Despite Its Name, The 'Winter Coating' Dating Trend Is Far From Cozy

When the weather outside is frightful, and all you want to do is cuddle on the couch with a special someone, you aren't alone. In fact, there's an actual term for this time of year: cuffing season. The dating trend first appeared on the online slang glossary Urban Dictionary and has since earned a spot in the legitimate Merriam-Webster dictionary, proving how mainstream the term has gotten.

Since its conception in 2011, cuffing season has paved the way for more relationship trends and terms. From the "guardrailing" dating trend that helps you set boundaries to "snow storming," which involves ending a cuffing season relationship, it doesn't matter where you're at in your relationship, there's probably a term that best describes it.

Although some of these dating trends may seem hurtful, it's beneficial to adequately put a name on some classic toxic behaviors that creep in during the dating and relationship stages. And — shocker — there's a new dating trend this winter that's a lot less warm and cozy, despite its name. If you've ever experienced that ever-so-common loneliness during the colder months, and your thoughts go to a specific person from your past, then you'll resonate with "winter coating."

Are you tempted to hit your ex up during cuffing season? You may be winter coating

Ex's come and go... and sometimes come back again. Once cuffing season hits, and you find yourself in need of love and affection, you may wonder what your former lover is up to. Introducing: winter coating. The new dating trend involving an ex is all about warming up those cold winter days with a past flame.

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager discussed this trend on "Today with Hoda and Jenna," which was posted on their TikTok. In the video, Kotb describes this trend as "when you go back to that old standby guy who you dated. Remember the one?" she says through an audience of giggles. "The one who you're like, 'Oh God, alright, I'll just call him. It's winter time.' You want to be cozy with somebody you know, so you just go back to that old shoe."

Maybe you're desperate, maybe you're impatient, or maybe you're just lazy, as described by New York-based relationship expert Susan Winter. "We get lazy in the winter, and it's comfortable to have somebody right here with you without having to go hunting for someone new," she told USA Today. The downside to this trend? Once the snow melts and the birds begin to sing, that old flame is dumped — again. This is where the toxicity comes in because you're ultimately using someone as a temporary placeholder until the weather warms back up.

Why winter coating isn't the best idea

While many people fall into temptation and send that sneaky text to their ex to cure their winter blues, it may not be a healthy choice. "It can feel good to have the comfort of someone familiar during the cold winter months but, ultimately, getting back with an ex — especially due to loneliness or laziness — is a road to heartache," certified relationship coach Damona Hoffman told Bustle.

Before going back to an ex, ask yourself: why did it not work out the first time? Then decide if you're willing to take that chance again. According to dating expert Maria Sullivan, "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," she told PopSugar. "Over time, people often forget the negative aspects of past relationships that caused them to come to an end in the first place."

And if the plan is to let your lover go once the temperatures rise, as this dating trend entails, then it may cause more harm than good — especially if your temporary flame isn't in the loop on your end-of-winter scheme to say sayonara. So, if you plan on winter coating someone, be honest with your intentions. If you can't do that, you probably should hang up that winter coat and grab a blanket for one instead.