Forget ‘ghosting.’ ‘Cushioning’ is the newest way to be a terrible person.

First came ghosting and breadcrumbing and benching, and now we have cushioning?

Cushioning, in case youre not familiar, is the practice of buying yourself a little insurance while you’re in relationship. You chat or otherwise string along a few people called “cushions” so you have something to fall back if you get dumped.

Ugh. At this point its actually amazing how many words weve invented for being an a-hole. This particular term was coined earlier this year when a few girls talked to Babe about the art of cushioning, and its been picking up steam ever since.

Heres the thing, though: the act of cushioning isnt new at all. Its just a fancier word for an ancient practice better known as cheating. Its one thing if youre at the very beginning of dating someone and youre not sure where its going. But if youre spending serious time with a partner and worse if he or she thinks youre monogamous giving others the sense that youre still interested is dishonest and unfair to everyone involved.

Thanks to the proliferation of dating apps it’s easier than ever to keep a couple of people waiting in the wings, but that doesn’t mean you should. No matter what you call it, theres nothing cheeky or clever about leading others on or not being fully committed to the relationship you’re in. Sure, cushioning may not be on the same level of terrible as having a torrid affair if you’re married, but it’s still not good.

It doesn’t really help you either. The only way to reap the full benefit of being in a real relationship is to be in one all the way in, not with one foot always out the door. But the only way to get that reward is to accept the risk that occasionally youre gonna get dumped and maybe youll even end up with a bruised or broken heart.

If you get dropped, you’ll just have to deal with it. You’re not a couch. No amount of cushions are gonna protect you.

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