The Risks, Rewards and Rules of Backsliding: An Ode to De-Cuffing Season

Friends, the flowers are in bloom, the frost is thawing, the sun is out, your Tinder has an update. Sure spring is here, but with it comes something more tantalizing than that taste on the tip of the tongue that is the morning dew. That’s right, folks: it’s de-cuffing season; that time once a year where we emerge from our frozen hibernation and stretch those limbs (and other parts) and blink bleary-eyed at our surroundings. For those of us new to the concept, let’s take it back a step and acknowledge cuffing season: that time roughly around the start of autumn when you put your relationship status on lockdown to get that cute couples photo on Halloween, something to show the family at Thanksgiving, a nice gift around holiday season and a healthy habitual hookup.

*Let’s not get it twisted here, just because you met your boo around the fall and locked it down does not mean you’re cuffed and it’s time to split – that could be the real thing. But for the rest of you who know what I’m talking about and feel the sun on your skin, you might be thinking it’s time to get out there and live your life a bit again and see what’s lookin’ good out in the field…

To the recently un-cuffed and uncouth, however, I offer unto you a warning: Beware the Backslide. That’s right, folks; you know exactly what I’m talking about. The backslide to the last boo, the last hookup or the last fool who has come slithering back into your Facebook feed with the unexpectedly good pic or the seemingly-innocuous ‘hey there.’ It seems safe. It seems easy. Why take that risk of meeting someone new when someone you already know and have broken that barrier with is so readily available?

The smart friend might remind you of why it didn’t work out last time. And you’ll tell them that it was a while ago – even if it wasn’t.

The Samantha Jones of your group will tell you, ‘What’s the big deal?’ and encourage you to bang it out of your system. You’ll say, ‘Nah it’s not like that…’ – but you know it probably is, and that kind of excites you.

The supportive friend will offer no helpful advice or opinion whatsoever, “I guess it couldn’t hurt…” They’re probably the realest – and you hate them for it. You want them to condemn these thoughts and have you defiantly prove them wrong, or encourage it as a fling and you show them just how things changed and it might actually work out.

And the friend that says it’s a good idea and it will work out? They’re not your friend; they’re delusional at best or fake worst. And nobody wants to be told what he or she thinks they already know – and you’re no different.

So let’s hop back to that realest friend; the friend you resent. That’s this author – because, shit, this could be it. This could be the one spark that you needed in summertime when the world was bright and the days long and it felt good to be outside as a member of society. Maybe they grew up. Maybe they’re done messing around with bimbos and bros and just want you: the baddest piece they’ve ever tapped.

LOL. Please. It doesn’t matter what I say because you’re gonna “do you.” You’re gonna take that risk. And nobody says you shouldn’t. But you should be prepared for all outcomes:

They’ve really changed and wanna be cuffed too. All summer long. Say goodbye to that summer of singleness – the bachelor[ette] gloves are off as soon as they’re on and you’re in over your head. Did you think it through enough?  Yeah? Awesome, let’s move on.

They’ve said they changed and are ready to be with you – but your knight in shining armor is still that loser in aluminum foil. That’s right, all those things you hated about them and couldn’t stand? They’re still there. That second toe being longer than the big toe? Still creeps you out for some reason. And yeah maybe they still live at home or have no job. Whatever it is, you know better  now – right? RIGHT?!

You have to explain to your friends what’s going on.

“Yeah guys, I know I said I would never do it again but it was 3am and I saw they were on facebook chat. –oh and it’s been a month already.”

“Yeah I know, but I was really upset because I was going through old pics while drinking…”

“I swiped right to see what would happen – and we matched!!”

Whatever it is, in your head it won’t sound good enough. Your friends will react just as you expect them to. In the end, as the saying goes, “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” So why do you care?

The hardest thing to do is acknowledge that you don’t know what you want. It’s easy to be opinionated. It’s easy to say what you don’t want. It’s easy to not take risks. But it’s hard to make mistakes – even harder to pick yourself up after them. This author does not wish to encourage or discourage cuffing and de-cuffing (kinky or otherwise). This is normal – more than that, it’s healthy. Change is good. Getting antsy is okay – changing things up is okay.

But the keyword one might want to take away is change. Backsliding is not change. This is not going back for something you might have missed either. And maybe you say people change – they certainly do. But you all know why you split in the first place. And that’s where the relationship will pick up – where you left off. You’ll spend the rest of the time catching up to the present – if you can get over the past. Think on it. Think real hard. In the meantime, you’ll be left only with not-so-immortal words of Fabolous:

“Been naughty all year trying to end nicely; summer hoes turning into winter wifeys.”

Written by Ethan Roberts

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