By Suzannah Weiss. Photos: Getty Images.
There are so many dating terms to describe being a jerk to people you go out with that sometimes it's hard to keep track. First, there was ghosting, the practice of disappearing on someone you're dating without a trace. Then there was benching, or keeping someone you're sort of interested in on the sidelines while you explore more interesting options. Then came breadcrumbing—leaving little crumbs of hope for someone who's pursuing you without ever pursuing them back.
And now there's one more to add to the D-Bag Dating Dictionary: "Cushioning," or keeping in touch with other romantic prospects while you're in a relationship so that the breakup doesn't suck as much.
Urban Dictionary defines "cushioning" as "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." As in: "Yeah, I don't think it's going that well with Dave. Luckily, I've been cushioning him with Pablo and Gary."
Those who do this may know their relationship is going downhill, but might be too scared to jump ship without anyone waiting on the dock. Or, they might be happy in their relationships but scared of getting dumped with nobody to comfort them.
Cushioning isn't always used for breakup insurance, though. One woman told The Tab she does it when she first starts dating someone new. "When I really like a guy, I find a ‘B team’ guy to keep on the side to channel my crazy," she said. "I go on dates with him before I go out with A-team, literally as a practice round."
Another confessed, "Even now that we’ve [been] officially (and happily, might I add) dating for over a year, I’m definitely guilty of keeping the occasional guy around who so blatantly flirts with me and would hop in at the chance—half because I don’t mind the attention, but mainly because if things didn’t work out, I’m glad I know I would have a floating device when the ship goes down.”
Yeah...Is it just us or does cushioning sounds a lot like emotional cheating? We're not sure what's worse, that or breadcrumbing—though they probably go together quite often. Either way, we'd bet neither of these theoretical dating terms works out super well in practice. Breadcrumbs do not make much of a cushion.
This story originally appeared on Glamour.
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