Before I left the office yesterday evening, I went through my usual routine: First I turned off my computer, then I grabbed my purse, then I got out my phone to check my boyfriend’s exact location.
Yesterday's Mirror carried an interview with a woman who discovered that her husband was secretly spying on her using a smartphone app. Obviously, it is completely wrong to track someone's movements without their permission, but I can understand why you might want to know where they are.
I can't remember exactly when I decided to start Geotagging my partner, but I do know why. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust him; I just wanted to build on that trust with cold hard evidence.
Friends who think my behaviour is creepy, controlling or borderline obsessive have pointed out that just because you know where someone is doesn't mean they are not in that place cheating on you. That’s true, but this is something which means he’d have a harder time getting away with it.
It is one of those small concessions you make in relationships. I don’t complain if he leaves the toilet seat up, he enables an app which allows me to track his location. That’s just how our love works.
This isn’t about invading his privacy. I would never ring up my partner and ask him to read me his last five text messages and who they were from. But it wouldn’t be unreasonable to call him and ask where he was - and this app allows me to get an easy answer. The technology is made by Google, it's mainstream and incredible easy to enable. If he had refused to use it, I would only presume he had something to hide.
This has moved beyond my boyfriend. I now know where my parents are, and my sibling is, and their partner. While I’m less obsessive about checking their locations, there is something special about looking at a map of London and knowing at once where the people you love most in the whole world are.
On a practical level, I can’t tell you how many dull conversations about logistics this has saved. If you want an easy life, demand access to your boyfriend’s Google calendar and GPS on his phone. I know where mine is, where he has to go, who he is with and when he will be back.
But yes, it is also comforting. There are times when he is working late or staying in a different city and I can wake up in the middle of the night and look at his dot on the map and know he is where he is supposed to be.
People say it’s difficult to meet a boyfriend or girlfriend. It is. But loving someone when there is no guarantee they will always feel the same way, or treat you well, is harder. Technology isn’t going to guarantee my relationship succeeds. But when there’s everything to lose, you need all the help you can get.
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