Know About ‘Cushioning’; The Shady Dating Trend

ED Times
3 min readMar 2, 2023

By Palak Dogra

In the era of social media, trends keep coming and going. At times, we love certain trends, and sometimes we hate them from the bottom of our hearts.

Recently, a new kind of dating trend, known as “cushioning, “ started to go viral, and people have opinionated that it is one of the shadiest dating trends to exist!

Other viral trends like zombieing, whelming, and benching; from their names, seems scary. But that’s not the case.

According to Urban Dictionary, cushioning happens when someone is entertaining other potential romantic partners while they are still in a relationship.

Tennesha Wood, dating coach and founder of the , a matchmaking firm, says that cushioning is emotional cheating with the partner. “You’re not necessarily physically cheating, but you are engaging in a behaviour with a potential romantic interest that you’re probably not telling your partner about,” she said.

Well, some consider that the trend isn’t all bad because when we are at the beginning of a relationship and unsure about our partner, we tend to look for another, and Maria Sosa, an expert for relationship app, , says that it is very common. However, she added, “After you have defined the relationship and you’ve said, ‘Okay, we’re committed to each other,’ then it gets a little bit into that betrayal area.”

Why Does ‘Cushioning’ Happen?

Cushioning is a result of fear, avoidance, and insecurity that stems from a relationship. People fear that a relationship won’t work, and that’s why we look for another partner. The trend gets its name, ‘cushion’, because when we look for other partners, we are looking for someone who might cushion the breakup and make it less painful to deal with.

Another reason why cushioning happens is that the person doesn’t feel fulfilled or satisfied in his/her current relationship. The case could be that their partners aren’t emotionally available for them or communication is missing between the two. Hence, the person starts to look for another partner, here cushion, to fulfill those missing needs.

Sosa explains that the trend justifies our human behaviour. When a problem arises, we always look for ways to mellow it down and reduce the pain it can cause us. For instance, when we have a headache, we take painkillers or when two friends fight, we try to sort it out and mend things.

Similarly, we also try to cushion ourselves by looking for a potential partner if our current relationship ends. It is like if not plan A, then plan B, C or D. We always tend to have one foot out of our doors just to ensure that we get the cushioning we need.

Why Do We Call It ‘Shady”?

Sharing their views on the trend, a user wrote, “As if dealing with ghosting, breadcrumbing, and haunting wasn’t enough.”

“I can’t say I’m guilty of this because I usually don’t have enough success to have options. But I have thought about it. Luckily my most recent date went so well that even though I could have options I’m mostly avoiding”, said another user.

Well, though we are trying to help us out with cushioning, however, it is detrimental to a relationship. Of course, when a relationship begins, things are not entirely known and we have insecurity in our minds.

However, that doesn’t mean we look for someone else because if we do this once, we might do it again in our next relationship, and like that, the loop goes on.

Hence, instead, we must figure out the relationship, get to know others and communicate our problems. However, if things don’t change, we must end things first and then look for potential partners.

Originally published at on March 2, 2023.