I have a friend who is newly divorced and treats me as if I’m her dating therapist. (I swear, I write about a couple of bad dates, and women think I’m the dating whisperer.)
Anyhow, it’s been some years since she’s been on the dating scene but let me tell you, she dove right in. I honestly wish more women would take a note from her book and jump right in after a traumatic experience like divorce. Her confidence is high, her courage has peaked, and most importantly, she feels sexy, in control, and ready for new experiences.
In a recent conversation about “new-aged” dating techniques, she asked me, “Sis, what’s with guys wanting you to share your location with them?”
This was new to me. Initially, I thought she got herself a lil young thang who really liked her. (I hear phone tracking is pretty common among younger couples, you know, those raised on iPhones.) Then, I turned it inward and thought damn… no one ever asked me to share my location. I guess they don’t really give a damn where I am.
Well, guess what? I just got asked to share my location.
At first, I was flattered. Oh, he’s lookin’ LOOKIN’ for me. But something about it felt weird and invasive… just awkward. I’m single and openly dating, so I’m not quite sure anyone is entitled to keep tabs on me. But, naturally, before I replied to him, I turned to my friends to ask about this phenomenon.
I have a 26-year-old friend. Let’s call her Layla. Layla has been dating her guy for about four years. Recently, they decided to exchange locations. Like, permanently. They always know where the other is. They openly and willingly entered this agreement because they do not feel like they have anything to hide from each other.
While I don’t know all the logistics of their relationship or why they chose this route, I think this shit is crazy. Really. I’m here for sharing phone passwords, but if you have to know where I am at all times, you don’t trust me. I am not on probation.
Anyhow, while Layla is in a long-term relationship, she often questions whether they’re supposed to be together. They’ve been together since college, and while she loves him, she sometimes confuses comfort for happiness. Often, she runs back to me with that whole “I love him, but I don’t know if I’m in love with him” convo. She wonders if she’s missing out on her 20s and occasionally entertains other men via messaging platforms. She’s adamant that she’s never cheated on him, but she doesn’t turn down male attention, either.
At some point during this Hot Girl Summer of 2019, one of Layla’s male friends was in town and wanted to take her to dinner. To be honest, this was one of those guys she entertained. He offered her a perspective of life, much different than her current boyfriend, and she was intrigued. They agreed upon dinner at Tao at 9 pm.
Since location sharing with her boyfriend was in full effect, there was no way she could risk being at Tao and her boyfriend not have questions. So, what did she do? She did what any logical woman would do – she told her dude she was staying at her friend’s house for the night and switched phones with her friend.
Oh, that’s not what any logical woman would do? LOL Right. I had the same mouth-opened-dead-shocked response that you did. What a genius! But also, shout out to her homegirl who held her down like the real ride or die your best friends are supposed to be.
At 7 pm, she texted her boyfriend and let him know she would be going to hang with her friend and spend the night with her. Obviously, without any questions, he was fine with this and went about his evening. She went to dinner and returned to her friend’s house without any issues from her boyfriend. The one caveat? She actually had to stay at her friend’s house to carry out her lie. Layla gets my vote for Hot Girl Summer MVP.
Next, I turned my efforts to my married friends. One informed me that her and her husband recently talked about this topic with another married couple. Her girlfriend thought her and her husband were crazy for not sharing their locations, and they thought she was weird for even suggesting it, but after a bit of discussion, they agreed that if either of the spouses traveled alone with the kids, they would like one another to turn on their location.
So, when I really thought about it… is sharing your location a means of safety and communication or is this creepy and unnecessary?
From my research, it all comes down to trust and control. If your partner uses geo-location as a means of control, manipulation, or stalking, then they’re using this feature to exercise power over another person, and that’s not okay.
However, GPS tracking in relationships isn’t always stalker-ish. Some people use it to see how close their partner is to a destination, to locate their partner’s phone if lost/stolen, and for safety reasons. Basically, for connection, security, and to better coordinate among each other. In these cases, neither party abuses the privilege for unhealthy reasons.
For others, I’ve found that location sharing oversteps healthy and necessary boundaries. It’s nice to know a man wants tabs on you, but it’s basically a new-aged overshare you must be prepared to face. And, like in Layla’s case, even when initially shared with the best of intentions, the breach of privacy can sometimes pressure you to lie, feel antsy, and force you to explain your whereabouts.
I’m not here to criticize those who use this feature, but for me, I’d like to retain some semblance of independence. So, tell me, with all things considered… would you share your location with your significant other?