It’s no surprise that cuffing season starts right before winter. When the temperature drops, suddenly, it’s a mad dash to find someone who will keep you warm at night (without hogging the covers). But having to battle the elements on your dates adds in a whole new set of challenges — as if dating wasn’t hard enough already.

Winter turns me into a weeping Edgar Allen Poe character. Suddenly, I too feel the still-beating heart under the floorboards and going out on a date feels like a task better fit for a masochist. Having spent the best-looking years of my life dating in NYC, I’m all too familiar with the struggles of winter romance. I’ve managed to walk a mile in heels through the snow without falling flat on my face (at least 80% of the time). I’ve also had the pleasure of getting on the 80-degree subway wearing all my winter gear and sweating profusely through my cute outfit. 

But dating doesn’t stop just because there’s snow on the ground. Instead, these seven challenges become all too relatable.

1. You get winter goggles.

Do I like you…or am I just cold? My mind starts playing tricks on me when the weather turns. Suddenly, my summer standards are gone and I’m willing to go out with anyone who has central heating and warm body temperature. I see you’ve been to 17 countries and speak four languages, but do you run on the hot or cold side? Inquiring minds want to know.

2. You have to decide between looking good and staying warm

The art of layering is a fine skill that you’re either born with or spend your whole life trying to master. Once you’re an expert, you never have to decide between being cute or being warm. The end goal is to get to warmth and shed your layers like a second skin. Those of us still working on that layering-game-hustle, though, may inadvertently find ourselves sweltering in a restaurant or freezing on the sidewalk.

3. You frantically ask someone if they’re sick before you kiss them goodnight. 

You better look like Tyrese and have the bank account of Jeff Bezos if I’m going to kiss you in the winter without asking you when your last flu shot was. Even though a quick makeout sesh is the best way to decide if there will be a second date, there’s nothing I fear more than catching a rogue cold. Please bring your medical records with you if you’re out with me in January. 

4. You have to dance around the idea of spending V-Day together.

You nabbed a boo to cozy up with and now you never have to leave the house. Things are looking on the up and up for you until February rolls around and you start to fear you’ll have to see each other on Valentine’s Day  — Cupid is your nemesis now. 

5. You’re forced to go outside. 

When you’re actively dating new people you have to meet in a public place. That puts you out in frigid temperatures, rolling the dice on a first date. And sometimes you have to weigh the options. Is your match worth putting foot warmers in your shoes? 

6. S.A.D throws a wrench in your dating game. 

Even though I’m armed with my special S.A.D lamps, multivitamins, and a playlist with all my happy songs on it, the winter blues still take a hold over me. Real talk: It’s hard to bring yourself to go on a date when getting out of bed is a daily struggle, but you know you want someone to watch Netflix with. It’s a catch-22 that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. 

7. You have too much baggage for a sleepover. 

Are you moving in? It looks like it when you’re lugging around sweaters, socks, and other layers in your overnight bag. When people at the office ask you where you’re going, don’t feel ashamed to say you’re just going to a neighborhood adjacent. Keep your head up, even if there’s actual sleet coming from the sky.