Knowing my husband's location was great. Then, I caught him in a lie and became obsessed with checking it constantly.

Close up of woman with smart phone
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  • We were married for seven years when I started sharing my location with my husband.

  • I felt safer knowing he could see where I was.

  • I caught him in a lie and I became obsessed with tracking where he was.

My husband and I were married a little over seven years the first time either of us shared our location with the other. We were on a weekend getaway to Seattle, and I was in the early stages of marathon training. I needed to log three miles, so I found a large park well-rated for the activity and tied my sneakers. My then-husband came along, positioning himself at a nearby coffee shop to wait.

Before I hit the trail, I opened my Google Maps app and granted my husband access to my location. As I logged my miles in the wooded wonderland across the street, he followed along, tracing the blue dot of my location on his phone screen. He noted where I paused (there was a raccoon) and where I backtracked, having missed my turn. Eventually, he became impatient with my slow pace and walked out to meet me on the trail.

Back home in Arizona, my training plans quickly faltered, but I never removed the access I'd granted him on our trip. There was an intimacy in that information, a shared responsibility for my well-being as it related to my whereabouts.

I felt safer with him knowing where I was

I liked that he could see my location. I felt safer knowing he could follow along as I traversed the country to attend a conference or crossed the city in a cab, and I never worried that he would abuse the insight. More often than not, he only checked in when I was traveling, as I always promised, and invariably forgot to text him when I arrived at my destination.

Just six months after that Seattle trip, however, the blue dot that once had offered comfort suddenly became a point of contention. Our marriage was struggling; during a particularly rough patch, he was late to come home. I texted him, frustrated: "Where are you?"

Stuck at work, he told me. But he wasn't at work; he was at a brewery nearby, his location marked by an unmistakable blue dot.

It was a white lie, told from one sparring partner to another in a moment of tension. However, when truth is so readily available for the finding, even a white lie becomes magnified, and trust is the victim.

I became obsessed with tracking his location

We vowed to rebuild our relationship, but I became obsessed with tracking his location, watching it — and him — religiously. Vigilance took over where trust had faltered, an unhealthy relationship fueling my unhealthy habits. Every time he left the house, I tapped on the Maps icon, peeking into and confirming his whereabouts.

The trouble is when you're looking for a reason not to trust someone, it'll usually appear. Eventually, I caught my husband in another lie, this one even more innocuous than the first. He had gotten off work early and stopped at a fast-food restaurant on the way home. It was a minor indiscretion but one he just didn't want to admit.

Our marriage ended not long after, its demise not caused, but also not avoided, by the transparency offered by a shared location. We'd danced around divorce before, but this time, it was real. Yet it wasn't the separate bedrooms or the conversations about assets or even the filing of divorce papers that truly confirmed it; it was the disappearance of the blue dot.

By the time we agreed to split, the habit of checking his location and the need for information (and, admittedly, control) was so deeply ingrained that I struggled to let go. I continued to consult Google Maps even after we stopped directly telling each other about our plans.

One day, however, I opened the app to see only my own information. My now ex-husband had revoked access, shielding his activity in mystery. The intimacy of the relationship was already gone, and now so was the intimacy of the blue dot.

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