‘Winter coating’ is the seasonal dating trend to watch out for during cuffing season

Written by Leah Sinclair

According to new research from Inner Circle, over half (52%) of singles have been contacted by a former flame looking to rekindle something, but 71% said it didn’t work out  and ‘winter coating’ is at the heart of it all.      

Keeping up with all the emerging dating trends can be a real struggle.

From cookie jarring to manifest dating, 2022 has been marred by red and beige flags, dos, don’ts and new terms that leave us all trying to keep up.

But there is one thing that we encounter year after year and it’s a term many of us are familiar with: cuffing season.

Cuffing season is defined as the time when single people begin looking for short-term partnerships to pass the colder months of the year; a time when relationships blossom in the dead of winter and often come to a halt once the flowers start to bloom in spring. And one particular thing we should be on the lookout for during cuffing season is ‘winter coating’.

According to dating app Inner Circle, winter coating happens when people get back in touch with old flames as they approach cuffing season, in an attempt to land themselves an easy, seasonal partner for the winter months.

“Winter coaters pop back up to someone they dated before (just like they’d dig out their trusty, familiar winter coat) and kick off from where they left off. But as soon as the first sign of spring kicks in, they’re ditched and forgotten about again, much like the winter coat,” says Inner Circle.

According to new research from Inner Circle, over half (52%) of singles have been contacted by a former flame looking to rekindle something – but 71% said it didn’t work out. 

Crystal Cansdale, a resident dating expert at Inner Circle, said: “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 – but with someone you’ve already established this dynamic with.”

Cansdale says if someone is winter coating you, you might initially feel excited 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.

“Winter coating takes toxic cuffing season behaviour to a new level,” she says. “Unless you’re 100% on the same page as the other person, it has to stop.”

If you’re worried about someone popping up out of the blue and winter coating you, Cansdale has a few tips to help you avoid it – starting with having an upfront chat with the person you’re seeing.

“Talking about your intentions early is never a bad idea, particularly if you’ve been there with someone before,” says Cansdale. “This will avoid any awkward crossed wires later down the line and it gives winter coaters the chance to be honest – with you and themselves.”

Next stop, Cansdale advises people to take their time while dating. “I’d caution against jumping into something too soon at any time of year, particularly if it’s with someone you dated before,” she warns. “But as we head into cuffing season this is even more important. By taking things slow, you make sure your date is in it for the right reasons.”

Cansdale adds that winter coaters tend to “want to progress things quickly” and are only in it for a short time, so they need to make it worth their while.

Lastly, the dating expert says that people shouldn’t get comfortable too soon and sticking to “traditional early-stage dates”.

“Avoid cooking dinner at theirs or a movie night at home,” she advises. “Keeping it casual is fine, but make sure they’re still putting the effort in and it doesn’t feel like you’re in old-married-couple territory after just a few weeks. Even if you’ve been there before, let them prove they’re in it for the right reasons.”

Dating can already be a challenge without having to figure out whether the person you’re seeing is just here for cosy Netflix nights at home until spring pops up months later – but being able to detect the signs will make your dating life a lot easier and weed out the pesky winter coaters in your life.

Image: Getty

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