I'm sorry. I didn't mean to push or give you the impression that this is not very difficult. I do empathize with emotional toll and how incredibly hard it is to go through this. It truly is something that we must take one day at a time.
An anecdote from my personal life:
I broke up with my high school sweetheart in college. Afterwards, we continued to hook up for some time. I made it very clear that I had no intention in resuming the relationship, she said she understood. After one night, she freaked out on me and accused me of sending her mixed messages. My initial reaction was self-righteousness. How dare she accuse me manipulating her? She knew the score. I never coerced her or otherwise encouraged her to call me and come over.
But the next day I realized, it was me who was wrong. Yes, she knew the score. Yes, it was her who would reach out. But she really didn't want the crumbs I was offering. I reduced her to a booty call, and while she was a willing participant, she was only doing it because it was at least something that provided a ghostly relic of our dead relationship. Eventually, those emotions she was suppressing came bubbling to the surface.
The next day she apologized and asked to come over later that night. I told her she did not have to apologize and it was I who owed her an apology. I went on to explain why I was wrong and sorry for doing that to her. At that point, I put the kibosh on the hook ups, and in fact, told her it would be best we did not speak or see each other for a while. While it may have seemed cruel, it was the nicest thing I could have done for her.
We ran into each other a year or so later at a party. We talked, laughed, and otherwise had a good time in the boundaries of friendship. We didn't call each other or hang out, but we did converse when we would run into each other. I wasn't awkward or otherwise emotionally draining. It was what I would suspect most people would like feel being around an ex.
Like N, I was not intentionally being manipulative. I was also having a hard time walking away. But I realized that my actions had the effect of manipulating her because she was vulnerable due to her desire to want to resume the relationship. She was a willing participant but deep down, a hook up is not what she really wanted. She was only taking it because it was better than nothing.
It was hard. Very hard. But I had to make the decision to rip the bandage off and let the wound completely heal. I honestly believe if we did not, we would not be able to ever be friendly and/or civil if we ran into each other. She would have eventually grown to resent me, and rightfully so.
I don't want to compare it to you directly because I would imagine your situation to be much, much more difficult because of your longer history and child. I only shared this story because it was how I traversed my first breakup. I understand having a child is harder because there is necessary interaction to some extent. While you're not physically intimate; the discussions of your relationship are steeped in emotional intimacy. I was merely suggesting to try to avoid that trap--and it is very hard, I'm not minimizing the difficulty--in order for you to be able to heal so you can one day get to that point with N.
I wish you well and peace on your journey.