I have been in an on-off relationship for three years with a man several years older. I am 22. He is more advanced in his career as well as more emotionally stable. From the start, he has voiced disapproval of me: my need to go to the gym, a job I had, my interest in acting, that I have dated women. He tells me I am immature, selfish, and that parts me are ugly. Yet he assures me that, as long as I change, I will be an acceptable long-term partner. I feel inferior around him, uncomfortable being myself. This is a fault of mine and I would feel this way around anyone I am intimate with. I am terrified to cut him off, yet I feel far more confident whenever we break up. Should I cut the ties for good?
Everything is summed up in your statement: "I fear that this is a fault of mine." Why are you so focused on possible faults you may have, and why are you afraid that there are more to be discovered? And where did you get the notion that one has to be, or even can be, perfect to qualify for a better relationship? You have chosen a boyfriend who has labeled strengths as faults and is focused on faults real and imagined because you are focused on faults, which allows him to confirm your worst fears. He has discovered that this is a way to keep you coming back to him. The attachment is built around your insecurities, which he feeds.