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Cushioning in Relationships (11 Signs You're Doing It Without Even Knowing )

There are constantly new terms being brought to life in the world of dating, and ‘cushioning’ is certainly one of the newest, even if the concept of it has been around for a long time. The term ‘cushioning’ is where someone in a relationship keeps a selection of people on the romantic sidelines, just in case it doesn’t with the person they’re currently with. 

Typically, they will flirt with, or might even be romantically involved, with an array of people so that if, or when, their current relationship ends, they can quickly get involved with someone else. The people they’re flirting with provide a ‘cushion’ for them.

In this article we’re going to take a look at 11 signs you’re cushioning in your relationship, so you can stop it and enjoy the person you’re with, without needing a backup plan.

How Do You Know You’re Cushioning?

1. You flirt with a few people

you flirt with a few people

Do you have a few specific guys that you love flirting with? Do you constantly message the same ones to get your sexual or romantic kicks? 

If so, you could be labeling these guys as ‘cushioned’ in the back of your mind. Even if you think it’s harmless, by flirting with specific guys that you know are interested in you, you’re keeping them on the back burner just in case you and your current partner break up. You know that these guys are going to be there for you sexually or romantically when you’re single.

2. You’re certain that your relationship is going to fail

Everyone at some point has doubts about romantic relationships, but if you’re certain that your relationship is going to fail, you will naturally create a select number of guys that you can have as your back up plan if you do break up with your current partner.

3. You self-sabotage

Whether you blow things way out of proportion to create arguments or you keep your place messy because you know your partner hates it, self-sabotaging is very real. If you’re self-sabotaging your relationship, it could be because you have a few guys already ‘cushioned’ waiting for you if it all goes wrong.

4. You love receiving attention from others

You can’t help it, you love to receive attention from others, and therefore flirting with others, you get your kicks. You would rather receive attention from others than your current significant other.

5. You never want your partner to see your phone

Whether you still haven’t deleted that dating app or a guy in your DM’s is about to blow up your phone, the last thing you want is for your partner to pick up your phone. So, you’ve either always got your phone in your hand or you place it face down when you’re around him.

6. You’re wary of committing to anything

You’re someone that’s terrified of commitment. You don’t want to commit to your current partner, but you don’t necessarily want to be single, so instead, you have a select number of guys that you can rely on to ease the stress you feel when it comes to commitment.

7. You reply to others faster than you reply to your partner

You reply to the guys you’re cushioning faster than you reply to your partner’s messages, because you prefer the talks you have with them, and you need to keep them on the hook in case something goes wrong with your current guy.

8. You have a ‘grass is greener’ mentality

You constantly think that being with someone else rather than your current significant other will bring you more joy, and this is why you need to keep guys on the side in case you want to jump ship to a ‘happier’ life.

9. You like having others at your beck and call

you like having others at your beck and call

Face it, you absolutely love having a select number of guys constantly at your beck and call, whether they’re ready to jump into bed with you or take you for a romantic date.

10. You thrive off having a choice

You’re not someone that only wants one option, so instead, you create a choice for yourself by having several potential partners wanting you at the same time. Although you might not end things with your current significant other, you feel good knowing that you have a choice of lovers.

11. You’re terrified of being alone

Deep down, you know that you’re using other guys as ‘cushions’ because you’re terrified of being alone. You don’t want to be by yourself, so rather than waiting to become single, you’ve found a way to always be with someone.


What is cushioning in dating?

The term ‘cushioning’ is where someone that’s already in a relationship keeps talking to and flirting with a couple of people so that they have a romantic or sexual backup plan in case their current relationship fails. Hopefully, after reading this article you’re aware of the signs of cushioning! 

What is the meaning of cushioning?

As mentioned above, the term ‘cushioning’ describes a situation that occurs when somebody already in a relationship makes the decision to keep actively talking to, flirting with, and even potentially dating others just in case their current relationship ends.

What does seriously dating mean?

Typically, if someone says that they are seriously dating it means that they’re exclusively dating one person and that they really see a future with this person. If you use the term ‘seriously dating’, it means that you want to one day be in a committed relationship with the person you’re currently seeing.

How do you tell if a guy wants a relationship or just a hookup?

If a guy wants to just hook up with you he will always talk about sex, and the connection between you will probably not go deeper than a physical level. If someone wants a relationship with you they will make an effort to really get to know you as a person, and sexual connection will typically come after the emotional connection.

How long before relationship is serious?

This really depends on the people involved. Some people get into serious relationships weeks after dating and others prefer to wait a few months to make things exclusive. As long as you communicate clearly with the person you’re dating, you’ll know when the two of you have a serious relationship.

In A Nutshell

After reading this article you should understand not only what cushioning is, but the signs of cushioning. If you are using cushioning as a dating technique, you should try and stop it and instead just realize how lucky you are to be with your partner. Try to understand that not all relationships come to an end, and even if they do, you don’t need a backup plan. 

Did you like this article and find it helpful? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share!

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