Why ‘drafting’ could be the cuffing season red flag to look out for when dating

Written by Leah Sinclair

As the weather shifts to autumn, more single people are beginning the ‘drafting’ process for potential partners ahead of cuffing season  and it’s something you may want to look out for.

If there is one thing we know for sure, it’s that winter is coming – and that means some of us are rushing to find that one person to snuggle up with during the winter months in what is famously known as cuffing season.

Yes, that time of the year is officially upon us, where singletons who can’t bear the thought of spending Christmas alone or entering the new year without a partner are now entering ‘drafting season’, where daters weigh up their options and secure their person before the cold really sets in.

“We have seen a 60% surge in new sign-ups over the past two weeks as singletons begin ‘drafting’, as the weather shifts into autumn mode,” says Tina Wilson, relationship expert and founder of dating app Wingman.

“As we are coming towards the end of summer and into early autumn, it’s now time for the ‘drafters’ to begin the search for someone to cuff with.”

According to Wilson, drafting is the process of planning a winter relationship scenario by lining up as many dates as can be fitted into the diary, all in aid of “going through their options” earlier than normal.

“Singletons are essentially living it up while they can and are enjoying as many dating experiences as possible to ensure the person they pick will be right for them as soon as cuffing season comes around,” she says.

While drafting season may seem like an opportunity to date until your heart’s content, it means that many are rushing to dating apps so they are not dateless for social events including Halloween, bonfire night, Christmas parties, family gatherings over the festive season or cosy nights sat at home.

“A large percentage of couples that cuff up together tend to realise they are not really a good match and break up as soon as Valentine’s Day comes around,” says Wilson.

This often leads people to feel pressured to engage in the cuffing season phenomenon, but it can also lead to heartbreak when intentions aren’t always clear. While someone may be dating someone with long-term prospects, the other could be in it for just a season, making the drafting and cuffing season process a real minefield.

“Not feeling pressured to engage in drafting and cuffing season is key. Just because everyone is doing it, it doesn’t mean you have to force yourself into thinking the same way,” says Wilson.

“You might be happy dating or not want to settle down just yet. That is OK. Remind yourself you are not desperate and do what feels right for you from the outset.Try not to succumb to the pressure just because that is what you feel is expected.Having your friends around you over the festive holidays is much more fun than dating someone for the sake of it – and then having to go through a break-up. Think of the other person’s feelings also – you may see this as a short-term thing, but their feelings may be stronger.”

Wilson warns that the drafting and cuffing season often means old flames start popping up out of the blue and the importance of recognising those warning signs during this time of the year.

“Be aware of old flames who come out of the woodwork about now. You might have been really into them, but it is key to go back into this situation with open eyes because they could be drafting you to weigh up their options for cuffing season,” says Wilson.

“Remember to keep your options open too and don’t settle for the first person that pays interest with you, whether from your past or present. Do what feels right for you otherwise you could be wasting time when you could be finding someone more compatible.

Wilson also advises that it’s important to be upfront about your intentions during this time.

“It is important to be honest with yourself and your new love interest/partner if a cuffing relationship is what you are looking for. This communication is important as you don’t want to break someone’s heart or string them along to simply break up with them as soon as the weather gets nicer. Likewise, if you are looking for a long-term relationship, then voice this after a couple of dates and see how your date responds. Be as authentic as you can be.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting a cuddle buddy or someone to share those moments with during winter. But being clear about your intentions – be it for a long-term or seasonal relationship – is important during this process.

Image: Getty

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