G...after I started going to IC and really doing work on myself and learning how to be a better partner, more aware of much of what we talk about here, etc...I got to a point where I wondered to myself "yeah I've done all of this work on myself, but what are the chances that I can find a lady out there in this world who has done the same? Will I always be the one super in touch with these thoughts? If I am, will any relationship where my partner is not like minded ever work?" Bottom line M sounds locked in his own world especially by living with his mother and then locks in on his son when he has him. Thing is he DOES respond when you tell him your stresses BUT I don't think he has a clue about what validation is nor that what he says to you is somehow not enough to make you feel he cares about you.
The big thing to me is that you have a very highly developed understanding of your own needs in a relationship AND expectations over how your partner should know exactly what you need for him to reach you and make you feel valued and your feelings heard. Question is do you think M is intentionally not trying to be the partner you need OR as I believe, is he simply unaware of exactly what it is you are seeking from him when you share your feelings with him. I can tell you for a fact until I reached BD and was forced to look into the topic and how I was performing as a partner, I really had no clue. I don't believe he willingly tries to disappoint you, but I do think you will have work to do with him to help him understand where you are coming from. Can he hear you without feeling like he's losing you that I don't know. You may have to really help him understand the two way street more than you ever thought you might have to.