What is “Cushioning?” New Dating Definitions

Ah, dating, could it get any more ridiculous? In the name of empowered dating, we rounded up a few dating trends that most people didn’t even know were trends. Our advice: if you don’t buy into them, you don’t have to deal with them. We say: create your own dating rules instead of following someone else’s.

For singles out there, it seems like everyone is playing dating games. Dating apps and sites have created a more casual, (and confusing) environment for everyone involved. First there was “ghosting” where you meet someone online then they disappear, then there was “haunting,” where someone breaks up with you but then creeps your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, occasionally liking your posts. Empower your dating life by ignoring the ghosters and haunters and moving on! (We also recommend actually meeting people the old fashioned way: in person.)

“Cushioning” on the other hand, is something we don’t have a problem with. In the beginning stages of dating where you are non-exclusive, it actually makes sense to keep your dating options open. It’s a dating technique that may prevent you from getting hurt. (“Cushioning” may explain the “ghosting” phenomena.  This is when the someone you are chatting and flirting chickens out right before meeting up because they are already dating someone else–or are married!) Just another reason not to give your heart too quickly to someone you’ve just met.

According to urbandictionary, the “top definition” for cushioning is “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 break-up and not leave you alone.”

“Yeah, I don’t think it’s going that well with Dave. Luckily I’ve been cushioning him with Pablo and Gary.”
“Benching” is a cousin to cushioning. According to our favorite dictionary Urbandictionary, “Benching” is “when you start dating someone you think is nice and has potential, but you’re not crazy about them. You don’t know whether to keep dating them, or dump them and move on to the next one. This is where benching happens; instead of going for either of the above polarized options, you put your date in your mental ‘maybe’ folder and ‘bench them’ so you date around to see what else is out there.”
Sarah: How’s your dating life going, Jill, weren’t you seeing that guy Jack?
Jill: Yeah I am, sort of. He’s just ok, so I’ve been benching him and dating around more.

John: Hey Jack, how are things going with that girl Jill you’re dating?
Jack: Idk man, I know she’s seeing other guys, and I think I’ve been benched.

No great relationship ever came from being “benched.” A waste of your precious singleton dating time. If you think you’re being benched, get off the bench. When the spark is there, you can’t wait to see the person again. You’ll know its working when all you both want to do is sit on a bench together.
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Anka Radakovich is a legendary Sex Columnist, Certified Sexologist, Sex Educator, Screenwriter, and Author of the new book THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, PART 2, Tales from New York to Hollywood. http://www.amazon.com/The-Wild-Girls-Club-Part/dp/0990462129. THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, Part 2 is her third book. Her first two books The Wild Girls Club; Tales from below the Belt, and Sexplorations; Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier were both published by Crown/Random House. She was the Sex Columnist for DETAILS Magazine for 9 years and is currently a Sex Columnist for BRITISH GQ. Her writing has appeared in dozens of magazines including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men's Journal, Seventeen, Glamour, and Maxim. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 8 appearances with Conan O’Brien. She was a Jeopardy question under the category “Men’s Mags.” As a Sex Educator and Sexologist, she is a college lecturer at Universities throughout the country who offers her unique brand of sex education. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.

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