What To Know About The Winter Coating Dating Trend

With December in full bloom so to speak, the weather has gone from chilly to officially cold, and people are spending more time inside binging their favorite series or opting to nap the winter away. It's this time of year that brings out the annual cuffing season, during which two people who may not have long-term potential lock it down from October to about Valentine's Day before going their separate ways. Cuffing season involves a lot of spooning, cuddling by the fire, and anything else cozy and relatively lazy — but good lazy.

While cuffing season is fairly innocent, especially if you both know it's not likely to be long-term, it's not the only dating trend that comes around this time of year. In fact, there's a far more toxic one that you may have even been a victim of but didn't realize it because you didn't know its name. Well, just for the record, any dating trend you've experienced, good or bad, probably has a name because you're certainly not the only one to have gone through it. It's just the way of the world when it comes to modern dating.

The latest trend sweeping the dating world? Winter coating. But sadly, it's not as cozy as it sounds.

What's winter coating?

As the temperatures drop, not only are we more likely to stay indoors, but it's the time of year when we reach for our winter coats. Most winter coats reside in the back of closets or, if you live in a shoebox-sized apartment, in storage somewhere. When it comes time to wear it, you dig it out, dust it off, and it's back in your life — but only for a brief period until it's time to rock spring clothing again. That's essentially what winter coating is: someone from your past reemerges suddenly and injects themselves into your life, making you their winter coat.

"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," dating expert Crystal Cansdale tells Huff Post. "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."

What makes winter coating different from cuffing season is that with cuffing both parties are in agreement about cuddling through the holidays with the likelihood of there being an end in sight. But with winter coating, the person reaching for their "winter coat" has the upper hand, while the "winter coat" is pretty much at their disposal.

How to prevent winter coating

When someone from our past reaches out, it can be hard to ignore them — especially if it was hard to move on because you still love them. But it's important to be wary about why they're coming back and what their intention might be. It's so easy to settle back into old patterns with an ex — you give them an inch and suddenly they're in your life again, 24/7.

"If an ex is reaching out with interest in making plans — whether the end goal is just to hook up or if it's getting back together — the first thing you should do is think back to the reason you broke up," Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of Dating.com, tells Popsugar. "Over time, people often forget the negative aspects of past relationships that caused them to come to an end in the first place."

Of course, if you think that you can temporarily get back with an ex and not fall apart when they move on, then go for it. But just keep in mind, if your ex starts messaging you this time of year, no matter what they say, they might be winter-coating you. Of course, there's always the chance they may not realize that's what they're doing, so it's ultimately up to you to decipher their true intentions and decide what's best for you and your heart.