At my age I have experienced these thoughts thousands of times, that ultimately my depression and internal darkness would dissipate if I could be shown genuine love by someone I wanted to be with. Before love comes attraction, then like, then time spent together then the undeniable emotion of love. I have fallen into attraction many times, myself toward countless women. Sometimes I get the small token of being liked in return but I've not felt attraction toward me very much at all. Of the times I felt it, I felt nothing back. It's not a choice to control, and insomuch as I can't feel it back to the few I may have gotten it from over all these years, I know I can't expect an automatic return of attraction for myself. But I wish it would happen because I know that at the very least I am LIKABLE when the darkness has been pushed down and with attraction comes a momentum which not many things can derail. I can compound likability with attraction if I could just get it returned in the first place and with that I am happy and not destroying myself from the inside out. With that happiness could come a joyful time spent together which might lead to love but it has never happened. When I look around and try to determine what it is that I am lacking or what it is that makes me un-wantable and it is only 2 basic things - my depression and my looks. Many might say that it's my depression holding me back but after all these years I know that it's not because when I feel even the inkling of returned attraction, even if it's not real or just my imagination, my depression is nowhere to be found. It's a feeling of instant healing, of hope on the verge of fulfillment. What is left is a torturous feeling that ultimately I am rejected (or not even considered) time and time again because of my looks. I put myself out there as much as someone with depression possibly can. I take chances. I am not one of those who shies away or hides or can be said to not even try in the first place. I put myself out there, project confidence, talk, engage, create opportunities, invite and do my best to join in. But that is not enough when you're battling the first few seconds of judgment of base human instinct. It is almost never said outright but sometimes it is. "He is not attractive. He is too short. His features are unappealing." I can only control how I behave, what I say, how I hold myself. I can only keep up the strength so long until arriving back to a lonely home. I can stay fit but I can't change my face or hairline or jawline. I can wear good clothes, put whatever padding is possible into my shoes, and stand as straight and confident as a man can but I still will be barely the same height as the average woman without heels. I can be accomplished at work, be high achieving and make good money. I can have intelligence, good humor, and artistic talents. I can treat people with openness and respect and positivity but at the end of the day if none of that changes the first few seconds of a woman's opinion of me it will all be utterly meaningless because it doesn't lead to the only thing I want to resolve, the loneliness. It is not a loneliness of having family or friends. My family is not perfect but at least I have one, parents, sibling, aunts, uncles, cousins. I can collect friends like playing cards. I have a few friends I can consider close that I am able to talk with at least somewhat intimately, and a very few I have been able to share my inner turmoil to ease some of what kills me inside. It is a loneliness of not having a companion. I am certain that if I closed up every desire and simply chose any woman who found me acceptable, this would not lead to anything better. I need to feel attraction and wish to receive it back, else anything that comes after is not real and I need something real. I tried to give it a chance the few times in life I felt attraction coming to me even if I didn't have the same feeling back. I tried to find a way to see past my own innate desires but it is not something you can force and when forced it will never create any sort of happiness. What kills me is I know it's the same in reverse, I know given how much interest I've had or shown in countless numbers of women that I can't expect attraction to simply be returned simply because I had it. Yet after all these years I have never experienced it. I will many times add these women to my Facebook since I try to retain friendships even if they are limited and even if I originally pursued them for more. I suppose this is what lead me to this post today, that sunk me back into depression. I look at all of them, all of them were single when I pursued them and all of them never returned any interest in me beyond friendship. I would call those friendships sub-standard since it's not often they could provide me with much true friendship in return for mine. But regardless of that, I started focusing on their current relationships and who they have chosen to be with. Most of them now have boyfriends, engaged or married and I look at their choice of men and every one of those men are tall and very good looking. I can't say anything about the personality of those men or their accomplishments in life, though some seem to have nothing going beyond their looks and fans. I can't help but fixate on the thoughts of what they have that I don't have. The only conclusion I can make is that they have the first few seconds of attraction tied up in a bow for them. They just have to exist and be present and the opportunities for them are there. They are not rejected from the beginning or, if they display any unlikable characteristics later then they are more easily forgiven. I cannot expect to be wanted by these women as if I'm entitled to it, that is not what this is about. I cannot expect it from them any more than I can force it on women I am not attracted to. What rips at me is the feeling that I need something outside my control and it is not an unreasonable expectation. I am attracted to at least 1 out of 3 women I meet who are around my age or younger. Given that size of a pool, I feel like it's not unreasonable to think that some portion of those women no matter how small will return the attraction. I have never experienced it. If it has ever happened, I have never seen it even though I try to constantly create opportunities and take chances. I'm running out of words to say about this. All I know is that my ability to tolerate being lonely gets harder to sustain as time goes by and I just wish something would change and fill the void.