I don't know if I would equate being alone to being lonely. You can be alone and not lonely, and you can be together with someone and still be lonely. Or, you can be alone and lonely. They're not necessarily tied to each other.
I find that when I get enough friendly attention I'm not that lonely. And different friends serve different purposes. For the whole time I was married I wasn't really allowed to have friends; the only people I was OK to interact with according to STBX were the typical "mommy friends" - moms to basically go to the playground with and talk about mommy things with. I was so lonely. I didn't even know why. I had "friends" and a husband and kids, so what was wrong with me?
Now that I'm seperated I'm much LESS lonely because I've allowed myself to reconnect with people from my past. Mostly male, actually, but it's not a romantic thing. I always got along better with guys. I didn't know how much I missed that. Just some friendly interactions with people I can bs with online.
Right now I don't have any friends within traveling distance so I do miss that, but at least I get social interaction online (with people I used to know in person, so I guess that helps).
As far as being lonely for a man... I don't think it's too fresh because despite only recently physically seperating and still technically being married I haven't been in a real romantic relationship for years. I'm not really lonely for that.
Physically, I can take care of my own needs.
I get random interaction with men I see out and about. Nothing to write home about and I'm certainly not going to pick up a guy when I have two toddlers in tow, but every once in a while I get a flirty look from some guy and that makes my day and boosts my confidence.
I'm starting to find companionship again in friends.
I enjoy being myself as well.
Cuddle affection I get from my kids and dog, though I was never much a cuddler in a romantic sense.
I've come to terms that I've already had one "great love" in my life (not STBX, oddly enough - my first love). He got in touch with me recently and although that's not going to go anywhere it reminded me that yes, I've had that great romantic rush before. It didn't last forever, but I've had it, check that box off the list.
There's some things I miss, sure. Kissing would be nice. Just being able to have the... have the status of being partnered. Having someone that I could call up at 3 am if need be. (My friends would probably not MIND but I still wouldn't feel like that's my place.)
I don't really have a desire to look for anyone at the moment. It's not like guys are knocking down my door anyway but even if they were, I wouldn't want to settle for just anyone. I think being lonely is THE worst reason for getting together with anyone. If you can work out how to NOT be lonely, and you're in a good place even if you're single, THEN you can decide whether or not a man is a good relationship choice.
Not like I have the greatest record with guys, but I do know that I bounced from one relationship to another because I was lonely. I really want to do it differently this time.
And of course even with all that everyone will have a lonely night here and there. I think that's totally normal. But not when it's your default setting if that makes sense.