“Cuffing season” is that time of year when we spend less time roaming about and more time cozying up indoors. That wintery nesting instinct means a lot more relationships get started – but do they last?
“They say people get into relationships because of the gloomy weather and decrease of sunlight during the winter months, as a way to brighten up their lives,” says professional matchmaker and relationship expert Bonnie Winston.
While winter romances can definitely make our days brighter, things can feel pretty dark again if those relationships don’t last into the spring. So how do we know if it’s the real deal? We asked a few experts.
1. Your intimacy is still a priority.
More than just having great sex together, intimacy is maintained through the touching, cuddling, and daily connecting that fosters a happy, healthy relationship.
“If you and your sweetheart are kissing, touching and curling up together every day, your relationship is likely going to last past cuffing season,” says sex expert Antonia Hall, author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life.
2. You still want to hang out during the day.
This one sounds like such a no-brainer, but it’s so true. “What separates a cuffing season fling from a true relationship is when you actively look forward to seeing them,” says Tom Ella, one of the hosts of dating podcast The Undesirables and a contributor for Tinder’s Swipe Life blog.
“We’ve all been in a convenience fling where all we really want is a warm body under the covers to fool around with and keep us company while binge watch on cold nights, but you don’t want to see them, text them or really think about them during the day,” says Ella. Are you and your partner missing each other when you’re apart?
3. You’re making plans for the future.
“If you’re talking about what you’re going to do when the weather warms up, it might be time to recognize that your cuffing season buddy might be about to become your summer fling, pumpkin spice dalliance and back for a second round of cuffing,” says Ella. And that’s great!
Just because you met when the weather’s cold, it doesn’t mean you have to stop dating when the weather’s nice. Replace Netflix and chill under the comforter with a midnight dip on a warm night at the beach.
4. You’ve met the family.
“If you’ve introduced your partner to your family, it’s well past time to admit it: this is a real relationship, not a convenience fling,” says Ella.
You’re there! Get your swimsuit ready because you guys are likely all going to the beach together in a few months.
5. You share values and goals.
It’s crucial that as a couple you share a compatible value system as well as show respect and trust towards each other. This is one of the keys to longevity with your partner.
“If your core value systems are in alignment and you share similar goals, your relationship is far more likely to grow into something more serious,” says Hall.
6. You communicate to resolve problems
According to Shalini Singh, founder of andwemet.com, communication means you are both open to having uncomfortable and difficult discussions, and to finding a resolution (which may work in the favour of one). Singh says “letting go of unpleasant memories, not holding on to them,” and “being there supporting each other’s extended family and participating in family events,” as well as “giving in making the compromise even if in the right,” are all strong communication tools that indicate your relationship is built to last.
“This is something extremely difficult to follow but it is a secret sauce of happily lasting relationship,” Singh explains.
7. Your friends and family like your partner.
How our loved ones feel about a new partner is always an important variable.
“If you’ve met each other’s friends, and maybe even family, and everyone approves of your new significant other, there’s a far greater chance of the relationship enduring,” says Hall.
8. You’re getting through challenges constructively.
“Disagreements are a natural part of every relationship. If you and your partner are able to hear each other out and work through arguments in a respectful way, it’s a good sign that your partnership is healthy and could last,” says Hall.
9. They want to go on vacation with you.
“If your significant other wants to work on ideas for a summer vacation, chances are extremely good they will stay committed to you,” says Winston.
If your partner is looking into the future and comfortable committing to plans months away, they aren’t seeing an end to your relationship.
While these are all signs your relationship is built to last, but they are not inevitabilities. Trust your own instincts, and do what feels right to you. If it feels good and you are both happy, keep at it!