TLDR: While sharing locations has become quite the popular practice, it’s generally not recommended by experts (unless it’s time-limited and for a practical reason). Relying on external sources to build trust can lead to less confidence in your relationship, so we way say skip the location sharing for now.
Tango's Take 🔮
Sharing your location, be it through Snapchat, Find My Friends, or another app, has slowly become commonplace - for better, or for worse - amongst friends. While it can be used for practicality or even safety, it also raises questions of privacy. When it comes to relationships, sharing locations becomes even more touchy as it crosses over into a conversation about trust. See our in-house expert Dr. Rothman’s take on sharing locations:
“This is something I dissuade couples from doing. There are some exceptions. Time-limited sharing for a specific, intentional reason is A-OK for safety reasons, like if you are traveling alone or are at a large event and don’t want to lose one another.
Outside of that, it’s generally a no-no. What we know scientifically about trust is that the more we rely on external sources to investigate the whereabouts of our partner, the less we are able to trust them at their word. Every time we check, confirm, or deny the location of our partner, we are breaching the trust of our partner–trust that they are being honest, trust that they are capable of being out and about on their own, trust that they can get home safe without your intervention. We also know from research that the more opportunities we have to spy or investigate, the more red herrings we run into. Sometimes we think we find a clue that our partner is being dishonest, and sometimes that clue is completely unreliable and false.
Let’s say my partner told me he’s running to the grocery store and I check his location an hour later and see that he is now in an apartment building. I am naturally going to jump to the worst case scenario (“Is he cheating on me?”) when in fact maybe he had already planned on stopping by his friend’s house to pick something up on his way home. Harmless and nothing for me to have worried about. If I confront my partner about how I noticed they were at someone’s apartment instead of just at the store, they’re going to feel attacked or questioned and go on the defensive–rightfully so. And that’s how trust gets ruptured.
Our partners are allowed to have independent lives and make their own autonomous choices so long as they are not harming us in any way. Instead of resorting to investigating their whereabouts, talk to them directly. Hearing it straight from your partner will always lead to better trust in a relationship.”