Finding Love in a Winter Wonderland
Ever notice how couples start popping up all over the place as soon as the weather cools down? It’s no coincidence – the yearly phenomenon is known as “cuffing season”, and for some, it’s serious business!
For all those hoping to have someone to hibernate with this winter, here’s a look at some seasonal dating trends, plus a few much-needed survival tips.
Dating Apps See a Surge in January
Studies show that the first Sunday in January is usually the busiest day for online dating. More singles are motivated to seek out dates as Christmas and New Year party season starts to wind down, thanks to a combination of cold “cuffing season” weather and the lead-up to Valentine’s Day. This surge in app activity stays high throughout January and continues until mid-February.
- Hinge saw a 22.5% increase in member activity on “Dating Sunday” (January 6th) in 2019.
- In January 2018, Tinder reported more than 44 million matches! That’s 20 million more than on an average day.
- Match reports that 50 million messages are typically sent, and about one million dates take place between January 6th and February 14th.
Cuffing Beats Winter Blues & Loneliness
Cuffing season is the name given to the trend that sees many more singles coupling up for winter, often jumping into relationships for the colder months only to split up in spring. From November to March, more and more couples get together to enjoy cosy snuggles, Netflix marathons and hot chocolate (or mulled wine).
Research by dating.com revealed that 75% of users feel more isolated and lonely during the winter months, and nearly all of them (69% of the 75%) reported feeling less lonely after matching with a potential date. Not only that, a Coffee Meets Bagel study showed that 46% of members surveyed think about dating more often during winter, and 41% use dating apps more often during winter.
The Reason for the Season
What are some of the top factors that make people more likely to seek out relationships in winter?
- Lonely hearts: People tend to feel lonelier and more likely to want companionship.
- Winter blues: Our brains produce less serotonin when we get less sun, and we seek out pasty companions to warm our hearts!
- Couch potato: With shorter days and longer, colder nights, we’d rather stay in and cuddle up with someone special than hit the town.
- Party of two: It can be stressful trying to find a plus one for winter socialising! Cuffing season has the solution.
- New Year cheer: Having someone to kiss as the clock strikes midnight ensures you’ll start the year off on a high note.
Cuffing isn’t the only holiday trend to shake up the dating world – this time of year affects people’s dating behaviour in other ways as well.
Men More Likely to be Stingy “Scrooges”
Scrooging: This trend takes its name from the mean and miserly old gent in Charles Dickens’ famous story “A Christmas Carol”. An eharmony study revealed that nearly one in 10 people admit to Scrooging – dumping or distancing themselves from their squeeze in the run-up to Christmas, just to avoid coughing up some cash to buy them a present!
Around 11% of men and 7% of women say they will withdraw from their partner in the weeks before Christmas. Men in the 18-34 age group were shown to be the worst offenders. Bah humbug indeed!
Marleying: Here’s another festive season dating trend that takes its name from Dickens’ work. It refers to people who – in a moment of weakness or seasonal nostalgia – reach out to their exes over the Christmas period, in the hopes of rekindling their romance. This usually happens when singles are feeling sentimental, visiting their hometown for the holidays.
One study showed that around 11% of singles have been “Marleyed”, receiving texts from an ex over the holidays, while 8% of people admitted to contacting their ex during the festive season.
Digital Breakups on the Rise
While more singles are seeking out a connection via online dating, breakups are going digital too.
- More than one in five Brits have been dumped via text message.
- Around two-thirds (66%) of under-25-year-olds (Gen Z) have sent a breakup message by text.
- People aged between 18 and 29 are the most likely to break up via text or email.
- Comparatively, only 16% of 30 to 49-year-olds tend to break up via text.
Survival Tips for Holiday Dating
If you’re navigating the dating world during “silly season”, here’s a guide to help you get through the holidays without heartbreak.
Single and ready to mingle: If you’re looking for a winter holiday romance, spruce up your profile with a cute snow-kissed selfie and go for it! But remember to take some downtime for yourself too. Turn off your notifications for a bit, and enjoy some pamper sessions at home, a girls’ night in with your besties, or quality time with your family. Don’t compare yourself to others online, and don’t let your Nan’s questions about why you’re still single get you down – there will be plenty of time to find romance after the holidays.
Dating someone new: This is tricky territory! If you’re in a relatively new relationship, it might be a bit too soon to make them your plus one for Christmas dinner with the whole family. Keep things low-pressure by seeing your respective families separately and meeting up for a cosy date together afterwards. Choose a gift that’s cute and thoughtful, but not too elaborate. And don’t overdo it on the eggnog, or chances are your true feelings will spill out earlier than you planned!
Long-term couples: Even rock-solid couples are put to the test by festive season stress. The best thing to do is communicate, communicate, communicate! Make sure each of you knows the other’s expectations and commitments for the season, so neither of you will end up feeling disappointed. Decide on a price limit for your gifts, decide whose family you’re seeing when, and make sure you carve out a bit of one-on-one time to relax and reconnect.