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I’ve heard many people say that it’s Cuffing Season — Meaning: The time of year when it gets colder, and people start looking for someone to spend the holidays and winter months with. John Mayer has a great song about this called St. Patrick’s Day with the lyrics, “Here comes the cold. Break out the winter clothes and find a love to call your own … Who knows what will be? But I’ll make you this guarantee. No way November we’ll say our goodbye. When it comes to December, it’s obvious why. No one wants to be alone at Christmastime. Come January we’re frozen inside making new resolutions a hundred times. February won’t you be my Valentine? And we’ll both be safe ‘til St. Patrick’s Day.”

I used to think this was just a guy thing, but I’ve been hearing women this year saying they just want a man for the winter months. I’m not really a seasonal relationship kind of girl, but I think this is something we need to talk about.

To cuff, or not to cuff … That is the question

If this is something you’re looking for, you should be very clear about that with anyone you date. They should also be clear about it with you, if that’s what they’re interested in doing. There’s nothing wrong with a short-term agreement (of any kind) if, and only if, both parties agree to it.

Now, I must caution you about something. If you’re starting to fall for someone who has made it clear they only want someone short-term or want something casual and you want a long-term commitment, do not under any circumstances continue seeing this person. I know many of us think we can change another person’s mind, but that is a fantasy. It’s Hollywood smoke, mirrors and illusions. I can hear some of you right now saying, “But if he/she sees how great I am, all I have to offer them and how much better their life is with me in it, they will change their mind.” Nope. They won’t. Trust me when I tell you that you can be the most wonderful, loving, caring, considerate, kind, virtuous, incredible person on the planet, and it still won’t be enough to change another person’s mind. I don’t say this to hurt your feelings or discourage you. I say it because it’s the truth, and I want to set you up for success rather than failure.

What is most likely to happen is that one person will fall in love while the other is headed for the door and looking for the next person to be with. When your heart is broken and you’re ugly crying and begging them to stay, they’ll tell you, “You knew what I wanted from the very beginning. I told you this was temporary.” At that point, you’ll have to take responsibility for your actions, let them go and hire me to coach you on No Contact. (All my coaching rates are deeply discounted until Dec. 31, 2020. So, now’s a good time to lock in that rate.) You can avoid this hurt and pain by being very clear — first with yourself, then with others — about what you really want for your life. Then, you can be empowered to make the best decisions for yourself.

If you’re serious about finding a long-term relationship, you need to be very clear about this from the beginning with anyone you date. You must firmly set that boundary into place and enforce it. Trust me when I tell you that some people will try to convince you that you really don’t want that or that a short-term, casual connection could someday turn into a long-term relationship if the sex is good … Don’t believe it! If you’re old enough to read this and comprehend what I’m saying, you’re too old to believe in fairy tales or pipe dreams. Knowing yourself and what you want is the only way to set boundaries and attract yo ur desires.

Accidentally cuffed

We’ve talked about what to do if you’ve decided to go into a short-term, Cuffing Season relationship — Be upfront about it, enjoy the time you spend together and expect it to be over around St. Patrick’s Day. So, what do you do if you find yourself in this type of situation without realizing it? If you’ve read any of my recent work, you know that I’ve become a big believer in dismissing people and giving them permission to leave your life — a.k.a. letting go. I become Audrey Hepburn’s princess character in Roman Holiday and tell people, “You have my permission to withdraw (leave).” I’ve always been a believer in this, but it hasn’t been until 2020 that I’ve actually learned to do it. By practicing loving myself first, and being grateful for everything that happens to me, I’ve come to a place where it’s easier to let people go. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its moments of pain — especially when I’ve allowed someone to get close to me — but it has become much easier to do.

For feminine-energy people, part of the healing process in letting go is practicing No Contact. I’m writing a whole book about it … That’s how important I know it is. In a blog post, Lauren Gray (MarsVenus.com) explained the differences men and women have in ending connections, and how men can just disappear — even after just one date. Most of us know this silent treatment as ghosting, and I explain it in detail and the research on it in the new book I’m writing. “Men don’t respond with, ‘I’m not interested. Stop texting me!!’ because it’s easier to ignore the problem than to deal with it and be the bad guy.” Scientific research backs this up.

If a masculine-energy person actually tells you to leave them alone, they mean it, but Gray said it usually isn’t detrimental or forever. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, he wants to be alone for a while to cool down, relax, let off steam, take a break from thinking about somebody else’s needs — and it has NOTHING to do with his lovely partner. After a short cave time, he’s ready to play again,” she wrote. “As long as she doesn’t get needy or angry during this critical cave time, the relationship stays strong, and ‘Leave me alone’ or ‘I need space’ isn’t a big deal — it’s just straightforward communication.”

In the codependency recovery movement, the practice of dethatching in love is often talked about. It’s letting go of your expectations that the other person will change, separating yourself from them — both physically and emotionally — and being open to allowing them back into your life if they come back showing you through their words and behavior that they have changed — I call this approaching the throne correctly. When a connection or relationship is over, there’s nothing you can do about it except focus on your thoughts and reactions. Learning to love yourself first and being grateful for the experience (trust me when I say there are people out there who have never been in love or had someone pay attention to them at all … You’re actually lucky to have these experiences even if they didn’t turn out the way you wanted) will strengthen and empower you to make better, wiser choices and attract the quality person you’re longing to have in your life.

Senée Seale is a book author, mental health professional and life guide passionate about helping people create positive changes in their lives and relationships. Are you ready to start attracting positive things into your life through practicing daily affirmations? Get your free copy of The Princes Guide to Gratitude Affirmations. If you’d like to work directly with Senée, she’s offering deeply discounted coaching and counseling rates through the end of 2020.