Why Cushioning Does Nothing Good for Dating
By Thao Nguyen
Social media, dating apps, and changes in culture have definitely made modern dating vastly different than it was in previous eras. The “rules,” which were hazy to begin with, have become even more muddled than ever. Perhaps one of the most confusing things to come of the Tinder/Bumble era is cushioning.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with cushioning, its the practice of having one or more people on the side that you can fall back on in the case of a breakup with your “main” romantic partner. Basically, having a cushion to lessen the blow of a breakup. In other cases, cushioning can also mean stringing someone along, with the intention of dropping them once someone “better” comes along. If either of these scenarios sound messed up and immature, it’s because they are. If you don’t see an issue with cushioning and you're actively doing it to someone, then chances are, you’re a jerk. Sorry, not sorry.
Cushioning, like ghosting, breadcrumbing, or benching, is just another way that people will exploit someone’s feelings, time, and trust. It’s a new way for people to be unaccountable and uncommitted to their relationships. Even in cases where cushioning is used in a casual relationship, this behavior cements the disregard for others’ feelings and investment that has become prevalent in our culture. No matter where you and your partner fall on the relationship-seriousness scale, there has to be some regard for the other person involved. If one of you is taking the other for granted, and using others as a safety net, then things will only end badly. At the end of the day, a relationship isn’t going to work out without respect, honesty, and responsibility.
If you’re cushioning because you’re afraid of things ending, things are going to end.
If you’re cushioning because you’re afraid of being alone for any amount of time, you’re probably not ready for a relationship.
If you’re cushioning because you’re waiting for something better to come along, then you definitely don’t deserve “better,” nor do you deserve the person you have now.
It’s time we brought honor and dignity back into dating. Just because the internet makes meeting and dating other people incredibly easy, doesn’t mean we should be exploiting that. Nor should we be taking advantage of the fact that it’s easy to hide things from our partners. Be accountable. Be respectable. Be caring. Be the kind of person you’d want to date.