What does Cushioning mean?

Keeping a backup romantic partner in case your current relationship ends

Cushioning is a dating strategy where a person keeps multiple romantic options open, even while in a relationship. The term comes from the idea of using these extra options as a “cushion” to soften the blow in case of a break-up.

This tactic is often used by people who want to protect themselves from the hurt and disappointment of a failed relationship. By keeping options open, they aim to reduce the emotional impact of a potential break-up.

The one who does the cushioning, or the “cushioner”, often flirts with other people through text messages, direct messages, or in-person chats. These interactions often occur in settings separate from their current partner, such as at work or in social gatherings.

Interestingly, the cushioner can be quite secretive about their existing relationship. This is usually out of fear that revealing their status might scare away their back-up options.

However, it’s important to note that cushioning is not a sign of a healthy and committed relationship. It involves emotional cheating and indicates a lack of full commitment to the relationship’s success.

Example for using ‘Cushioning’ in a conversation

Hey, did you hear about Sarah and Mark? They just broke up. 😒

Oh no, really? That’s too bad. Do you think Sarah was cushioning? πŸ€”

I wouldn’t be surprised. She always had other guys on the side, just in case. πŸ™„

Wow, that’s not cool. It’s not fair to Mark or the other guys she was leading on. πŸ˜”