Cushioning....The Back Up Plan In Case Your Relationship Doesn't Work Out

Cushioning....The Back Up Plan In Case Your Relationship Doesn't Work Out

Cushioning is the Plan B guy or girl kept waiting in the wings in case your current relationship doesn't work out. Here's a hint, if you have a plan b guy or girl, or someone waiting in the wings, your relationship is ultimately NOT going to work out. If you have been cushioning, you are not 100 percent invested in the person you are with, or that relationship, and probably should find someone you feel more passionate about.

Cushioning is really just a new term for an age old relationship tactic. The relationship behavior is called cushioning because it is the fall back plan. A safe landing spot so to speak, so you are not left out there completely on your own when you break up or divorce. 

While I always believe in having a plan A, B, C, for most things in life, I never once considered having other romantic partners as part of a back up plan. You are either in and committed, or you are out and want to move on.

Cushioning can be done by having an emotional affair, flirting and texting, or it can be with outright sex and cheating. I say outright cheating because each person has their own definition of what they consider to be cheating in a relationship. 

Either way, the relationship is nearing an end, but like a monkey, he or she will not let go of one branch until they have the next branch firm in hand. Lovely, right?

5 Signs Your Partner is Cushioning


Your Partner Is Being Secretive

They are being secretive because there is someone else, or several someones, and they are trying to hide them from you. It can be as basic as some light flirting in text, sexting going on, or an actual sexual affair. Whatever they are doing, they have a motivation to hide their phone activity from you.

The hiding of the their phone, taking calls in private, and secretive computer behavior are all telltale signs of cushioning, or let's be honest, flat out cheating.

He’s Inconsistent

Your partner treats you inconsistently because that is how they feel about you. One day they want to make it work and want to stay in the relationship, and they next moment not so much. Their heart is not in the relationship any longer, but they feel an obligation to stick it out. Whatever “sticking it out” means to them.

He’s Non Committal

They do not want to make future plans and commitments with you because they kind of want out, and want to keep their options open. They do not want to move in with you, get a dog, or even put down money on a nice vacation because they know it may complicate ending the relationship.

If they were always the planner and the dreamer in the relationship, and now they barely show any interest in plans, it does not bode well for a future together.


There has been a shift in their feelings for you, and a change in their behavior towards you. They cannot help it. They are not that into you anymore and cannot hide it. They may just want out because the love is gone, or they are torn between you and another. A person can only pretend for so long.

 If they are engaged in an emotional affair, they will likely be distant, but it could be a little trickier to catch on to, and far more threatening than any of the other shenanigans. An emotional affair would be a biggie because that would mean they are in love, or at least believe themselves to be, in love with someone else.

Your Gut Says So

I am a big believer in trusting gut feelings, and if your gut is telling you your guy or girl has someone on the side, or one foot out the door, listen to it. We all get that sinking feeling when something is off, especially in relationships. Love yourself enough, and respect yourself to let someone go who doesn’t want to be with you.

After all, how happy can anyone really be with someone who is cheating, staying with you out of obligation, or loves another.

Cushioning is mainly considered a dating trend, but it can happen to any relationship, including marriages. While cushioning may seem like a way to protect yourself, you may really hurt others, and it is cowardly behavior. Cushioning is rooted in fear, insecurities, and selfishness.

n my opinion, it is better to be alone than to be with the wrong person, and if there is cushioning in your relationship you are with the wrong person.

What is your experience with cushioning? Have you ever cushioned someone? Or have you ever knowingly been someone's cushion? Are you the monkey or the branch in the case of cushioning? No judgement! Please share your story or experience!

If a man, who says he loves you, won’t tell you the details of a private conversation between him and another woman you can be sure he is not protecting your heart. He is protecting himself and the women he has feelings for. Wise women simply see things as they are, not as their low self-esteem allows.” - Shannon L. Alder

Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

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