Photo Credit: Steve Prezant/Getty Images
Remember that boyfriend who brought out the absolute worst in you? You pushed each others’ buttons, had zero faith in each other and fought almost nightly? And yet you were deeply, madly in love with one another?
Bad relationships can bring out the crazy in all of us. Thankfully, mine was confined to my 20s, before Facebook or even Friendster, and when cell phones were brick-sized contraptions used mostly for emergencies (not for sexting).
These days, jealous lovers have way too many tech-savvy options for stalking their boyfriends. If I wanted to find out what my boyfriend was up to, I’d have to wait around to see if he’d leave his email open, or go completely old-school and follow him around in my car. Um, yes and yes.
Last week, Google pulled an Android app called Boyfriend Tracker from its Play store that allowed suspicious lovers to covertly monitor their partner’s whereabouts. The app, sold in Brazil, was marketed as a “detective in your pocket." All you had to do was install it on your boyfriend’s phone when he wasn’t around and, for $2 a month, it would track his activities without him ever knowing the app was on his phone. Sounds perfectly legal...and healthy!
Not only would it track her partner's location, it also forwarded copies of text messages to the jealous girlfriend. And it could even silently pocket dial the girlfriend without his knowing, so she could listen in on his conversations. Of course, even though it’s called Boyfriend Tracker, I’m sure at least half of the 50,000 downloads were by men. I mean, we’re not the only gender driven crazy by lying, cheating lovers.
While there are apps in the U.S. that allow you to monitor others, none of them can do so without the other person knowing. All I can say is, I am so grateful this wasn’t around when I was on the dysfunctional dating scene, because I probably would have used it. And it would have unhinged me. “What does this text mean? Who is he flirting with? What address is this, and should I do a stakeout to catch him in the act?”
An app like Boyfriend Tracker would have done me no good -- except to turn me into the craziest, most possessive partner the world has ever seen. Sure, I wouldn’t have to waste so much time reading into who his new friend is on Facebook or what her winky emoticon means, but I would likely have driven myself crazy by tracking his every move -- and then accepting his flimsy excuses when I confronted him about it.
Once for an ex-boyfriend’s birthday, I decided to surprise him with an enlarged and framed photograph that he took at Niagara Falls. So I crept into his bedroom while he was at work and started rifling through the negatives (yes, before digital cameras, too). In addition to finding the photo he was so proud of, I found a picture of him with his arms around a girl I’d never seen before. I couldn’t confront him without ruining his birthday present, so I stewed for weeks until I finally presented him with his gift, and the evidence. I’d like to say I walked away from that relationship, but it just goes to show, even when you have the most obvious proof that someone has cheated, denial is even stronger.