“Cushioning” Is The New Dating Thing That Everyone’s Mad At Young People For


I’m getting a little fed up with the constant stream of articles on my feeds that read as condescending chastising directed at people my age – we’ll call them “millennials” – especially when it comes to how we go about playing the dating game.

Is there a lot of shit wrong with my generation? Yes. We care too much about our Instagram followers and less about our 401ks. We spend what little money we have on experiences. We watch trashy TV (sidebar – Bachelor in Paradise premieres August 8th. Get that in your calendars). As a generation we get called out on a lot of our schtick. But the one place I don’t think it’s fair, at all, is in the dating sphere.

We got reprimanded for ghosting. For breadcrumbing. And now? Now we’re getting slam balled online for this little thing called “cushioning.” It’s when you intentionally gain 15 lbs to add some cushion for the pushin’. . . just kidding. It’s when you’re in a relationship but you still flirt with a bunch of other people.

That’s it. That’s what that it. There’s actually a name for it! And apparently only millennials do it! And apparently it’s frowned upon!

Haven’t people been doing that for centuries? Eons? Millennia? Epochs? It’s just human behavior; it’s natural instinct. But for some reason, it’s given some dumb name, slapped onto the millennial brand as some sort of black spot, and berated online by some curmudgeon who probably got their heart broken by a millennial.

Per NY Post:

Millennials have found a new way to sabotage relationships.
“Cushioning” is a newly coined dating term wherein a partner in a monogamous relationship still flirts with other people — so if their main relationship goes kaput, there’s a backup ready.

“I was seeing someone for a few months and it was going well, but it felt like the dust had started to settle a bit,” Anna, a cushioner who didn’t want to disclose her full name for personal reasons, told the Tab. “I still liked him, but wasn’t entirely sure I wanted him to be my boyfriend and was in limbo. Instead of talk about it, the rational thing to do was to go back on Tinder and find some more boys to chat to, just in case the current one fell through.”

Another cushioner, Lauren, said that she was still messaging lads while “hooking up” with her steady.

“It was always awkward when their names would light up my phone while I was sleeping over [my boyfriend’s] place, but I felt like I needed them as an insurance policy,” she told the Tab.

Meanwhile, Rosie believes cushioning lets her channel her neurosis on guys she’s not that interested in, while still keeping her cool with her main flame.

“When I really like a guy, I find a ‘B team’ guy to keep on the side to channel my crazy,” Rosie told the Tab. “I go on dates with him before I go out with ‘A team,’ literally as a practice round.”

Cushioning is the most recent term young people have come up with to articulate petty dating practices instead of communicating like rational adults.

Previous trends have included “ghosting,” where people gradually stop responding to messages and then disappear on their romantic interests, and “breadcrumbing,” where singles continue to leave traces of hope for dating prospects that they’re not actually that interested in.

The title of that article is “new dating trend proves millennials continue to fail at relationships.” Hey, news flash, we fail at relationships, but not because of shit like “cushioning.” Blame it on all of our inflated egos and sense of self-worth. Blame it on the participation trophy PC culture we were raised in, a generation of people who have trouble being told they’re wrong. BUT, do not blame it on cushioning.

Any normal, sexually-charged person is going to get their flirt on. Doesn’t matter what your relationship status is. When you’re dating someone, the flirting tends to die away a little. Sometimes the passion fades. It doesn’t mean I’m going to go out there and take Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids to pay dirt with some random floozie at the bar! It just means I might act like I want to, get my flirt on at the bar, maybe keep her number to put a new prospect in the pipeline.

I don’t see how “cushioning” is proof that this generation is bad at relationships. I’d say this is even almost responsible! One batter strikes out? Good thing you’ve got someone on the on-deck circle to step up and see if they’ve got any better luck.

Image via Shutterstock

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Boston Max

Spending my retirement fund at Trader Joe's and trying to remember to check my mailbox semi-regularly

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