He's leading a life where he is constantly making compromises and doing things he doesn't want to do like not having a home and feeling on the edge of being a failure in life in his eyes .
I'm sure on some level he wants a sense of stability and normalcy and so his relationship with Van is predictable and safe in that it doesn't challenge him to mature or grow as a man, partner, and father. He doesn't have to confront his self-blame and depression when he's with Val. It's his one break from the purgatory of his life.
So, not being willing to compromise is really him announcing that he's tired of making compromises or giving to others. Since the only thing approximating love in his life is the time with Van, the last thing he wants to do is spend it giving to someone or conforming to meet someone else's needs when he really needs to spend energy devoting that attention to himself. O letting Val in to his interior life so her love can help him regain some direction.
But Van was right to disconnect from him because she's been supportive and simply wanted what anyone in a semi-committed relationship wants which is to have the other half of the relationship affirm you.
Earn was really being a dick, tho.
I think the one theme in this season which has been different from last season is that the characters in the season are all either actively or passively contributing to their own downfall.
Last year, it seemed their environment was keep Earn, Al, and Darius from reaching their potential. But Al's meeting at the branding company and now Earn with the gift card and now with Val has been digging their own graves because of self-doubt and also depression in a mild form.
It's harder to root for them this year because it's hard to pull for someone who's holding themselves back but I can say it's been really compelling.