Is cushioning the new relationship trend undermining modern love?

In the era of social media, our approach to romance is evolving, and a phenomenon known as cushioning is gaining traction. But what exactly is cushioning, and how does it impact our relationships?

Cushioning, also referred to as “backburnering,” involves maintaining connections with potential romantic interests outside of a committed relationship. It’s essentially keeping one foot out the door while still being in a relationship, often driven by fear of commitment or abandonment.

Toxic tendencies: Identifying and avoiding cushioning

Balancing flirtation inside and outside a relationship

It is not about physical cheating but about keeping one’s options open emotionally. It’s about cultivating a secret flirtation with someone else as a form of emotional insurance against the challenges of the current relationship. Licensed therapist Elisabeth LaMotte explains, “It provides a temporary escape from the difficulties of your current relationship, but it ultimately prevents you from addressing those challenges head-on.”

Signs of cushioning

If your partner shows an excessive attachment to their phone, displays inconsistent behaviour, or appears overly concerned about their online presence, these behaviours could indicate cushioning. It’s important to recognise these behaviours early on to address any underlying issues in the relationship.

Understanding the roots of 

It often stems from feelings of insecurity or dissatisfaction within the relationship. Relationship coach Samantha Burns suggests asking yourself, “Why do I seek validation outside of my relationship? What needs are not being met within my current partnership?” Addressing these underlying issues is crucial for building a healthy, fulfilling relationship.

Preventing tips for couples

To avoid falling into the cushioning trap, open communication is key. Discuss your feelings and concerns with your partner, and make a conscious effort to prioritise your relationship. Dating coach Jenna Birch recommends, “Focus your energy and attention on strengthening your bond with your partner rather than seeking validation from external sources.”

While cushioning may offer a temporary escape from relationship challenges, it ultimately undermines trust and intimacy. By recognising the signs of cushioning and addressing underlying issues within the relationship, couples can build stronger, more resilient bonds. Remember, successful relationships are built on open communication, trust, and a shared commitment to each other’s happiness.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire France
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer


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