What is cushioning? A new dating trend that has probably happened to you
I feel like I need to check the Urban Dictionary every other day to stay up to date on dating. People always throw around terms like “ghosting” and I never know what the hell they’re talking about. Am I just old and off track, or are things really changing fast?
“Pillowing” is a terrible new dating trend—and it’s probably happened to you, too.
The term “cushioning” is the latest dating slang to cross my path. While this term may seem new, the actual concept is something that plenty of people have probably done before.
So, what is cushioning? According to Urban Dictionary, cushioning is “a dating technique where you have multiple ‘cushions’ along with your main piece, chatting and flirting with other people to soften the blow of your main breakup and not leave you alone.” .”
“Yeah, I don’t think it’s going so well with Dave. Luckily, I’ve cushioned him with Pablo and Gary.”
The term was apparently coined on The Tab when a group of girls detailed their personal techniques for avoiding loneliness and always having a potential partner waiting in the wings.
Some of the things they said were:
- “Essentially, ‘cushioning’ means that while you still have your main thing, you leave a few others behind, text them, and give them just enough attention so that if your main relationship goes down, you’re not completely left behind. alone and out in the cold. They are there to ‘soften’ the blow, so to speak.”
- “I had been seeing someone for a few months and it was going well, but I felt like the dust was starting to settle a bit. I still liked him, but I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted him as my boyfriend and I was insecure. Instead of talking about it, the sensible thing to do was go back to Tinder and find a few more guys to chat with in case the current one fell through.”
Isn’t love supposed to be this whimsical, naturally occurring phenomenon? It seems that when it comes to these girls, love is a strategic thing; play a game and win. In essence, padding is like an emotional form of cheating, which some consider the worst kind. This seems to be bad for everyone involved.
I mean, a lot of partners worry about the person they’re dating texting someone else, and that’s exactly what’s happening in this case. Moreover, these emotional side pieces become more and more widespread as the person doing the padding becomes enmeshed in a tangled web of lies. It all just seems a bit much to avoid being alone.
Today, the term “cushioning” has become commonplace. The Daily Mail wrote an article about it, and Mashable even touched on it, saying, “That doesn’t really help either. The only way to get the full benefit of a true relationship is to be together—all the way in, not always with one foot in the door.”
So is dating worth the mental stress of juggling a bunch of different people while trying to maintain an actual relationship? Is being alone REALLY that bad?
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Think of the wonderful time you could have if you suddenly found yourself single. Maybe padding really is just a big waste of time. What do you think?
Shannon Ullman is a writer focusing on travel and adventure, women’s health, pop culture, and relationships. His work has appeared in the Huffington Post, MSN, and the Matador Network.