How To Protect Yourself From "Past Cuffing Season Pop-Ups"

It's that time of year again. What are you gonna do about it?

Love & Relationships

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine about someone who once told me that they had an annual week-long summer rendezvous that lasted for over 15 years with someone else. Yep — this individual would meet up with another person who lived in a different state, solely to have sex for a week straight, and then return to their city as if nothing ever happened. According to them, the only reason why this ritual romp eventually came to an end is because the other person decided to get serious about someone else; however, it wasn't until it ended that the person who told me the story realized how attached they actually had become to their sex partner (a cautionary tale). After I completed my lil' tale, my friend simply said, "Oh, I do that s — t every cuffing season. There are some people who I only talk to around this time of year, we f — k around and then that's that until the season comes around again."

Interesting. I mean, it's not like we don't all know what cuffing season is about at this point. By definition, it consists of linking up with someone (or a few individuals), for short-term partnerships (if you want to call them "partnerships"), in order to get through the bitter cold that is well on its way. Still, I can't help but to think that cuffing season has become such a big part of our culture these days, that when someone comes back into our life, solely and only for that purpose, that we may not be thinking things all the way through — that we may not be actually pondering if it truly is a good thing or if it's potentially a total waste of time or…even the beckoning of a potential unforeseen heartbreak. Or, if it could be blocking what really has the potential to be something more.

That's why I wanted to write about this. If, like clockwork, there are one or a few folks who like to pop up in the name of dear ole' cuffing season and you're just not sure if that's something that you want to put your precious energy into this year, I've got a few points for you to reflect on. Ones that will hopefully help you to make the decision that is ultimately best — for you.

Remember, Cuffing Season ALWAYS Has an Agenda


An author by the name of Lauren Weisberger once said, "Focus on yourself — do what you want, when you want, without having to consider anyone else's agenda." Agendas are interesting because, while it simply means having a list of things to do, if there is someone who ONLY hits you up around this time of year, the thing to keep in mind is that you're "something to do"…only right now. What I mean by that is, I'm a firm believer that we make time for what's important — that "being busy" is a kinda nice way of saying, "You're not a priority to me right now." So, if that guy has made the time to reach back out to you now yet hasn't any other time in the year, it's not really about your needs; it's all about his wants.

I don't care how he finesses it, romanticizes it or spins it — ole' boy could've just as easily hit you up in June as he did in September or October. So, if there is a large part of you that's considering letting him back in (pun intended and not intended at the same time), please keep in the forefront of your mind that there is definitely an agenda attached — and building something solid, I'm 89.9 percent sure, has very little to do with it.

Are You Horny, Lonely or Just…Bored?


So, what if you read all of what I just said and you're like, "I hear you. I'm still gonna answer his text, though." OK, then my follow-up point would be, "why?". So much is always revealed in the why of what we do what we do. Are you going to entertain this guy because you're horny? And if that's the case, were you not horny a couple of months ago or sometime even before that? What did you do to "ease your cravings" then? And why can't whatever-it-is-that-you-did work now?

Or maybe you didn't find a way to "scratch your itch" because you knew that fall would be rolling around, soon enough, and "he" is the one you wanted to, umm, spend your time with. If that's the case, it's important to also remember that cuffing season tends to be more about achieving physical goals than emotional ones. So, if getting back involved with him is about getting some and getting through the loneliness of the holiday season, don't forget that this is all a temporary fix; that he's gonna ease on out just as easily as he eased back in because, for him, it's not about him feeling lonely too. More times than not, it's probably about him wanting to link back up with someone who is more dependable instead of having to go through the trouble of having to find someone new. In other words, it's about you being less work than anything else.

And if it's because you're bored, I get that too. I used to do all kinds of bullshishery back in the day in the name of boredom. To that, I'll just say this — sex always comes with a certain amount of risk. STD risk. Pregnancy risk. Unnecessary drama and/or heartache risk. Hell, even if the "cuffing" that you're considering has nothing to do with copulation (make sure he knows that on the front end, by the way), like I say often when I publicly speak, "There is no condom for your heart." Countless nights being on the phone for hours on end, being booed up on the couch watching throwback Black movies, cooking together, hanging out, kissing and spooning — whatever it is that you want to do — that still cultivates a bond and cuffing season has a short shelf life.

So again, before moving full speed ahead, it's also a good idea to figure out the WHY behind what you are contemplating getting back into the cycle…again.

When’s the Last Time Your “Past” was in Your “Present”?


A motto that I personally live by is "life is meant to be lived in lines, not circles." In other words, have you ever watched a hamster, running nonstop, in his/her's cage before? Sigh. All of that work and getting absolutely nowhere. That said, something that amazes me about cuffing season is very few things that center around cyclic behavior gets the kind of praise that it does. Imagine going to a job once a year that never promotes you. Imagine getting back involved with a toxic friend, simply for old time's sake, once a year. Imagine returning to a habit that has proven to only temporarily please you and oftentimes comes to some unpredictable consequences, once a year. And yet, how is cuffing season any better than this? Especially when you're considering sharing it with someone you've already done all of it with before? In your past.

If you're someone who lives by "the past is the past" in virtually every area of your life, then a former cuffing season partner is probably not going to serve your best interest. At the very least, how about finding a new boo thang this year? And if what you're about to say is, we're getting down to the wire, so how can that happen? That brings me to my next point.

What’s the Better Alternative? (If You Think Hard, There Is One)


I've got a divorced client that I work with who, quite frankly, makes some of the dumbest relationship decisions that I've ever seen. It's mostly because he gets involved with women who he's barely even interested in, wastes months at a time, ends it and then after a few months have gone by, he finds a way to justify getting back involved with them again…only to "rinse and repeat" the same pattern — and then complain about it. Goodness, y'all, there are far too many people out here in the world who you've never met before to be out here settling for what's familiar, just for familiarity's sake.

While it can't be stressed enough that if you like all that cuffing season has to offer, you are grown and should go with it; if you know that deep down it is something that you constantly settle for — what alternatives are there? How about taking a trip to see some friends who are out of town? How about setting up an online dating profile? How about going on the blind date that some of your peeps have been trying to get you to go on for the past two cuffing seasons (at least)? How about going out with that guy who you keep saying isn't "your type" but you can't seem to get off of your mind? How about asking the guy out who you've been waiting to ask you out (I mean, y'all say you hate patriarchy, so what's the problem? Check out "What A Man Should Expect If YOU Ask HIM Out?")?

While cuffing season doesn't really rock my spirit one way or another, I will say that sometimes, always going for what's predictable and routine can hinder the newness that is trying to come into your life — if you would simply open yourself, your schedule and your life overall to doing something different (or differently). If deep down, you know that you're only considering cuffing season because it's what you're used to, at least jot down some other things that you could be doing instead. Your impromptu list just might surprise you — and proof to be better off if you follow through on it.

Never Forget: This Too Shall Pass


OK, so technically, as far as cuffing season goes, September is the beginning of "recruiting season". We're already in October. From what I've been told, the "championship games" end on Valentine's Day (chile). My point is this — if there's any time of the year that seems to fly by, it's cuffing season, mostly because the holidays transpire around this time too. This means that if you are a little bit tempted to give in to ole' boy, between Hallmark movies, holiday parties, days off and hanging out with friends and family members, it can be easier to avoid DMs, texts and midnight calls. Then, before you look up, it'll be late February and he'll be on to doing…whatever he was doing when he wasn't hitting you up (I know that's an "ouch"; I said it for a reason).

Believe you me, I know what it's like to have a blast-from-the-past-who-hit-THAT-spot ring your bell. I also know what it's like to feel pretty empowered after telling him, "Nah. I think I'm good" because here's the other thing to remember about cuffing season — guys from the past hit up people who they are pretty certain that they can do what they've always done to get what they want. Sometimes, it can do them some good to throw a wrench or two into their plans. And by "plans", what I mean is EGO.

Cuffing season is here and in full effect — no doubt about it. If the spirit is willing (to pass on it) but the flesh is weak, just remember that, as with all things in life, this too shall pass. Sooner than later in this case. He won't text forever. Just until he gets that you're not down. This means that this ho-hum ritual can end immediately or…eventually. It's totally up to you. Just remember your power. Either way. Whether you choose to get "cuffed up" or…not.

For more love and relationships, features, dating tips and tricks, and marriage advice, check out xoNecole's Sex & Love section here.

Featured image by Getty Images

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