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Winter Coating Is The Latest Dating Trend to Give Singles the Chills

It’s that time of year; the weather is getting colder, and the holidays are here.
innovative match

innovative match

It’s that time of year; the weather is getting colder, and the holidays are here. With more time being spent indoors and events penciled on the calendar where a plus one would be a plus, some singles are becoming laser-focused on finding a romantic partner to add to their lives. At least until spring.

Even better is if that person is someone they’re already comfortable with, allowing them to pick up where they left off. No awkward first dates, no getting-to-know-you period, and, at least for them, no promises. It’s cuffing season with a twist, and it has a name — winter coating.

What is winter coating?

Winter coating is a phenomenon that goes hand-in-hand with cuffing season. Though winter coating is a relatively new phrase, cuffing season has been in most daters’ vocabulary for much longer. Cuffing season — for those not in the know — is when singles get into relationships when the weather starts to get colder and then break up in the spring with the prospect of summer fun around the bend.

Generally, relationships that start during cuffing season, officially beginning in November, are meant to last through the holidays until March or April. This is the time of year when many people get into shorter relationships so that they have someone to spend the holidays with or someone to spend time with as more activities move inside due to cold weather.

Winter coating is a similar concept introduced by the dating app Inner Circle, except with winter coating, cuffing involves an ex. Just like someone may start a relationship they intend to last through the winter, someone may also try to get back with an ex for the same reason. It’s similar to getting your winter coat out of the closet. Someone reaches out for it when they need and want it, but when the weather starts to get warmer, back in the closet it goes.

Why are people likely to start winter coating?

There are a few reasons why someone may try winter coating. Similar to the motivations for getting into a relationship during cuffing season, they may want someone to do things with as more activities move out of group settings and indoors. Additionally, the holidays can be a major stressor for some people. Being in a relationship may make them feel less lonely or may help them deal with questions about relationships from parents or family.

Winter coating, however, offers a unique benefit — familiarity. In addition to getting all the perks of a relationship, a winter coat relationship is familiar and doesn’t require as much guesswork in the beginning. Any of the patterns or habits — good or bad — that someone and their ex had the first time they dated may be easy to slide back into.

Crystal Cansdale, a dating expert at Inner Circle, says, “This year, with the pressure of costs going up and people cutting back on dates, there’s the added risk of singles going back to old flings in the same way they dig out their old winter coat for the season. Winter Coating offers the comfort of staying inside, watching Netflix and not actually dating, with someone you’ve already established this dynamic with.”

Given how tumultuous and unpredictable the past few years have been, people may be looking for something familiar. Because some people are still wary of socializing in the aftermath of the pandemic, winter coating may be especially alluring.

What is the best response to winter coating?

f you believe that you’re being winter coated by an ex, think about whether or not re-entering the relationship is a good idea for you. Even though you may be able to do the same fun things you did when you were together, you’ll also likely end up getting into the same fights you got into, too (especially if that was part of why you broke up).

To protect yourself, talk to your ex about their motivations. You can ask them if they’re actually looking to work on your relationship and build a new one together or if they’re just looking for something casual and short-term. If you don’t want to be in a more casual relationship, you should make this clear, too. If you fail to communicate your non-negotiables, it could cause a lot of fighting and heartbreak in the end, particularly for you.

Final thoughts …

Something short and casual can be fun if that’s what you know you’re signing on for and want. If it isn’t, make sure you’re clear about what you do want and ask your ex to be the same. Otherwise, you may find yourself left out of the cold, even when it’s warm outside.

Cassie Keim

CEO and Founder of Innovative Match


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