'Tis the Season for Cheating, Cuffing, Splitting, or Hitching


It’s winter season, but there are four other seasons allegedly converging as we speak: If you’re in a relationship, you’re straying. If you’re not committed, you want to be. If things are serious, you might be popping the question. And if they are too serious, they may be ending.


You know what they say? Something about the winter season makes certain people want to scratch an itch.


A dating app called Clover, HuffPo reported, analyzed some of its data about sign ups this season and found that there was a 300% increase in sign-ups from folks already in relationships in December alone. Six percent of those sign ups were women in relationships, compared to 4.5 percent of men. And perhaps the seasonal dissatisfaction these people were looking to escape was more about money than anything else: Users who made less than $60k annually were almost three times as likely to sign up.

An advice seeker asked Cosmo how to stop chronically cheating on her boyfriend of three years, whom she claims to totally love and stuff. Another cheater at Slate does some soul searching about her bad habit.


Meh. Signing up for a dating site (much like having the Tinder app on your phone) doesn’t necessarily mean you’re cheating. It could mean you’re looking, sure. It could mean you’re dissatisfied, or doing a little “comparison relationship” holiday shopping. It could also mean that you’re being a “Tinder tourist” and just boosting your own confidence. It’s not an ideal activity for a committed person, nosirree, but not proof enough to suggest that come holiday season, everyone is boning someone else. Though this therapist says the holiday affair is real, and is about longing for the things you’re missing after a bad year. In which case, break up already.


Cuffing, AKA the Black Friday of courtship, is supposedly this:


How cold it is is directly related to your desire to be cuffed, at least according to one of these eight charts (yes eight) about cuffing season from HuffPo.

MTV decided to go Serial on this issue and find out if cuffing season was real or not. Deepa Lakshmin talks to therapists, dating coaches, and even draws on Darwin to confirm that cuffing is super true. Dating coach Tracey Steinberg says sure, it’s nice to have someone to snuggle with when things get cold and everyone is “in ten layers.”

Lakshmin writes:

“[Cuffing season] has happened in our evolutionary history every time the days get darker,” said Dr. Wendy Walsh, a clinical psychologist who specializes in the psychology of love, sex and gender roles. “We’re walking around in DNA that’s hundred of thousands of years old. In our anthropological past, there was less food and resources [available], and hunter-gatherers’ survival happened better if you were in a pack, if you were coupled up … [This] increased survival of any offspring that came out of it.”

And Lakshmin found data to support this idea, sorta. More babies are born in July and August, for one. And:

In 2013, December was the most popular month for getting engaged. And according to the online dating website Zoosk, New York City residents send 56% more messages and view 38% more profiles when it’s snowing outside. None of these statistics definitively prove or disprove the existence of a cuffing season, of course, but they do suggest that the weather influences people’s dating behavior.

Plus, remember those ladies looking for fall boyfriends?


Dear lord. Are we really so utterly, disappointingly simple? Answer: Probably. I would hope our discerning gaze and high personal standards (lol) would remain intact throughout the year, but, no. You know what this is?

This is seasonal beer goggles.


The holidays are a time for putting a ring on it.


Apparently yes, this is still true. The Guardian reported that Christmas, not Valentine’s, is when people are most likely to get engaged. People search more for engagement rings online and purchase more of them in December, and surveys confirm this, as do Instagram pics.


Sure yeah, get engaged. Or go off script and don’t. That would be nice. Bucking the trend.

Breaking Up

Winter’s cool mist is also a great reason to call the whole thing off. Is it because you’re spending all this time together? It is because you realized you were about to hang out with their weirdo family this year? Is it because of all those holiday parties you need a date for? Or is it that the thought of having to find a present for this person suddenly crystallized precisely how much you don’t actually want to look at them? Either way, lotta people can’t even right now.


Facebook says it’s so according to your status updates (who posts a freaking breakup STATUS UPDATE? Hey guys, FYI it’s over. Dead inside.). And the day of doom could’ve reached all the way back to just after Thanksgiving (in which case, I’m sorry for what you’re going through). Apparently some people call that seasonal ditch a “turkey drop” because it coincides with college kids returning home for break and breaking up? No? Please?

While those are freshman who are mostly doing the breaking up — and why not? You’re giddy with adult-like freedom and an embarrassment of new better significant other choices, not just those losers you went to high school with — it doesn’t mean adults are immune. From NPR:

You’re not safe from the turkey drop if you’re out of college, either, according to relationship and sex advice guru Dan Savage. “For grown-ups,” he says, “it’s the anticipation of being stuck for three or four more months.
“You’re a cad if you break up around Christmas. And then there’s New Year’s — and you can’t dump somebody right around New Year’s. After that, if you don’t jump on it, is Valentine’s Day,” Savage says. “God forbid if their birthday should fall somewhere between November and February — then you’re really stuck.
“Thanksgiving is really when you have to pull the trigger if you’re not willing to tough it out through February.”

Yikes. Another reason people are more likely to split during autumn or winter is that you’re no longer able to dilute the strength of the person you’d rather be dumping during warmer months, when you could at least get outside more and the fuck away from them. Plus, lower libido. Without that, all you’ve got is your actual relationship. Yikes, indeed.


I’ve had breakups during the summer months and the winter months, because for me, when the shit hits the fan, fuck waiting for when everyone else is doing it. But if you think you’re about to get ditched, you can always follow this handy guide and avoid the shit out of the person until you’ve weathered the storm. (If that doesn’t work, take heart: If Clover was right and everyone really is laying the groundwork to dump you this month, then January is the best month for being single. Maybe. Maybe just single and miserable. In which case, consider a fifth season: The Season for Self-Loathing.)

I suggest putting your prowling, restless energy back into your relationship, where you should really figure out if it’s salvageable. After all, if you act too rashly, you’re just going to be in another relationship this time next year you also can’t wait to end. Happy Holidays!

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