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"I need time and space" or "I need to work on myself" are just catch phrases to cover for a low self-esteem and often depression in the relationship. Right now he sees you as causing his problems, because that way he doesn't need to take responsibility for his emotions, and so he pushes you away to fix himself.

There's not really anything you can do to change his mind, but what has work wonders for others is to agree, pull away, and act happy. The better off you are the more he'll want to be around you.

Around 2-3 months on average of NO CONTACT.
 

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God, I was in a military marriage too. I served in the Navy on subs and it was stressful enough without marriage problems to make a bad situation worse. Luckily I got out and then went through divorce hell and deprogramming. That's the price you pay to give others freedom though.

If you're still seeing each other for church and custody then look around here for Limited Contact advice from other parents. I don't have a child so I can't advise you on that. But I do know from experience you need to stear clear of him as much as possible for a while so you can gather the strength needed to not freak out whenever you see him again. I can't lie it's hard no matter how well you think you can handle him, but it does get better with lots and lots of practice. I recommend you exercise as hard as you can and cry as much as you can before each visit. Get everything out of yourself early on and ice your eyes down. Then later on you can practice keeping your calm with a friend in different communication roleplay activities.
 
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