New terms are appearing to describe attitudes that are becoming widespread in terms of issues related to love, or lack of love. Terms such as ghosting, benching or breadcrumbing are already part of the vocabulary of young people, as well as the concept we are going to discuss in this post: cushioning.
Cushioning is similar to breadcrumbing, which consists of sending flirtatious messages or non-committal signals to someone in order to keep him or her interested, when the person sending those signals does not really want to start a relationship with the person he or she is flirting with. However, cushioning goes further because it is done when the person is in a relationship or dating someone seriously. While in that relationship, he or she keeps some ‘cushions’, people he or she texts, flirts with or even goes on dates with to cushion the blow if the main relationship doesn’t come to fruition.
But what does cushioning mean?
It basically consists of keeping people interested in you in case your formal relationship doesn’t work out. It may sound dishonest or selfish, and it really is if no one knows your intentions.
Why do people look for ‘cushions’?
Cushioning is an avoidance tactic. It’s a way to avoid getting hurt, to avoid feeling vulnerable and to avoid giving yourself completely to a relationship. What is not taken into account is that when you avoid the possible negative emotions associated with love, the positive aspects are also lost. This way of life is tempting and can even go well and be effective at many times in our lives, but it is also somewhat restrictive as you don’t really open yourself up emotionally to anyone.
Beware of the emotional gap
Cushioning doesn’t just happen in new relationships, it can happen in established relationships as well. There are people who seek to satisfy certain emotional needs outside of their partner. In many ways it even seems logical. After all, it’s unrealistic to expect one person to meet all of our needs, so we need friends, family and a wider support network, but this shouldn’t mean flirting or lead to situations that make a partner feel betrayed or turn your relationship into a toxic one.
How to find out if you are Cushioning
Cushions usually evolve from friendship and the line between being a good friend and a cushion can be blurred. The process is usually gradual, that is, you form a friendship with someone and there is a spark of attraction that you ignore. Gradually things become more complicated as conversations focus on your romantic problems, the number of messages a day increase and the idea that you could be together if you weren’t in another relationship is no longer taboo. At that point you’ve already got a cushion.
The problem is not really having a trusted person to discuss personal issues with, but trusting outsiders more than your own partner. This will lead to a great deal of mistrust and unnecessary temptation. Whenever possible, problems in a relationship should be discussed within that relationship, as the involvement of other people in intimate matters will only complicate matters, and even more so if infidelity occurs.