First came ghosting and breadcrumbing and benching, and now we have… cushioning?
Cushioning, in case you’re not familiar, is the practice of buying yourself a little insurance while you’re in relationship. You chat or otherwise string along a few people — called “cushions” — so you have something to fall back in if you get dumped.
Ugh. At this point it’s actually amazing how many words we’ve invented for being an a-hole. This particular term was coined earlier this year when a few girls talked to Babe about the art of cushioning, and it’s been picking up steam ever since.
Here’s the thing, though: the act of cushioning isn’t new at all. It’s just a fancier word for an ancient practice better known as cheating. It’s one thing if you’re at the very beginning of dating someone and you’re not sure where it’s going. But if you’re spending serious time with a partner — and worse if he or she thinks you’re monogamous — giving others the sense that you’re still interested is dishonest and unfair to everyone involved.
Thanks to the proliferation of dating apps it’s easier than ever to keep a couple of people waiting in the wings, but that doesn’t mean you should. No matter what you call it, there’s nothing cheeky or clever about leading others on or not being fully committed to the relationship you’re in. Sure, cushioning may not be on the same level of terrible as having a torrid affair if you’re married, but it’s still not good.
It doesn’t really help you either. The only way to reap the full benefit of being in a real relationship is to be in one — all the way in, not with one foot always out the door. But the only way to get that reward is to accept the risk that occasionally you’re gonna get dumped and maybe you’ll even end up with a bruised or broken heart.
If you get dropped, you’ll just have to deal with it. You’re not a couch. No amount of cushions are gonna protect you.