Monogamous, romantic relationships are a beautiful thing. And ’tis the season, right?

But just because the temps are dipping and the lights are twinkling doesn’t mean people are actually committing to one another any more sincerely than at other times of year.

Because errrrrbody’s got a back up plan.

I’m talking about cushioning — AKA the act of having a romantic Plan B, a side-piece-in-waiting, a cushion, if you will, to catch you if your relationship goes south.

At times, maybe, we are better off alone, but, generally speaking, humans are social, coupley creatures who emotionally benefit from partnering up. When you want a snuggle buddy, having someone to cuddle up with is as wonderfully comforting as a hot bath on a chilly day.

So, we create that cushion for ourselves… just in case.

Dating apps make it easier than ever.

For instance, some people might make plans to get together with their main beau a few nights a week, and then spend the other nights swipe swipe swiping and chat chat chatting looking for back-ups.

The trick is, you gently reel them in. You flirt a little bit. Juuuust enough to keep them interested, but not so much that anything becomes set in stone. There are no official dates planned or phone numbers exchanged. Because then you’re taking it too far. You wouldn’t want to cross the line into outright cheating, after all, it’s more so about having that romantic alternative should the need arise.

And, you may never follow through, but if you hate being alone, cushioning might just be the dating strategy for you.

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