I’ve decided that the best way to position my view of romantic relationships is through the Patron-Client relationship of Ancient Rome. Patrons basically provided for and protected the client in return for their loyalty, honor, companionship, service, and obedience. The client can always leave and the patron can always withdraw the patronage, although this was rare because both continually benefitted from the relationship.
I don’t know how else to describe what I think things are in reality. I don’t want her to think she’s my equal and I don’t want to give up leverage so she thinks she can behave badly.
In reality, I want her to see this as a team effort, but she needs to know that if she betrays me or anyone else on my team (which is, in effect, a betrayal of me), and keep getting the benefits of the relationship.