As all Huskies know, University of Connecticut winters are cold and last nearly the entire school year. What does that mean for romance? Our cuffing season is a good month longer than most places, stretching from October to April. If you’ve entered a relationship within this time span, you might want to question why and if it’s actually meant to be.
Cuffing season is a relationship phenomenon. When temperatures drop, the number of couples start to rise. This mainly has to do with how the cold and extended dark affects our brains. According to relationship expert Jillian Turecki, winters like we experience at UConn negatively affect hormones such as melatonin and serotonin, which in turn causes people to become more prone to depression and lethargy. Romance is a natural, healthy way to gain the euphoric high needed to counter this hormonal dip. It also provides a person to cuddle with to stay warm, thus countering the cold which is negatively affecting us and gives us someone to turn to when we get sad. In this sense, cuffing season is a biological response.
Still skeptical about the existence of cuffing season? Researchers in a 2013 study looked at sex and relationship trends on the Internet over the course of five years. Over the winter months, they saw distinct increases in sex and dating-related Google searches, relationship statuses posted on Facebook, use of online dating sites and Google searches for pornography and prostitution. Furthermore, studies have shown there is an increase in testosterone in men in winter months and a decrease during the summer. This rise in testosterone causes an increase in sex drive, which correlates with the increase in sex-related Google searches the study found.
While this biologic need to couple up in the winter sounds nice and convenient for all the singletons out there looking for love, it does have a danger to it. With the dip in temperatures comes a dip in standards. People tend to avoid going outside for unnecessary activities during the winter. This means they have fewer opportunities for socialization and have far fewer options for dates. In the spring, when temperatures finally begin to climb and the sun starts setting later, people become more willing to go outside, meet new people and find more options for dates — options which may appeal to them more than those they settled for during the winter. For this reason, many relationships formed during cuffing season are dropped as soon as it starts to get warm out.
If you have formed a relationship over the past few months, you might want to consider that it could have a fast-approaching expiration date. Sameera Sullivan, founder of match-making service Lasting Connections, warns cuffing couples to make sure they’re not mistaking a cold-weather cuddle-buddy for real love.
“Make sure you’re with someone you actually enjoy being with and you’re not just wasting time,” Sullivan said.
While cuffing season couples aren’t always meant to be, that doesn’t mean the person you coupled with since October doesn’t love you. It just means you might want to consider the reasons why you got with them in the first place, to make sure they were for legitimate attraction.
If you have any questions or need any dating advice, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m positive other people are facing the same romantic problems as you, and would love to hear an answer.
Rebecca Maher is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.