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Bf(31m) and I(34f) dating 4 years, he is at a "crossroads" with our relationship

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He sat me down and told me that he has felt at a crossroads with our relationship for about 3 months now. He feels he is incapable of change, for example when I come to him about things that he does that upsets me, that he is incapable of making the changes within himself to make better choices in the future. He always apologizes, and shows genuine remorse, but he just told me that he cannot promise that he won't "do it again."

He hides things from me. He doesn't tell me things. He keeps a big majority of himself a secret from me, including being emotionally available and open with me. This, as a result, made me want to check his phone, watch, etc. and ended up finding more secrets. I know it's wrong to go through his phone, but I felt that was the only way I was going to find out the truth about what was going on. But he would just double down and lock me out even harder when he KNOWS that being honest from the beginning was all I wanted. This is what led to him breaking down and finally admitting to me that he is incapable of 100% openness and honesty.  He admitted to "not wanting to appear vulnerable" to anyone, even me. 

He and I have both made mistakes and have hurt each other in the past, and I have always made steps to make sure my mistakes aren't repeated. He, however, just admitted to me tonight that he can't promise to stop making the same mistakes. And by us staying together, he feels like this relationship isn't fair to me, and I deserve someone better.

He insists there isn't anyone else, and that he still feels very strongly about me and loves me, and this would hurt him tremendously if we broke up, but he wants me to be happy in the end. He said he doesn't think he is the right man for me, because of the above reasons mentioned. But he also admitted to sometimes imagining his life without me, (not exactly fantasizing, but just thinking, and processing the what-ifs)

I love this man. I don't picture my life without him. I don't want to break up, despite everything he just told me. I am not "content" with this relationship, but he says he is sometimes. As of right now, we don't know what to do. I asked him if he WANTS our relationship to work, be mended, and move forward by doing things differently. He said he didn't know. I internally thought it was because he doesn't think he can make these changes that are needed. We're going to continue the conversation, and it will be an ongoing thing we discuss until we figure it out. As of right now, he says he doesn't want to break up, but he said that would be "selfish" to keep me when he doesn't think I am happy.

I get no relationship is perfect, there will be arguments and disagreements, and we won't see eye-to-eye on everything.

I don't know what to do. I know what I want and I made that clear to him. But I don't know what to do. My gut reaction is to try to be happier, show more happiness, and show him that I AM happy in this relationship, but he told me not to do that because it would be proving his point that I wasn't happy before and it would seem like an act to be any differently.

My head is spinning, bomb dropped, exploded, it feels awful. I don't want to break up.

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A relationship needs honesty, trust, and a willingness to work through whatever comes up. At the moment neither of you have fully given that honesty and trust. You are willing to put in the work. Is he? If he can, then I think you could stay together as he does seem to care to some degree. But he is also telling you he can't. If he isn't willing to make the effort, then it won't be the happy, fulfilling relationship either of you deserves. He may be right in saying that letting you go will make you happier in the long run, as you can focus on you and not navigating an emotional rollercoaster with him.

Love is all about being emotionally vulnerable. Its letting someone in your heart, letting them see parts of you that you would hide from others. When you are in love, you risk that hurt because you believe, you know the rewards are greater.

The two of you need to decide if you can both let each other in, having that trust and honesty. If either of you can't, perhaps it is for the best to part for now. 

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3 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

What are these "mistakes" he keeps making? 

It sounds to me like he does indeed want to break up but doesn't want to be the one to pull the plug. He wants you to do it so he doesn't feel so guilty. 

I agree.  He can make changes and chooses not to. The standard is not "no relationship is perfect" but whether you can accept him as he is including knowing he's not willing to work on himself to improve how he treats you and other humans.

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Do you live together? Do you both work? Do you have similar future plans and goals?

What are these mistakes and what exactly "needs to change"?

Unfortunately he is tiptoeing out of the relationship and wants to be who he is rather than what you want him to be.

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1 hour ago, Wiseman2 said:

Unfortunately he is tiptoeing out of the relationship and wants to be who he is rather than what you want him to be.

This is what's happening.  

No relationship, or person, can withstand this kind of scrutiny.   I don't know what kind of "mistakes" you are talking about but it sounds like you expect him to be accountable to you for all manner of things and he doesn't feel like he has space to be himself, or to have any sense of privacy in his life.

If his "mistakes" are damaging to your relationship, I don't fault you for asking him to change.  From your post, though, I have no idea.  I get a general impression that you just require him to be and to behave the ways you want.  

Find a guy who is already the way you want.

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You didn't reveal what you found in his phone because without the info, you assumed you'd get advice you'd want to hear--what YOU could do to influence him to stay with you.

You don't want the advice to break up with him, because subconsciously you feel so lowly about yourself, that you believe he is all you're worthy of. 

He wants to be free to do whatever hijinks he's engaged in without being spanked by "mommy."

If he was an upstanding, mature man who cared for a woman, he wouldn't be involved in hijinks at all.

When a man says you deserve better than him, it's always the truth. Time to let him go and work on your self-worth so you don't repeat a pattern of choosing and hanging onto a subpar man.

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On 2/29/2024 at 3:42 AM, catfeeder said:

The actual issue is too vague for comment. What, specifically, prompted your suspicions to the degree that you would snoop in his phone? What did you anticipate finding there? What kind of 'secrets' did you actually find?

I'm also interested to hear more about the above ^ And what exactly are these mistakes he keeps making?

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On 2/27/2024 at 7:44 PM, JaneWick said:

I know what I want and I made that clear to him. But I don't know what to do.

What do you want? Want anyone else wants, says or does is secondary. You should have the kind of relationship that you want. If he wants it to, then work together to make it happen. If he doesn't want it, then you should not be together. 

On 2/28/2024 at 6:21 AM, redswim30 said:

Because if we're really in love with someone, we can't picture a future without them in it. 

I think you can picture a future without the one you are in love with. It's just not a future you want to think of as it would be a rather sad and lonely one.

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