There are hundreds of perspectives on how to navigate the dating scene. And honestly, the plethora of advice we receive on the ins and outs of the whole thing can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Think about it. Apps like Tender have killed the small talk of the traditional “getting to know you” date and shifted toward the bolder approach of strictly hooking up. Society sets perimeters around which social classes, age, and gender should make the decision to go steady. Yet although we appear to be a bit all over the place, the dating world collectively joined forces to agree up one thing – cuffing season.
I first heard the term “cuffing season” circa 2010. Yet while everything else is trend today, gone tomorrow, this cuffing season seems here to stay.
It’s as if the International Committee on Dating convened to designate the months of October-January as the official cuffing season for finding someone worth cuddling with.
Without objection, the dating world agreed that this season should actually be a thing. And just like that, our timelines were filled with memes, comments, and even applications centered on the idea of cuffing someone.
Like the phenomena that it is, singles all around us start partnering up for the season. Meanwhile, others set their sights on doing all the right things to get “chose”. Because face it, as the outings and vacays simmer down, no one wants to be the single girl who doesn’t have a Bae.
It gets hella lonely, hella quick when your friends are pleasantly distracted by some secret beau they’ve failed to fill you in on cuz it’s sketchy AF or they know it won’t last.
Then there you are, searching for your own pleasant distraction for cuffing season while also:
- secretly hoping that he’ll actually be the one
- annoyed with the idea that you’re single
- frustrated that the process of finding Mr. Right is taking so long
- pissed off at the people who wasted your time for no good reason at all
- and possibly questioning whether getting your happily ever after is even in the cards for you.
The Frustrating Part
First let me start by saying, If anyone feels you, I feel you! The only difference is that I felt these feelings year round – no cuffing season necessary.
I was in my 2nd year of law school and everyone around me seemed to be finding their match. To put things in perspective, that December my best friend got married. Just a few weeks later, my younger sister followed suit. Instagram was on the rise, so I got the viewing pleasure of seeing more and more of the forever single folks I knew make their way into steady relationships.
I also learned of secret wives and girlfriends of seemingly eligible bachelors. I could see perfect law school romances unfolding the way I intended for my story to go. Romance even found friends who had never been in a committed relationship before.
I looked at the sum of events and surmised that I’d definitely be the next Mary Jane. Yet interestingly, a conversation with a professor converted into a mantra that I still carry with me as a married woman.
I sat down with my Civ Pro 2 professor to discuss my standing in his class and get his advice on all the things aspiring lawyers need to know before they venture off into lawyerdom. Interestingly enough, he paused, then asked the number question I dreaded answering. “So Ms. Williams- are you married or engaged?”
To understand the height of my frustration with this question, you’ve got to know how many times I was asked the same thing over the prior 6 years. It was like the number one thing that people were curious to know, despite the fact that there was clearly nobody’s ring on my finger.
I almost felt like people asked, already knowing the answer. And it was all because they were curious to know why not.
I came to this conclusion because their response to my coy “no” was always followed by, “well I don’t know why not. You are smart, beautiful, and sweet. Any man would be lucky to have you.”
The response is what irritated me the most. They’d rightfully described me. I remember thinking, “Then what’s the hold up?” If that’s all it took, why was I still single? In fact, over time I started questioning whether I had deeper issues that weren’t apparent to the naked eye.
Maybe I had a personality defect that ran men off or maybe my standards were too high. Either way, that oh too often response led me to start questioning myself. I wondered what was wrong with me. Why was love happening for everyone else but me?
As I sat there waiting for my professor to say what I’d already heard a thousand times, he shocked my senses. Instead of the “ you is smart, you is beautiful, and you is sweet” spill, he simply responded, “good, you’ve got things to do.”
I sat there a little in disbelief. That was a new one. But as I replayed what he said a few times, I determined that I liked it. I did have things to do, and I was doing them well.
My GPA was exceptional, I’d had the opportunity to spend the summer abroad, I was interning at the top law firms in the State, and I was on a mission to land my dream job.
It took a few silly relapses and a lot of heartbreak. But after that conversation with my professor, I developed a new mantra. Everyday when I woke up I reminded myself that I had things to do. Those things included career growth, traveling, fitness, and financial stability.
When I think back over my life, I never accomplished my goals when I was comfortable. I shifted my attention from school to my boyfriend. As a result, I always noticed a difference in my grades. I’d get complacent with everything from working out to spending quality time with my friends.
In essence, I was in the bad habit of putting things on hold while I made the relationship my world. To the contrary, During times of singleness, I put added emphasis on doing the things that revolved around me.
The Guide to Cuffing Season
If you’re still reading this post, it’s likely that you’re patiently waiting on me to reveal the single woman’s guide to cuffing season. So here goes. The technique is quite simple- turn cuffing season into grind season.
People talk about being selfish like it’s a bad thing. But in some instances, it is absolutely important to be selfish with your time. Don’t waste it by wishing it away on your future love story or by rushing into another dead-end relationship. Instead, use this time in your life to make all your wildest fantasies come true.
The Whole Truth
Understand that once you’re married, you never get your single days back. And although single days can often seem treacherous, they are a very special part of your journey.
This is the part where you get to prepare yourself to be the best wife you can be by transforming yourself into the best YOU that you can be. There is a strong correlation between what we give to ourselves and what we give to others. We can only give our best when we are at our best. Sometimes we never allow ourselves to become the best version of ourselves because we are rushing the process. Or even worst, we do not realize who we could be because we settle.
For years I cried myself to sleep over men who didn’t deserve me. I put up with lots of things I was too good for all because I was too impatient to wait. At some point in life, you have to understand that it is better to wait for God’s best than to delay it. When we get so impatient that we refuse to wait, we delay our process of finding Mr. Right with distractions that keep us going through the same cycles of hurt and disappointment.
As long as finding a man consumed me, I never found a man. Self was priority when my husband found me. I stopped doing the searching. Instead, I spent my days working to be my best me. In fact, I had no idea that our first date would turn into something more.
During this cuffing season, learn to wait on purpose. You’ll naturally push certain things to the back burner after marriage. While you’re waiting, pursue the things that will make you a better person. Focus on finding wholeness and repairing hurt that you’ve never dealt with.
Turn cuffing season to grinding season so that you’re more than ready when your beau comes along.
To this day, “I have things to do” is still my mantra. Although my focus shifted when I became a wife, I am constantly reminding myself of the importance of doing things for me. I give my husband all of my love and support. But my single days taught me the importance of also giving myself all of my love and support too.
Bottom line: Forget about cuffing season. Be selfish a little. Do you. Get better. Turn your drive up a notch. Don’t chase it, let it come to you *Drake voice.*
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