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“Partner watching porn, so many lies”

I've been with my partner two and a half years. He is really caring and considerate and does all the little things (like making me breakfast without asking or surprising me with a new pair of pyjamas). We have had issues with his lies – I feel like I can never get the truth out of him. When we're fine, he will lie about stupid stuff just to agree with me (for example I'd genuinely want his opinion about what he thinks of a certain topic or what we want to do for the day or what he wants to do career wise as I have been helping him apply for jobs).

He will bounce back and forth between different answers contradicting himself, from one extreme to another. I end up with no clue with what he's truly feeling. It's as if I'm shaking my head at him or giving a disapproving look that makes him change his mind but I'm not!!! I feel I genuinely go out of my way to look extra-positive so I can understand his true thoughts. I feel like he's just trying to please me when in reality it just makes me feel like I don't know him. It's so draining.

We have had our problems in the past – to my knowledge he has never 'properly' cheated but definitely tested the waters. We met at work and I ended up leaving due to the stress / drama it caused having everyone in your relationship and so did he. He had a bit of a reputation at the job where we met for being a flirt so when he got his new serious job I asked him to be professional (don't give your social media out, do your job properly, be on time etc.). All was good until he added one female co-worker on his Instagram (not any of his male friends, he kept it professional with them!). I only noticed because he has a small Instagram account her name was on his likes.

It's difficult for me to explain on here but I don't believe anything at all was happening with them, it's more of a validation thing with him. If someone gives him the slightest bit of attention or praise he follows it up too much. I think it's insecurity issues. Now, with this in mind... he has always said to me he considers watching porn cheating. I didn't say this to him. HE told me. It's something that we've spoken about quite a lot and he's told me exactly why he wouldn't watch it and why he thinks it's cheating. I agreed with him. I can't remember the exact words but on our one-year anniversary I thought he said he watches porn, I said something like are you serious? And started crying.

I was so shocked when I thought he'd been lying to me all this time. He had actually said something else I'd misunderstood and went on to reassure me he'd never do that, etc. Anyway, I have just got back from work today and he said we should get a takeaway. He said, here have a look, and passed me his work phone. He opened the internet and there was two porn hub tabs open. I clearly seen it and the naked woman. He quickly closed the tabs and said he doesn't know why it was on there. I said are you mental? I seen it with my own eyes how can you lie?! He continues this delusional lie that the porn has magically appeared on his work phone, he hasn't even used the phone today. He said why would I pass you my phone if I had been watching it? Then he said do you want me to lie and say I have been watching it? As if seeing the porn myself on his phone wasn't concrete enough he ended up saying he had been on that phone applying for jobs then it came out he actually did watch the porn.

He has been non-stop apologising since but I just don't trust him I've heard it all before. He knew how much it'd hurt me from our one-year anniversary. For me I'm more bothered and just so gutted our trust is destroyed again, not the porn. He looked me in the eyes and pleaded to me he did not watch it – similar to his apologies now. I don't know what to do. I know if i told my mum she would tell me to leave so that's probably a sign I should. Then again I grew up with an abusive stepfather who constantly cheated on my mum and had an addiction to porn so I don't know. I don't know whether this is normal or I am right feeling this way. I have four months left on the contract of our flat. Can this get better? I do really love him and when we're good it's amazing. I'm 20 and he's 23 I just feel it shouldn't be this much hard work at my age.

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