The 'Sharing Your Location' App Backfired For Me

by Unbeaten Mommy
Originally Published: 
A young woman using a sharing location app
Julia Meslener for Scary Mommy, Apple App Store and Tom Merton/Getty Images

The “Find my Friends” app on your phone is pretty cool, huh? If a friend has their GPS location open, and you are wondering when they will arrive for drinks out, it’s most definitely helpful. I mean, you just have to know if you should order them a drink, or if it will be warm by the time they get there. But there is definitely a downfall to it as well.

For my husband and me, we openly shared our locations with each other. Many times, I’d wonder if my husband was on the train home or not, but he’d not be able to respond because the train would be underground, or he’d still be stuck at work in a meeting. Enter a few clicks on my phone and ta-da, I’d know where he is without incessant, nagging texts. He’d wonder where I was with the kids and he would know I might be able to answer, and ta-da, he could locate us at karate or at after-school pick up quickly and easily. It should be as helpful as it was easy, right?

Unfortunately, given access to his location 24/7 to someone with high anxiety and depression was exactly the opposite of helpful. It was like putting a really cool toy in front of a child and telling them they can’t play with it. I would obsess over when he’d be getting home and where on the train route he was, because I’d either be out of my mind with the kids or waiting to go out at night with friends (and dammit if I was late after the day I’d had!).

When he’d go out for work, I’d check where he was before I went to bed, so I knew if he was on his way home or if he was still out and I wouldn’t expect him to arrive to say goodnight. And while he was at work, if I didn’t get a response text from him for an hour or two at random times of day, instead of my mind automatically going to the “he’s in a meeting” thought, my brain would go directly to the “what the fuck is wrong?” and “why can’t he simply respond to my text with an ‘ok’?” So, again, I’d check the location, and a lot of times, it would be incorrect.

Hey, GPS is pretty good in most cases but to be honest, when it said he was at the hotel a few hundred feet from his work or the bar across the street, I’d freak my shit and automatically go to the bad place. (All of these location misfires – when I brought them up to him, sadly enough – were proven incorrect by a picture of him at his desk with the time and date on his computer – which is even more sad, to be honest, that he had to do as such to put my wild brain at ease.)

Maybe it’s the people I’ve known who have been cheated on. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lost people quickly and without notice. Maybe it’s that I have had people hold back on me exactly what was going on as a person lay dying (that’s another story entirely). In any case, I would analyze, and overanalyze until my questions got the better of me and him. It has been a cause of many arguments, heated discussions, and interrogations that have left both of us to feel negatively about the other’s whereabouts, and ultimately, a lack of trust. Okay, not both of us. It’s been mostly me who has struggled with trust, when I know deep in my heart he would never do anything to hurt me. (He’s learned that I have a very large extended family who would kill him if he did.)

So the other night, as I struggled through yet another line of completely unfounded questioning that I couldn’t even support with any anxiety-ridden theory myself and that hurt his feelings, and left me feeling empty, I tearfully asked him to stop sharing his location with me.

“Are you sure?” he asked, with his hand poised over his phone. I was 1,000% sure. I don’t want to resent him for others’ mistakes that aren’t his own, and I don’t want to question him anymore for my own insecurities. I’m sure I’ll wonder where he is on his train route, or if he’s on his way home or still stuck in the office. But sometimes waiting for a response text directly from him is so much better than the “what-if’s” that would roll around in my head.

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