What Is Cushioning In Dating?

Everything Gen Z Needs To Know About Cushioning, Because You May Be Guilty Of It

Have you been guilty of this?


You know how experts are saying quarantine is actually the perfect time to find love? Well, while it does make sense since more and more people are putting emotional connection above physical connection right now, it's important to be careful that the loneliness you're feeling in isolation isn't causing you to ignore red flags for the sake of having someone to talk to.

Because the reality is, whether you're single or already in a relationship — quarantine or no quarantine — everyone has their own dating problems. Some of which have come up during the pandemic, like zumping, for example, but some of the classics like ghosting, zombieing, negging, breadcrumbing, and gaslighting still exist as well. (One sign of hope? Catfishing may be a thing of the past thanks to people now being comfortable with FaceTime dates, but that's a convo for another time).

While cushioning has always been another classic dating prob, it's been rearing its ugly head during the pandemic as people (yes, even those in relationships) yearn for connection and stability. What is cushioning, you ask? Here's everything you need to know.

What is cushioning?

According to the Urban Dictionary definition above, cushioning is:

"A dating technique where along with your main piece you also have several 'cushions,' other people you'll chat and flirt with to cushion the potential blow of your main breakup and not leave you alone."

In other words, kind of like benching, it's having backup plans in case your heart gets broken by your girlfriend, boyfriend, or if your relationship isn't defined "the one you like the most."

Is cushioning always a bad thing?

Though dating and exploring connections with multiple people while you're single is normal and often necessary in order to find the connection you're looking for, cushioning is problematic for many reasons. The problem begins when the "cushioner" is no longer just exploring who they want to be with and actually knows which of the people they're dating is the frontrunner and which are the "cushions." Why? Because at that point (when they know), one, the "cushions" are being led on and chances are they have no idea they're just "backup options," and two, the "main piece" is being deceived in the process — especially if you two were exclusive, in which case cushioning is cheating.

I'm the one cushioning and I didn't even realize it. What should I do?

Good news is, you've been enlightened! Start by being open with the "main piece," for lack of a better phrase. Tell them you've been talking to other people and explain your level of connection with them and why you were doing it. Be open and vulnerable so that the two of you can decide where you want the relationship to go from there. This will likely lead to the "exclusive" talk, but if not, it will allow you to set boundaries together.

After you've spoken to the "main piece," tell your cushions you're in a relationship — don't ghost them, just be honest and then move on.

What should I do if I learn I'm someone's cushion?

My advice? Run. You are more than someone's option. You're more than a backup plan for when things fall apart for them.

What should I do if I learn the person I've been seeing has cushions?

This one really depends on whether you two were exclusive or not. If you were and they were deceiving you, they're choosing to cheat on you and that's your decision to make. In this case, my advice is the same as the above. Leave. You deserve more.

With that said, if the two of you weren't already exclusive, you should have that conversation now and establish your boundaries and expectations for your relationship moving forward. If they're not willing to let the others go, they're not the one for you.

If you're reading this, no matter what the reason, you deserve a self-care night... trust me. Consider buying yourself a face mask or a bath bomb.

As an Amazon Affiliate partner, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

Follow Swoon on Instagram.

Report this Content
Health and Wellness

This Survey Shows How Quarantine And Drinking Relate, And I Can't Say I'm Surprised

"5 o'clock somewhere" is more of a guideline now than ever.

As it stands, and my friends and I are finally 21. We're extremely excited to be able to go out to bars and "get lit" as the kids say, but due to the pandemic, all of our plans have been put on hold. We'd rather wait and go when it's safe than risk spreading the infection and hurting our loved ones. So, we've all been quarantining apart, getting on the occasional wine zoom call. This made me wonder if anyone else our age were doing the same thing.

Then, I discovered this survey: We Surveyed Millennials And Gen Z About Their Quarantine Drinking Habits — Cheers. Here are 3 things that I discovered through the survey results.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Easy Summer Mocktail Recipes You Can Make With Items You Probably Already Have On-Hand

Keep these drinks in mind next time you're visiting your local farmer's market — you might want to grab some extra mint and limes.

With Summer 2020 in full swing comes the addition of many fresh fruits and vegetables to brighten up your dinner plate, but also your glass! Farmers markets are my personal favorite place to look for produce that is in season to make fun mocktails with.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Ways To Celebrate The 4th of July — Without Fireworks Or Social Gatherings

We created a list of things to do since social distancing may create a dent in our typical, planned traditions.

With the Fourth of July on Saturday, the usual tradition of popping fireworks, grilling out, and being surrounded by family has been modified due to the pandemic. Whether you're a loner or surrounded by family, there will most likely be some changes to your celebrations.

For weeks on social media, people across the country have been complaining that they have been subjected to fireworks going off at all times of the night into the early morning. This has sparked concern and questions about why this is happening and how are people even obtaining the fireworks.

Keep Reading... Show less

Carb And Cheese Lovers, Unite — These Are The Best Mac And Cheese Recipes On The Internet

Whether you need to get through the current pandemic or want to spice up your Fourth of July celebrations, these mac and cheese recipes will do just that.


My favorite food is mac and cheese, and it always has been. All it requires is noodles and cheese — it's so simple to make. Although it's my favorite, it can also get kind of mundane because it's such a simple recipe. This, of course, has led to many people all over the world experimenting with the American staple.

With our lives currently being turned upside down due to the pandemic, a lot of people are seeking comfort. These are scary times, and in order to make it day-to-day, we need to have our favorite foods as a standby. These recipes can also be used during your celebration of the Fourth of July.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

17 Things To Make You Feel GOOD This Week

Because some purchases are just necessary.

Y'all, we're struggling. You don't even have to tell me, I know. What a mess we're all in, right? This year is not going how we planned and the world has turned into one giant struggle bus. I guess you could be super philosophical about everything happening for a reason, but sometimes life is just hard.

There are plenty of ways to bring yourself out of whatever rut you're in. You could go for a run, have a snack, or read a book. Or, if you're really looking for an adrenaline rush, go shopping. This is obviously not going to solve the world's problems with one swift click of the "checkout" button, but hey, it may just give you the little boost you need today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Wore A Butt Mask Every Day For A Month, And It's Officially Essential In My Daily Self-Love Routine Now

Thirty days later, my booty's as smooth as a baby's.

- Blissfully unaware that butt-care beyond squats was even something I should be considering in my self-care routine, I tried one of Bawdy Beauty's butt masks for the first time a month ago.

- I've never really given my butt a second though till I took a look at improvements that could be made with the mask — if one of the hydrating, firming, detoxifying, or brightening masks in the kit I received could either smooth out cellulite or tone my skin a bit more, I wasn't going to complain.

- Each Bawdy Beauty sheet mask comes in an individually-packaged sheet, soaked with a serum I massaged into my skin after removing said sheet. The clay butt mask comes in a convenient stick format I simply draw on to my skin and leave to set for about 10 minutes before hopping into the shower.

- I set a goal of committing myself to butt-care every day for one month. Between the regular use of sheet masks, clay masks, and their CBD Butt Balm in between, I didn't have many expectations.

- I thought the whole concept may just be a gimmick, but my butt has never looked so toned in my life, and the cellulite I had is almost completely gone. I wear one every single day when I get the chance.

I'm incredibly skeptical when it comes to marketing ploys and gimmicks in the beauty world. I'll be the first cynic to try out the latest serum on the market every influencer is raving about just to negate every grandiose claim it makes.

Keep Reading... Show less

Friends, you don't have to be quarantined to use a personal massager, you know? Because, sure, quarantine made for a lot of extra quality time with yourself, but no matter what phase of the reopening process you're in, it's normal and actually healthy to take care of your sexual needs on your own.

Keep Reading... Show less

5 Books I Didn't Realize Are About Gay Women

If you read primarily LGBTQ fiction, then this list might help to expand your TBR list.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Frequent readers of LGBTQ fiction might feel like they're reading the same book over and over again, with few exceptions.

Most of these books were on my TBR list for months and I didn't realize they were about gay women until I was reading them, hopefully, this list of books can interest you in expanding your reading material and seeking out different stories.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments