by Carter Hemion, Humour Editor
In the cold months of cuffing season, social pressure encourages cozying up with a special someone. These days, with life largely online, social media can have a significant impact on anyone consuming content. There are a variety of reasons people don’t date, but cuffing season can pressure people to start relationships just to avoid being single, which harms everyone involved.
For many students, focusing on other parts of their life can be more important than pursuing a relationship. Many students are working part time, full time and/or doing volunteer work — all of which takes up a lot of time and energy. Besides which, cuffing season may not be the right time to be dating for people who need to focus on their mental, physical, or socio-emotional health. Starting a new relationship takes time, energy, and emotional labour, something many students may not find feasible — and they shouldn’t be shamed for it.
With COVID-19 still a threat, dating is not safe for everyone. Meeting new people who may not share the same boundaries or vaccination status can be challenging in itself. Cuffing season can add to the pressure to continue life like the pandemic is over, which has its own risks.
When being single is stereotyped as being lonely or sad, it pressures people to start dating when they may need or want to be single longer. In fact, most stereotypes about single people just aren’t true. People can be single and have meaningful friendships, contribute to their community, and feel just as content with their lives as those in serious relationships.
Asexual or aromantic people (those who experience little or no sexual or romantic attraction) can have different kinds of dating experiences, which are often overlooked. People on these spectrums may have different wants and needs in intimate relationships.
The season is also primarily for monogamous people, and doesn’t address the different kinds of complexities ethically non-monogamous people may face. For example, communicating boundaries with multiple partners (who may also have multiple partners) looks different than communicating boundaries with just one person. For anyone who does not want to pursue a monogamous sexual and romantic intimate relationship, cuffing season holds different meanings and the pressure to date is full of different complexities not shared by others pursuing relationships.
As an asexual person (who has been in monogamous and polyamorous relationships) and as someone with a lot on their plate, I have no plans of pursuing a new intimate relationship right now. Tuning out cuffing season pressures to focus on myself is challenging, but I know it’s right for me this winter. I’m more than OK with that, and I hope other single people can feel all right not dating if that’s what feels right for them too.
This cuffing season, be mindful of your social media presence and the impact that encouraging cuffing season may have on followers who aren’t dating. If cuffing season pressures affect you negatively, consider muting posts for a while. Regardless of whether you’re dating or not, consider that cuffing season isn’t always for everyone, and being single can be just as great as dating.
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