It might be the most wonderful time of the year to be coupled up - but does cuffing season help or hinder your prospects of long term relationship success?
Whether you like it or not, we are fast approaching 'cuffing season', which starts in November and lasts until around March. This is where single people often ramp up their efforts to find what is often considered to be a winter stop-gap relationship in the lead up to Christmas - with the hope that it can last through the winter and as far as Valentine's Day.
So, is there something to be said for an organised, targeted and methodical approach to romance, or does it prompt those who might be lonely or staved of interaction prone to welcoming any connection - no matter how unsuitable? Let's take a look at the pros and cons of this dating trend.
The search for love can boost your mood.
According to research, as the colder weather starts to set in from October onwards, we're more likely to have a deficit of vitamin D, which can lead to levels of depression or a feeling of emptiness. As this causes a heightened desire for romance, what better pastime could their possibly be than to throw yourself into looking for love?
People are more likely to say 'yes'.
In the same way that you might be looking to hunker down with someone during the colder winter months, others will have the same idea. So that first date may be more inclined to agree to a second one.
Men are even more likely to be open minded, or stray from their usual 'type' - which can be a very good thing indeed, as this is often self-restricting.
You won't have to answer that dreaded question...
'Why are you still single?' The festive season brings with it many social gatherings, including family and friends who you may not have seen since the year before.
But with your newly cuffed partner by your side, you'll have physical proof that there's nothing 'wrong' with you, and the Great Aunt Beryl will get off your case. At least for a little while...
When you become intimate with someone, you often create an instant connection - but this often only creates a temporary feeling of euphoria. But if you've rushed into the process of finding and getting to know one another, your perceived compatibility may not be authentic - and you are likely to be left thoroughly disappointed when this connection fades into the spring and summer months.
Wasted time (theirs and yours)
You may have found a quick-fix partner for the winter months, but how much time have you actually wasted, where you could have been investing your time, finding a more authentic, longer term connection?
One season of being coupled up is certainly very nice, but wouldn't it be better to find that connection that could have the potential to last for a lifetime of holiday seasons?
Heartbreak, anxiety and guilt
It might be that your cuffed partner falls completely head-over-heels in love with you during cuffing season (or vice versa) - so there can be a serious commitment imbalance, often leading to bitter disappointment or in some cases, total heartbreak.
If you have indeed mislead someone into a false sense of security, knowing that a breakup is imminent can cause an enormous amount of stress, and you may even find that guilt leaves you tied in for much longer than you had originally planned.
You'll have to answer a new dreaded question...
'What happened to...?' So actually, when you next do see your family and friends you'll inevitably have to answer questions about what happened between you and your partner. So you'll sadly be back to square one.
For life - not just for Christmas, here at REDDI we're all about the #CuffedLife
We believe that cuffing is a false economy, which can waste precious time and energy, while also leading to 'desperate dating' and disappointment further down the line. The dreariness of winter combined with the warm, fuzzy feeling that we experience during the holiday season often blurs the lines between what's real, and what's actually not.
Cuffing could even be perceived as being quite cruel, and make you more likely to lead someone else on, upon false pretenses. You need to ask whether you are spending time with this person because you really see them as part of your future, or are you just lonely? Many cuffing season relationships, having been built on shallow foundations, sadly do not always last.
So by all means, put your best effort into finding that special connection, and target your energy ahead of cuffing season. But please don't mislead others, or settle for anyone who is unsuitable, or whose longer term intentions aren't aligned with your own.
Choose your life partner very carefully. From this one decision will come 90% of your happiness (or misery!) - so it's important to take your time, be patient and get it right.