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hi all. I created this profile just to ask this question, because I really need some objective advice. I'm just going to spill the whole story and if you make it to the end, please give me your insight.

backstory: my SO and i have been together for a little over 2.5 years. we started off very, very, very rocky. we were both coming out of other relationships and both still had ties within those. we didn't start off on a clean, good, honest foot and sometimes I think that we were doomed from the get go. our relationship has essentially been in turmoil from the very first conversation we had and we have had several break ups, but always come back to each other. we lived together for a total of three months (some before, some after our son was born) but I ended up leaving after some brutal fighting. I have a daughter from a previous relationship. they have a very good relationship, although he can be hard on her...which leads me to my general complaint about him. I'll get to that in a minute.

currently: after I moved out, we took some time off and the month I had to myself was painful, but great. I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel and realized that I had my whole life ahead of me. we ended up starting to talk again and he felt so terrible that he set us up with not one, but two marriage therapists. he saw that his family was at risk and decided to do everything in his power to help the situation. we started therapy and started using new tools and it really transformed our relationship. we don't fight as much, the fights aren't as brutal, they don't last as long, ect. we are learning how to hear each other, how to communicate, ect. our relationship is still difficult but it is MUCH better than it was.

so what's the problem, right? here's where I really need an outsiders perspective. my SO and I LOVE each other. we have a really intense attraction and bond to one another. I see and care for him on a different level than I ever have any other man. I love him like crazy and have literally not been NEARLY as attracted to a.n.y. other man since the day I met him. he is smart, funny, sweet, understanding, talented, ect. he is a great dad and we are able to bring a lot of spirituality into our kids' lives. we have done a LOT of healing work together and are very supportive of each other's recovery. I know he would support me in any endeavor I chose to help myself. we are playful, fun, spiritual (hokey, yes, but we are those new age weirdos), becoming good communicators and a good team. that's the beautiful side of our relationship. it really is a like a dream...until you flip the coin. we are two very intense, individually difficult people. we are both sensitive...in fact, one of our therapists told us that we are "the most sensitive, hostile couple" he has ever met. awesome. things can usually flip on a dime for us, but with therapy, we've been able to stable out a bit more. so the obvious seems to be...we have a great attraction and connection and deep feelings for each other and we are getting better with therapy, so stay, right? plus, we have a family. it seems obvious. but the catch...I sometimes truly believe we have one great, big personality incompatibility. we both come from pretty tough backgrounds and brought a lot of "baggage" into this relationship. we both come from pretty neglectful families and grew up as angry and sad (on the dark side) people. so I tend to be kind of in my own world and I really do love just about everyone but I am known for being somewhat inconsiderate (it is my greatest defect of character, and I really am working on it). it's not that I don't care, I'm just not super attentive to everything. I really am getting better at it, but I'm kind of a hippy dippy lover. I don't live my life to achieve great success (success to me is happiness and family...I odn't have great financial or work goals) or be THE BEST ME possible or anything. I'm pretty happy with myself and I know I have great faults but I do love myself and I think my kiddos are awesome and although my life leaves a lot of room for me to work on some things, I am okay with the process. in short, I am not an overly ambitious person. I live my life to enjoy the journey, take care of my kiddos and give them a loving mama, take care of my responsibility but not prove to the world that I am going to be somebody. I already am somebody. my SO is kind of the opposite. he is all about being THE VERY BEST YOU CAN BE (yes that needs to be capitalized). he wants to work hard and be the best at whatever he does and be the very best person he can be and he is kind of a perfectionist. I'm happy that he's the way he is, because it's his own life, but I want him to leave me alone about my life. his perfectionist crap comes out as criticism for others and my sensitive little heart really can't take it. I'm always being told that I'm not eating right or talking right or walking right (seriously) or I'm gaining too much weight or not enough or my posture is terrible or I'm spending too much money (that's not his...), or I'm not dressed right, ect. it seems endless. the nitpicking is awful. I just want to be left alone and loved for who I am. now I get that I have some serious faults, but I don't think I am what he says I am. for instance, we just went to his dad's house for the weekend, and I left the cap slightly off the mouthwash and at a janky angle in the cabinet. the mouthwash definitely wasn't going to spill in the cabitnet, but it wasn't perfectly back where I got it from. my bad, for sure...I should have been more considerate. but he saw it and sighed all over the place and called me a neandrathal. later on in the day, I said I was hungry and he called me a pig (and not sweetly). then my posture wasn't right. then I didn't sleep right in the bed. then I didn't close MY, not his, bags when we were packing up to leave. ect. this stuff really, really, really gets to me. I feel like he constantly shames me and I know it has NOTHING to do with me and has everything to do with the fact that he is an angry person with a lot of trauma and pain and needs an outlet for it, but it sucks. it sucks to feel like I have to be hyper vigilant about what I do so I don't piss him off. he is hard on my daughter and she cried to me last night about not feeling like she can be herself, and I 100% related to her. they love each other and have tons of fun, but he can just be really hard and critical of her. he is just...critical and seems to be TRYING to work on it, but I honestly feel like I am NEVER going to be enough or make him happy. he wants some highly successful, graceful, non-tattooed, gorgeous, skinny ballerina (exactly like his ex right before me). I feel like our relationship constantly brings up feelings of not being good enough or loveable for me. he is also EXTREMELY particular about communication and I feel like if I don't communicate with him the way that he wants, he tells me I'm not doing it right and won't listen to me or communicate with me. he is also very, very critical of my friends and family and I often feel like I can't have good relationships with them as long as we are together. he has very, very few friends (two) and thinks most people are "idiots" and whereas I pretty much see the good in everyon and love everyone (seriously, I am one of *those* people), he thinks most people lack integrity and spirituality, ect. he thinks I am naive and wrong for hanging out with some of the people I do because of their pasts, but I guess I see that we ALL have made questionable decisions and it's not up to me to judge others.

last night, we got into an argument and I reacted like an emotional cannonball and "broke up" with him. it was so petty and immature of me and not right. the argument started when he said he didn't get me or the kids christmas presents because he had "no desire" to and he's just not that kind of person. I got really upset and we just kind of bickered all night. then at the dinner table (we went out to eat), he was really hard on my daughter, who was just being an excited 6 year old on xmas eve and eventually told her she wasn't allowed to talk anymore. I felt he was being too rough and told him so, and he said we could talk about compromising. on the way out, I kind of bumped into a guy which knocked me into this lady's purse. my daugther was hanging on me and after I bumped into her purse, my SO said "tell her to stop hanging on you" and I said "it wasn't her fault," thinking that he thought my daughter hanging on me caused me to bump into that lady's purse. so I defended her before he got mad at her. apparently that wasn't what he was referring to, and he spun me around and said "EXCUSE ME" right in front of a table of like 8 people like I was a little kid. they all looked at me and went quiet and I was just so humiliated. after that, I freaked out on him and he walked home from the mall and today is xmas and he is not going to my family's house with me or coming to see us at all (we still live with my parents). I know I reacted SO badly and I really regret it, but I am also really upset about how he treated us.

so, if you made it this far, he is the sum up of my story - SO and I have children (one bio, one step), we love each other, have been in therapy and things are getting better communication-wise, but he is extremely critical and I feel belittled and sad in our relationship and I feel like I will never be enough for him.

I don't want to just up and leave, but I feel like this may never go away despite tons of therapy. I am just fine the way things are, and he is always seeing how things could be better and making comments about them. it just hurts.

please leave your advice! I need some!
 

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LOVE IS KIND.

You need to work on your self esteem apart from this guy.
Stop making excuses for him when he treats you like a child.

You seem to be in love with a man who is not in love with you.

LOVE YOURSELF.
 

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" but I honestly feel like I am NEVER going to be enough or make him happy"

There's your answer right there... YOU feel inadequate and HE will never be happy with anything.

If you were just a little inadequate feeling and he was just a little self-centered, there would be a possibility that you could both squeeze a little closer. But you two are so far apart, despite counseling, that I don't think you will ever be close.
 

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I think he sounds like a man with many narcissistic traits. I think you sound like a woman who is not letting her brain make her life decisions for her but instead lets your heart decide things that should be addressed with logic instead of emotion.

You're clearly not emotionally compatible or financially compatible. That leaves spirituality, sexual, and intellectual compatibility, so you've got about half of what it takes for an enduring, loving relationship.
 
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