Winter in Canada can be hard to deal with under the best of circumstances. And a Montreal winter is not the best of circumstances. So, why not have someone close to ward off the effects of extreme hypothermia?

This is the thinking behind the "Winter Girlfriend/Boyfriend": a partner you hunker down with for the winter, before dropping once warm weather and short-shorts return come spring. And, I have heard that this arrangement is particularly popular in Montreal, which makes perfect sense. For a Montreal winter, a temporary romantic partner may be less of a fun fling and more a matter of basic survival: a source of warmth and, if needed, food.

I texted a friend of mine, a dyed-in-the wool Montrealer, to see if he had ever heard of this phenomenon.

“I do it every winter,” he wrote back. “Problem is, I never find a spring sweetie.”

To which I texted back, “Leave the jokes to me thx.”

Another unnamed Montreal source (I’m the Bob Woodward of lady blogs!) claims that while he hasn’t heard of the Winter Relationship specifically, he vouched for the phenomenon of Spring Dumpings, which seems to validate the temporary winter relationship cycle.

So, let’s take a look at the love calendar:

  • Winter Relationships are followed by Spring Dumpings...
  • Which lead to Spring Flings...
  • Which evolve into Summer Love...
  • Which are often demolished at the dreaded "Turkey Dump" when returning students come home for Thanksgiving and announce to their high school sweethearts that university has exposed them to new ideas—like Kant and seeing other people.

Once first snow flurries begin to swirl, a Winter Girl/Boyfriend starts to look pretty appealing and the cycle begins anew.

In my time as a single man in Montreal, I myself never took a Winter Girlfriend, but I now suspect that I may have played the role of Winter Boyfriend for a time. I dated a girl for only a brief time as the nights grew longer and the arctic air started to howl. I’d trudge through the snow and slush to see her, only to be gently sent packing once Christmas gifts were exchanged and the spring equinox loomed. Was I simply being used as a source of warmth and a stopgap against cabin fever? Does it matter?

Happy winter relationships, everyone. Stay warm.

Sorry real wife! NeNe’s single, right?


Paul Beer is a Toronto writer, actor and comedian.You can follow him on twitter @pauldanielbeer.



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