GSU students find love in the winter months

The temperature drops below freezing, nightfall creeps up earlier and fuzzy socks and earmuffs re-emerge from the depths of the closet. 

Welcome to December, where cuffing season is officially in full swing. Cuffing season describes the increase in the number of relationships throughout the winter months. The term originates from the idea of being physically handcuffed to someone, symbolizing, at least temporarily, a relationship. 

This unofficial time frame spans from October through the duration of winter. While the end-date varies, some say that the cuffs unlock by Feb. 15 or the first spring breeze, whichever comes first.

Georgia State students find themselves fulfilling the cuffing season prophecy. 

Sophomore Dominque Hogan describes his eight-month-long relationship as extraordinary. 

Hogan and his girlfriend met during their freshman year when he tagged along with a friend to use her microwave. Hogan accidentally burned his frozen food, leaving her room to stink for the next few days. 

As repayment, Hogan bought his soon-to-be-girlfriend a pizza and cookie pie. This gesture also served as a sneaky Valentine’s Day gift. 

Agreeing with the cuffing season stereotype, Hogan said that the summertime could lead to superficial flings, due to the hot weather and flashy clothing. 

“Summer hookups may not last because people show more skin and can be attracted to other people because of that, as opposed to the winter months, [when] people are covered from head to toe, and you can only see the person’s personality,” Hogan said.

Freshman Kyra Stoute and her boyfriend’s relationship defies the cuffing season criteria. The pair began dating last May, and Stoute believes that the summer months are best for attracting a partner, with cute clothes and swimming pools.

Since their relationship began in the summer, Stoute looks forward to cold-weather couple activities because the drop in temperature makes her feel “extra cuddly.”

“[Relationships] are much cuter in the winter,” Stoute said with a laugh. “You get to be like ‘oh I’m cold, let me hold your hand.’”

These Georgia State students are onto something. According to Atlanta-based psychologist Tracy Talmadge, as the days get shorter, some people experience seasonal depression, and this can negatively impact their attachment system. 

Talmadge said that 15-20% of the adult population exhibit a “preoccupied attachment style.”

“Those are people who aren’t good at soothing themselves, meeting their own needs and they look at others to do that,” he said. “Especially if there’s a cultural phenomenon where people are coupling off, it’s going to provoke more of that out of people.”

Talmadge added that validation is, “by far, the most potent and satisfying when it comes from a romantic partner.”

Senior Alexandra Leon and her boyfriend are celebrating their three-year anniversary. Since the day they met in Northpoint Mall, they have lived together, adopted a cat named Croissant and opened a joint savings account. 

Leon considers the social pressures of the holiday season. 

“You’re going to go see family, and you want somebody there for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and then Valentine’s Day,” Leon said. “Those four months where people show off that they have somebody.”

Talmadge agrees that holidays inflict more social pressures and lead to cuffing season, something he calls “a young person’s phenomenon.” 

Otherwise, he stresses that the season is irrelevant.

If the reason for us getting into the relationship is motivated out of loneliness, it’s more likely to be an unhealthy relationship because it’s driven by an unhealthy drive,” Talmadge said.

A couple may survive if they make it past Valentine’s Day, Leon adds, dubbing it “the cringiest love holiday ever.”

If you’re looking for some romance, brave the cold streets of Atlanta or cuddle up to Frosty the Snowman.