Cuffing season is the time of year when you settle down with someone you may or may not have strong feelings for.
But, you recognize mutual benefits of spending all of your free time with this person, so you both accept you've backpedaled into a temporary relationship, only to get through the winter.
Once the leaves start falling from the trees, you find yourself oddly clicking with one of the random people you were hooking up with over the summer.
You end up hanging out with him or her when you're stone-cold sober, and you leave the person's house without even really hooking up.
That's the moment you realize you've stumbled into an accidental relationship.
Next thing you know, you're spending your weekend picking pumpkins with this person, and you're blowing up Instagram with photos of you two wearing matching flannels.
Your Friday nights no longer consist of partying, blacking out and waking up on random floors.
You now spend them with your significant other, watching "Narcos" on Netflix.
When you're finally able to shake off the cuffs for a night, all of your friends are locked away with their cuffs, so you don't even have anyone left to go out with.
Before I steer you away from falling victim to cuffing season, I should probably explain to you why everything I described is a bad thing.
To many, what's better than companionship in the winter?
Chances are, there will be more than a few snowed-in days, and why shouldn't you have someone around to keep you company through the frozen tundra?
As I've alluded to earlier, the problem with cuffing season is it's often both temporary and unintentional.
One day, you're just having fun, and next thing you know, you have to deal with feelings and sh*t.
You should never be settling with someone for convenience sake. There are billions of people on earth, so don't let proximity dictate your love life (or lack thereof).
Cuff isn't a positive word. Unless you plan on dating a dominatrix, cuffing someone is basically the equivalent of trapping the person.
Don't allow yourself to be someone's prisoner for a winter. You're better than that.
The worst aspect of cuffing season has to be the inevitable end of the "romance."
The snow melts, the sun shines and all of a sudden, the person you've spent all of your time with starts working out, putting on makeup and making plans without you.
This would be fantastic at the beginning of the cuff, but by the end, when you finally start developing real feelings, your person is gone.
Avoid cuffing season at all costs. Here are a few ways to do so:
1. No Day Activities
The second you take this hookup from nighttime rendezvous to a day dates, you're done.
All it takes is one brunch to change everything.
Say no to all day plans, including apple picking, pumpkin carving and going to football games.
Anything that can be posted on Instagram needs to be evaded. The second your situation gets validated with Instagram likes, it's over.
2. Netflix Cheating
Netflix cheating is when you go behind your partner's back and get ahead in a series you two both agreed to watch together. It's the ultimate betrayal in a relationship.
If you've decided you're going to watch "Orange is the New Black" together, watching it alone is the most disrespectful thing you could do.
I'm getting upset just thinking about it.
So, in order to avoid getting tied down in a more serious version of "Netflix and chill," make sure you binge-watch to your heart's desire without your partner.
3. Be Yourself
When you're in a relationship, you try to be your best self. You become selfless and want to put your partner before yourself more often than not.
If you want to avoid cuffing season, you're going to want to just be yourself. You in your natural state just sucks.
Whether it's a conscious effort or not, you change when you enter a relationship. Don't change.
Keep being selfish. Keep going out on Friday night and waking up Saturday morning with cold pizza under your pillow.
Just be yourself.
Fade away. You're not required to answer texts, so don't.
If you feel as though you're slipping into a cuff, disappear.
Totally remove yourself from that situation. Delete phone numbers, block the person on Facebook and completely vanish.
Make the person question whether or not you even really existed. Become a ghost.
How can you cuff that which does not exist?
Keep your head down, and dodge bullets all winter until the next equinox.
I suggest hibernation.