I know how it feels to be lonely. Believe me, I do. There's nothing worse in the world than loneliness... except being with a wrong person. I know that too. I've been with the worst of people for far too long. And after you end not one, but several such relationships... you can feel overwhelmed and broken and too afraid to go out and meet new people. Hell, even online dating can be too much, not to mention free Jacksonville chat lines. All kinds of desperate people gather there.
But... if I'm honest, there are some nice people there too. It was my way back into the world after being wrecked by family and a series of bad romantic choices. It was a safe outlet where I could be myself. It was more intimate than dating apps or online dating but far enough removed from real physical interaction. It's these interactions that helped me get back my self-confidence. I started getting more and more sure of myself. Talking to people was no longer something I dreaded. It took time before I learned to trust people, again. But I was willing to put in the effort. Granted my therapist helped a lot, as did medication, but practice and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is important; and calling Jacksonville partyline numbers was my practice.
I never actually met anyone I interacted with via any of the phone dating services I used. But that's okay. They were a safe space that helped me heal. They remain so, and I return to them from time to time, when I'm too scared to face the world.