Hi, thanks for posting more info, it helps with the discussion and also so I can also add more info from my point of view, as I can now understand a bit more what you are experiencing.
Since choosing Gitlab, I installed it on a VPS over 3 - 4 years ago now, and as a sysadmin I’ve been managing and maintaining it every since. I regularly upgrade it, and during this time it was even upgraded through Debian 9 to Debian 10. I create all the project groups and projects for our development team, and they then utilise it with multiple branches, merges betwen branches, issues, etc. I also use it for my own projects which I have mostly bash scripts, python scripts or some of the static HTML5/CSS that I’ve been learning in the meantime (since I only make commits here, I guess I’m practically a single developer also). I will also learn PHP shortly, as the course I purchased a while ago is ready for me to start, Django as well - which I chose because I figured a good move from learning Python. For pushes, branches, issues, etc, I can’t really say I’ve had difficulty using it. I use the Gitlab API as well.
The Gitlab documentation is pretty good, and explains everything quite well I think. Of course, every product/documentation can be improved and this is happening, and during my journey with Gitlab, I have seen a lot of this progress, from versions 12.x of Gitlab, through 13.x and now 14.x.
Of course, everyone has different viewpoints on a product, some may find it easy to use, others maybe not. But I think the Gitlab community can certainly help in such instance - and this is where this forum comes into play. If you have difficulties with something, that you cannot do, or something that doesn’t work how you think it should work, or how you expected it to work, then you can post on the forum, and the Gitlab community most likely will help out.
So I think any difficulties you have experienced, can most certainly be overcome. But whichever product you decide to choose, you must feel comfortable with, and willing to learn more about it. I think it’s worth it.