“It’s autumn and I’m single – where did all my coupled-up friends go?”

“It’s autumn and I’m single – where did all my coupled-up friends go?”


What happens when you’re the only single person left in a friendship group during the so-called “cuffing season”? One writer shares all…

Last weekend, I had two bubble baths, finished reading a great book, cooked all my hearty and delicious meals from scratch and watched every TV episode I’d been meaning to catch up on. I even contemplated embarking ona marathon viewing of The OC from episode one, but resisted because there’s no pressing pause on Seth and Sandy Cohen. Sounds like a dreamy way to spend a rainy, autumn weekend, right?

However, while splashing around in the bubbles and using twice as much butter as the recipes recommended for my meals, anxiety loomed over me. Don’t get me wrong, I know that it sounds like sheer bliss, and I feel very privileged to be able to actually enjoy time in the flat I rent. So, why the anxiety? Because I realised that, if I’d asked my friends to go out and do something – they’d probably reply “can’t tonight, sorry!”

One friend spent the weekend moving in with her boyfriend. Another took her boyfriend home to meet the parents. My flatmate, who enjoyed a summer of hot flings, had decided she actually really likes the latest guy she’s seeing. Two other pals shared Instagram Stories of weekends away with their partners in the great, blustery and bloody freezing outdoors. And the rest – well, I guess they were in hibernation mode with their partners, having a lot of sex and deep pillow chats to the soundtrack of thunderstorms. Probably.

Sure, you might call me bitter. After all, I am the embodiment of the “it’s been 84 years” Titanic meme when it comes to relationships. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get my gist. I am always single at this time of year and my friends fall like the autumn leaves every time. Even the friends who made the unspoken promise to remain single with me until we’ve sampled every negroni in the city have started relationships.

Of course I’m happy for them (no, really, I am!), but I can’t deny that it’s led to anxiety-inducing and uncomfortable questions.

Am I destined to enjoy my own company for the rest of the year? Will I have to beg my friends to leave the warmth of their partners’ bodies and come out into the cold just to enjoy a cocktail with me? Will I have to give in and *gulp* start dating again? Could all this be the result of the so-called “cuffing” season?

Apparently, cuffing is the term used for the idea that people jump into a relationship in autumn or early winter to enjoy the holidays with someone. It also suggests that single people are keen to spend the shorter, darker nights snuggled up with someone while eating comfort food on the sofa.

Of course, it goes without saying that all of my friends are way too smart and independent to ever go out with someone solely to help tackle the autumn blues. But even I – a woman who last had a proper relationship before Brexit was even a thing – can see the appeal of locking myself indoors with a significant other right now.

And, while I am 100% at ease with my own company (hell, I relish it and dread the idea of having to share it in a new long term relationship), I do feel left behind, as my friends shut the door on those cold autumn nights.

Perhaps with party season ahead, cabin fever will force my friends to brave the cold and come out for a dance. In the meantime, I’m going to go and run another bath, with extra bubbles, and watch another episode of Outlander. Because, maybe one day, I’ll miss the time I could do whatever the hell I wanted to. 

Images: Getty

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