hear me out for a second. stefan salvatore wants nothing but to make caroline forbes happy. that’s his sole purpose. even when he leaves it’s for her. in 6x15 he broke her heart cause damon convinced him that she deserved better than him and that whatever he felt for her wasn’t enough, so he walked away cause he thought that she deserved better than him. in 7x16 he leaves cause everyone and everything got him thinking that he has to let her go. klaus told him to let her go, lily told him that she’ll always choose her kids, damon told him that the kids will come first and he saw her with rick and the twins and she was happy and he didn’t see himself in the picture (his words not mine) so he left, thinking that he was doing right by her and choosing to leave her rather than watch her get hurt because of him.
I’m not saying that stefan will leave caroline, but i’m saying that when he said he can’t see their future, he didn’t mean that he suddenly loved her less or his feelings changed or he started to think that he deserves something better! he’s basically saying that he thinks he’ll hold her back and that SHE may not want their relationship at some point in the future. meaning that again, he’s thinking about her and not himself.
stefan never left caroline cause his feelings changed or cause she wasn’t enough. it’s the other way around, he always fears that she deserves better than him and he’s always willing to let her go just to make sure he doesn’t hold her back. and that? that’s love, my friend.