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Caitlin Gallagher
April 14, 2017 2:38 pm

Ah, the tricky world of modern dating. A new term emerges on the regular to describe some sort of action that you should probably know about if you’re on the market. This time around, the dating term is “cushioning” — and while the action the word describes is nothing new, you’ll want to get cozy with the definition, so you know what to look out for.

Although cushioning sounds like it could be kind of nice, it so isn’t. It’s all about having some people on the backburner while you’re kind of dating someone else.

The full definition of cushioning, according to the all-knowing Urban Dictionary, 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 break-up and not leave you alone."

The term started getting recognition when a few cushioners spoke to Babe about the practice. Whether you are in an undefined relationship, are bored in your current relationship, or are thinking your current person might dump you, you can — if you’re kind of a terrible person — have other people as cushions. You give these people just enough attention, so that you could potentially date them when your other relationship ends.

While cushioning might have gotten a name to define it, that doesn’t make the practice legitimate. After all, we prefer Ron Swanson’s advice of:

"When you have a fish on the line, you don't just drag it behind the boat. You either reel it in or you cut him loose."

But if you’re a fish in the sea, it’s better to know about cushioning than be ignorant so you can look out for signs that someone is just keeping you around for later. Isn’t love grand?

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