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‘Winter Coating’: How to Avoid the Latest Icky Dating Trend for Cuffing Season

A couple wearing coats sits looking out at the snow

If you spent the steamy days of summer enjoying the single life, it’s totally natural to want to cuddle up and fall in love now that the colder temperatures — and cuffing season — are here. But daters beware: it looks like there is a new less-than-ideal dating trend making the rounds this season — “winter coating.”

Related: 10 dating terms we keep hearing and what they mean.

What is ‘winter coating’?

Winter coating is a dating trend where people will reach out to old flames to snag someone to spend cuffing season with — AKA, they’ll jump back into an old relationship for the season, and then they’ll shrug you off when spring is on the horizon (kind of, as the name suggests, like a winter coat). 

Why would people winter coat a former partner? While each person’s motives may be different, it could be because it’s just easier to winter coat an old flame than to find someone new. Or, because it’s easier to navigate the expenses of the holiday season with a partner, people may jump back into a relationship they don’t care deeply about as a way to save money amid the rising cost of living. 

While this could work if you both are into having someone to snuggle up with over the holidays, winter coating can be a hurtful practice in many situations. For example, if someone pretends to be genuinely interested in rekindling a relationship with someone who has history and feelings for them, only to dump them in a few months.

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,” Crystal Cansdale, resident dating expert at dating site Inner Circle said. “If someone is winter coating you, it might feel exciting to hear from them again. They’ll be steady and dependable through the winter and it might seem like they’ve changed. But when the first sign of spring comes around, history will repeat itself and they’ll disappear into thin air.”

You may also like: What is a karmic relationship — and how long should you stay in one?


Is ‘winter coating’ on the rise?

As Mashable reports, the experts at Inner Circle conducting a survey that suggests that winter coating is indeed on the rise — even though it often doesn’t work out.

According to Inner Circle’s research (which was conducted in September), more than half (52 per cent) of the 1,150 UK singles that they surveyed had been contacted by an ex looking to get back together — but a whopping 71 per cent said that it didn’t work out. 

“Winter Coating takes toxic cuffing season behaviour to a new level,” Cansdale said, “and unless you’re 100 percent on the same page as the other person, it has to stop.”

Related: Avoiding toxic breakups – here is the worst way to be broken up with: research.

What can you do if you think you’re being ‘winter coated’?

If an ex has reached out to you recently and you think you may be getting winter coated, the most important thing to do is have an open discussion about what both you and your potential partner are feeling and intending. 

While it may be tempting to just ignore your feelings and settle in for a comfy cuffing season, you may be setting yourself up for hurt if you aren’t on the same page. Plus, if you think you may be coating someone yourself, it’s up to you to be open and honest with them about your intentions, too.

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