Dating can feel like a battlefield. From getting ghosted after a seemingly amazing second date to finding out that a romantic prospect is actually in a relationship, horror stories abound. You’ve also probably heard of the term cuffing season. It’s the idea that people tend to crave being in a serious relationship in the winter. Not a bad thing per se, except it often involves breaking up in the spring just in time to enjoy casual summer flings.
There’s now another dating trend in town that makes cuffing season seem tame. It’s called winter coating and, as relationship expert and cofounder of Select Date Society Sandra Myers puts it, “it’s unhealthy and devalues a person and their self-worth.”
What Is Winter Coating?
Winter coating is when a former flame reaches out to reconnect in the hopes of spending the winter together before ditching you as soon as temperatures go up. “So like an old winter coat, you’ll be fit for purpose one minute and then shoved back in the wardrobe as soon as the trees start to blossom,” describes Kat Romero in a PopSugar article.
Ouch. Why would anyone be so cruel? According to Myers, the answer lies in their relationship with themselves: “Most often, a lack of self-worth causes people not to value others. Someone who values themself would not be so callous towards another human being.”
People winter coat because it’s easier to try to revisit a past relationship than to meet someone new. It’s a selfish way to meet their own needs during the colder months. Maybe they don’t want to spend the holidays alone. Perhaps they feel lonely and crave snuggling in front of the TV. In any case, it’s toxic.
How To Avoid Getting Winter Coated
If an ex or former romantic interest reaches out, proceed with caution. Is their timing suspicious? Why did the relationship end in the first place? There are very few good reasons to rekindle things with an ex. You may be tempted to engage after receiving a DM from an ex, but that’s how you get roped into getting winter coated.
“The best way to avoid this is to stay out of the rearview mirror. Revisiting an old flame doesn’t typically work. Most often, it’s your romanticized idea of the couple you wanted to be that draws you back, but you quickly find the reality of why you broke up in the first place,” says Myers.
Perhaps you had amazing chemistry. Maybe you always wondered what your relationship could have been or craved closure after a bad breakup. Your feelings are valid. But feelings are not everything. Stay aware and aim to make decisions that will benefit your well-being even if your heart skips a beat at the sight of that former flame’s message. “Pride yourself in making good decisions. Choose yourself and be your own best friend over prey to the fleeting excitement of hearing from an old flame,” adds Myers. This is now especially important in the winter.