What the Heck Is Cushioning? Does It Count As Cheating?

What the Heck Is Cushioning? Does It Count As Cheating?

Two matchmakers talk to us about this dating trend.

By Marianne Garvey

Manhattan matchmakers Lori Zaslow and Jenn Zucher of Project Soulmate are telling Personal Space about a new kind of “cheating” they're seeing in their business.

It’s called “cushioning,” and it’s making sure that you have some insurance on the side in case your current relationship thaws out. People who cushion have a partner, but string one or more other people along on the side to make sure there is someone there once (or if) they break up with their current partner. It may not involve a physical aspect (yet), but there is flirting and an emotional closeness going on already.

“Cushioning is essentially an alternative word for an emotional affair,” Zaslow says. “As relationship experts, we know that no relationship is perfect. Some stray from their own relationship to fulfill what their main partner is not fulfilling. The other person is enabling the broken relationship to feel whole.”

Zucher says there is a way to avoid your partner is cushioning on the side.

“Being direct with your partner is the one way to avoid these situations,” she says. “Communicate what you need from your partner. Women tend to be more emotional, whereas men view emotions much differently. They’re happy with nice gestures like a quick massage and having a person to listen. Women often compare themselves and their lives to women on social media, which often allows for inauthentic representations of people. The cushioning is just a cushion. Inevitably if there is no real relationship/friendship, it will not last. All in all, if you’re not happy in your current relationship, then get out of it.”

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