That you paid a professional photographer to get photos for you is a symptom of the problem here, Bee. You PAID SOMEONE FOR PHOTOS FOR DATING. That’s… not normally what people do. And I’d be willing to bet that men will think it’s strange (unless you lie and say they’re headshots from acting or something, but that’s not a good idea either). Paying a professional for headshots (which is what they are, let’s be honest) suggests, once again, desperation. You’re not comfortable enough using candid shots of you laughing and smiling with your friends? Professional shIots don’t show you being YOU, but they do show you going way overboard in trying to snare a guy. I’m being brutal here, but I’m NOT trying to be bitchy and hurt your feelings. I legitimately think this will hurt your chances. I’ve seen guys using professional shots online, and it was just weird. My husband is and was a stage actor, and even HE didn’t use his professional headshots in his online profile!
Secondly, I was also taken aback by your comment about keeping a baby because it would distract you from a relationship. Yikes. You might want to consider what that means and how appropriate that perspective is for motherhood.
All that being said, I absolutely, completely, totally, entirely understand how you feel, and I do NOT agree with anyone who would suggest that you feelings about this are invalid or crazy or whatever. You said that you felt suicidal for a DAY from the loneliness and hopelessness; I felt suicidal for a couple of decades with short bursts of contentment while in some healthy relationships. I was a cutter from age 15 or so to…sometime in my mid 30s, and most of that behavior stemmed from loneliness and hopelessness about finding a life partner. So I really understand how serious this is and can be for a person, and I really understand why you’re going to these lengths to find someone. And I KNOW how painful it is to be alone. When I was very young (too young to understand), I remember my father said once, more to himself than to me, “I’ve seen what loneliness can do to people. I think it must be the greatest pain in the world.” In my life, that turned out to be true, so, really, my heart goes out to you. I’m gonna say more about loneliness at the bottom of this, but it’s less relevant to what you’re asking, so I’ll say other stuff first:
It doesn’t help much when people tell you to “stop wanting a relationship so much” so that you don’t give off desperation vibes, because you CAN’T stop wanting it. I would argue that it’s not a choice to just NOT want a relationship (or to just NOT want the piece of cake or the good grade or whatever the hell else people want). Your feelings about wanting this or that can change, but any change won’t be as a result of a rational choice you’ve made. That doesn’t work in these situations (in spite of how powerful rationality can be).
Aside from NOT using those professional photos, I have very little actual advice to give. In my experience, I found men the fucking MINUTE something inside of me changed and I wasn’t looking. I did NOT make the change inside of me on my own–external things changed, and I changed as a result. I met my husband at 35 and got married at 37, and this was after maaaaaaaaany years of being single and suicidal because of it. I also moved to an entirely different and bigger city, which I DO think helped a bit, so I agree that considering a move to another place is a good idea for you.
I can’t tell you to stop caring or feeling so desperate, because feelings aren’t the products of active choices (which is why the “passions” (i.e. the emotions), a word which comes from the Greek “pathos,” are “passive”). But BEHAVIORS are the products of active choices. You can choose to move or not, you can choose to message a guy or not, you can choose to sit in the dark or not–and the nice thing is this: even though we can’t control our emotions, our actions have an influence on our emotions! I may feel like shit inside, but I can choose to take a walk with the dog or get dinner with a friend or see a movie, and those chosen actions can help to stop some of those shitty feelings.
So *sigh* I think the only advice I really have is just… try to live the happiest life you can within the confines of your choices. Maybe MAYBE you’re right, Bee. Maybe you WILL be alone forever. Doubtful, but, hell, it’s possible. I used to say to myself, “I can’t survive feeling this way for another 50 years… if I don’t meet someone, I will HAVE to commit suicide. The pain is too much to deal with for so much longer.” But you’re ahead of the game, here, because you DON’T feel so suicidal. You can STILL make a nice life for yourself without a life partner in it. You CAN get pregnant without a man in your life; that’s easy enough. You can pursue passions and have a rewarding career and friendships and travel and blah blah blah. It SUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS to live life alone, but if you have to, can you do it? Make choices that will bring you general satisfaction with and an interest in life, and you’ll at least be building a good life for yourself. Maybe someone will see it and want to join; maybe not. I’m in no position to say. But the alternative is living like me: researching suicide methods and crying every day for two decades, cutting curse words into your body that are now scarred on, becoming an alcoholic, having sex with randos because you’re lonely. No good. Don’t do that shit.
*As for the loneliness point. I’ve read a marvelous book and watched a Ted Talk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0hxl03JoA0) by a fellow named John T. Cacioppo. The Ted Talk is called “The Lethality of Loneliness.” He is PHENOMENAL. I had NEVER considered loneliness in this way, and it rings true. His basic argument is this:
1. Pain in our bodies is a warning signal that something is wrong, potentially fatally wrong.
2. When we feel pain, we’re supposed to attend to the pained part of the body and fix it so that we don’t die, etc.
3. Loneliness is a type of pain.
4. Therefore, loneliness is a warning signal that something is wrong, potentially fatally wrong.
5. Therefore, when we feel loneliness, we’re supposed to attend to the pained part of the “body” (or mind in this case) and fix it so that we don’t die, etc.
For Cacioppo, the pain of loneliness is a warning that we’re not getting our social-connectivity needs met, and that connectivity with others is essential for human flourishing. It’s nuts to tell people to stop feeling lonely or get over it or try to be happy in the same way it would be nuts to tell someone to stop feeling the pain of their broken arm or damaged liver. Social connection is vital to our health and wellbeing, so the pain you’re feeling is very real and in dire need of attention. He explains in the Ted Talk how feeling this pain, sadly, ends up pushing us even further away from others, which only worsens the pain. (And that’s the point I think many Bees are trying to make–the more you approach dating/men from a place of pain, the more likely you are to push them away and thus feel even MORE pain. It’s a cycle.)
Anyway, watch the video. Fucking eye opening and, I really think, helpful.