'After Halloween ends, all the Instagram posts are like: It’s officially cuffing season'

Fall marks the start of the holiday season and cooler weather. It also marks the start of Cuffing Season, where some people who would normally stick to being single seek out someone to “cuff” to.

EUGENE, Ore. - Fall marks the start of the holiday season and cooler weather.

It also marks the start of Cuffing Season, where some people who would normally stick to being single seek out someone to “cuff” to.

The difference between cuffing and standard dating is that when temperatures warm back up in spring, you “un-cuff.”

Cuffing season runs from October to March and peaks in the winter.

The phrase has caught on over the past few years on social media.

“Like right after Halloween ends, all the Instagram posts are like ‘it’s officially cuffing season',” said CJ Shambelan.

Once temperatures lower and skies grey over the holiday season, some people have the urgency to “cuff” themselves to another person.

“I heard it’s like the time of year where people just like get boo-ed up," Mahal Hachalulu said, "and that means like you find a relationship or something like that.”

When our weather shifts from sunny and warm to cold and rainy, some people find themselves spending more time indoors.

“You know, I don’t think anyone really wants to walk to a party in a raincoat,” Maddie Seifer said.

So some people use social media to search for a partner to cuff to.

“I see a lot of people post about it like looking, and they’re very open about it, too," Max Hodge said. "They’re looking for someone who’s in the same boat as them.”

Others use dating apps.

“I think 90 percent of my friends use Tinder or Bumble, Celeste Luppino said. "I feel like the weather just brings people closer like you wanna have someone with you cause it keeps you inside.”

Does the data support a relationship between weather and dating habits?

Dr. Jess Carbino is the sociologist for the dating app Bumble.

While she thinks there is more pressure to couple around colder months, she believes it has more to do with holidays, New Year’s Resolutions and anticipating Valentine’s Day.”

“We know from data regarding all dating apps that we see a peak in behavior in terms of people most signing up during the first few weeks of January,” she said.

And data from the online dating service PlentyOfFish suggests this too. Historically, the site sees an increase in user activity the first Sunday of the New Year.

Along with an increase in users around New Years, A 2017 survey of over 2000 app users found 27 percent of singles feel more pressure to have a date during the holidays.

In addition, 74 percent of singles admitted to feeling lonely over the cooler holiday months.

December marks the peak of cuffing season.

It’s also the coldest and rainiest month in Eugene on average.

“I think that being humans like we are, we need to have other people around – that's natural and organic to our identity, but that becomes very challenging in the winter especially if we get a bad snow or an ice storm that we become very isolated,” said Linda Cathey at Eugene Therapy.

She said winter weather can deter people from wanting to contact and connect with people.

“Just because the clouds move in doesn’t mean the sun goes away, but there is a profound impact on our psyche when we don’t actually see it," Cathey said. "There’s a profound impact when we don’t feel the sun on our face or on our body.”

If you notice your mood, social life or even dating habits tend to alter during the holiday or winter season, Cathey said it’s important to recognize the changes.

“I think the hardest part about this is that mental health is still very much stigmatized in our society, so people who experience some kind of a shift in their mood when the weather changes, they tend to feel embarrassed about it," she said.

Cathey suggests talking to friends, family members or therapist about some of these shifts.

For some people, that means reaching out during Cuffing Season - and hopefully, you’ll have that person to have and to hold longer than the cold.

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