The 'Psychic Spouse' Fallacy
Talking to people who cycle with their spouse, I consistently discover for how many couples this does not really work. Despite both partners being into cycling, they just can't ride with each other - to the point than they each go off with separate cycling clubs or riding partners. After nearly three years of cycling together, I have to say that the Co-Habitant and I are sort of in that category. We do ride together, and it can be nice. But we seem to have such different approaches and styles, that it can get overwhelming. When two people are compatible as romantic partners, how can it be difficult to ride together?
A fellow cyclist recently voiced a theory that I think may hit the mark. Romantic partners - and particularly those who have been together for a long time - tend to function on the assumption that their spouse is at least somewhat "psychic" when it comes to gauging their intentions and needs. This comes from living together long enough to understand each other without having to explicitly spell everything out. And it then gets falsely transferred to cycling. Whereas with a stranger, we would never assume that they can anticipate a maneuver which we do not signal, or will experience energy bursts at the same time as us, or will know which way to go at an intersection if the route is new to them, with a spouse we sometimes do erroneously assume exactly that, without even realising it. The spouse is sort of like an extension of ourselves, and therefore is expected to "just know" these things... But of course they can't possibly know things like when you intend to turn left, or stop for water, or whether you prefer to weave through traffic vs wait it out, or whether you feel up to climbing that next hill. Is it possible to treat your spouse as you would a stranger when you ride together, without assumptions about them intuitively understanding you? I don't know, but it's an interesting idea. At least it might help to keep in mind that your spouse is not actually psychic.