“Cushioning” is a new dating term coined by The Tab writer Roisin Lanigan. It refers to a person's practice of having a back-up lover while he's still in a relationship.
Urban Dictionary defines it 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 break-up and not leave you alone.”
So when someone is cushioning, he/she is committed, but still forges a bond with other potential lovers just in case the current relationship falls apart. In short, there's an alternative waiting in the wings. Being a "cushioner" means that the person is terrified of being single (or is simply a grade-A asshole).
Nathan Chua, MA, personality and relationship development consultant, explains that most people belong to a group who wishes to find long term monogamous relationships. “However,” he says, “these same people can display inconsistent behavior while they are in such relationships. They have some slip-ups along the way. These are relational patterns or lifestyles that people choose.”
As humans, we have a tendency to shun uncertainty. “We want things to be as predictable as we can possibly make them. Having a spare tire is one way we accomplish this unconscious wish,” he adds.
Basically, cushioning is just like cheating.
If you are guilty of being a cushioner, you better take some time to reflect on your actions. Having a plan B won't save your ass from heartbreak.