine’s Day with. “Sometimes if I have expectations that someone will give me something, I get a little sad that no one does,” says Lyla (she/her), 15, from Warren, New Jersey, about Valentine’s Day. “Other people around me during cuffing season don’t really affect me, but my own thoughts and expectations throughout the year do.”

Some teens may not feel ready to date, may not like dating, or may not have had the right opportunity. Any of these are totally fine. But watching others gather can create pressure. “It’s kind of hard to watch all your friends get into relationships while you’re single and you’ve never had one,” says Jay (he/her), 17, from Columbus, IN. “You feel very much like a third wheel. “There have been times where I wish I could find someone, but I don’t want to rush into something I’m not ready to do with the wrong person just because everyone else is in a relationship.”

If you decide to get together with someone you really don’t want to be with, you may feel disappointed and hurt later. “I’d rather find a good partner than find one just for the sake of it,” says Jenny (she/her), 17, from Bethesda, MD. Instead of looking for an adventure to avoid being single during the season, it may be better to look at the holiday season and Valentine’s Day in particular from a different perspective.

Palentino, Galentino and Valentine

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

An important example is “Galentine’s Day”, which, through the television program Parks and Recreation, became a well-known tradition of women’s gathering. For example, Jenny says her Valentine’s Day traditions involve “celebrating with friends and having a Galentina. “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 searching for the perfect night. It may be about showing a little more love and appreciation to the important people in your life.

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

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