Laura Romaniello / art director

Lindsay Gibbons

Equinox Staff

The days have gotten shorter and the nights have gotten chillier. Every year, as the winter jackets start coming out, we also need to face another ugly truth of the winter: Cuffing season. Those two words can drive a stake through the heart of any hopeless romantic. while it can even make those who scoff at romance wince and cringe.

According to Urban Dictionary, cuffing season is defined as, “During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves alone with the rest of the world desiring to be ‘Cuffed’ or tied-down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed.”

Sometimes those who desire to be “cuffed” are called desperate or are laughed at by their friends. Otherwise, cuffing season is considered relatively harmless by most. But according to experts, it’s a very real thing. Although thoughts on the actual start date can vary, most people can agree that the season starts in early November and ends around mid-March. But why does everyone suddenly want to find a mate?

“We slow down in the fall,” says licensed psychologist Tristan Coopersmith. “Summer is a busy time. There’s a feeling of wanting to get all the fun and freedom in. So, by the time fall hits, we’re all pretty spent and just want to (Netflix and) chill. Serial dating takes too much effort we just don’t have post-summer.”

There is statistical evidence data to back up the phenomenon of cuffing season, too. A 2015 Hinge research study showed that men were 15 percent more likely to look for a relationship in the winter months and females were 5 percent more likely. Research also shows that heterosexual males tend to be more attracted to females in the winter months than in the summer. Think of it as a supply and demand type of thing — or, the illusion of supply and demand. In the summer, more people are out. Therefore, the supply appears to be high. But when winter hits, there aren’t as many people out anymore. Then, the supply appears to be low.  “Since we’re wired to mate, our primal instincts come out and lead us to be more open or serious about relationships,” says Coopersmith.

Cuffing season can be a great thing for some people, but for others, it can feel like they’re forcing something they don’t want or aren’t ready for. There’s nothing wrong with looking for a person or choosing to remain single. But what is important is being in the right frame of mind while makingfor either choice.

Any time you want to date, you should always have an idea of what you want from the experience. It’s important to have a clear goal in mind so you can conduct yourself accordingly. Whether you’re looking for something casual or long-term, be upfront about it. This can prevent you from accidentally leading someone on.

These next few winter months can be draining, and for singles, can feel very lonely sometimes. And although cuffing season is upon us and it may be a solution for some, it may not be the best answer for everyone.

Lindsey Gibbons can be contacted

at lgibbons@kscequinox.com