I don't have any answers; I'm of a similar age and I face a lot of the same problems. I really don't give guys a chance although I do understand your points about possibly being more sensitive to needed cuddles and emotional support. I do have a story though.
A couple of years ago, I was at a point in my life that was very difficult to say the least, but I was also in a situation in which I really did not want the people around me to know that I was in the very difficult situation (It was complicated, but I think it was the right thing to do at the time). At any rate, during this time, I met someone that I instantly knew was a strong empath; in fact, he was more like me than any other person I'd ever met... and I kind of wanted to punch him for it. I'd never had that reaction to anyone; he made it clear that he at least kind of liked me, and I was decidedly non-receptive and kind of a jerk. I'm the type of person that people describe as "too nice," the type of person who saves even dangerous spiders by taking them outside, but I will admit that I was definitely not nice during my interactions with this man.
Upon analyzing why I was acting in this way, I realized that I had never before felt like my own emotional world was at risk of being revealed when I did not want it to be. I was in the sort of situation that, if I had to face the problem at that moment, I wouldn't be able to hold it together, and that seemed like the worst situation that could happen at the moment, and, as the best choice of many bad ones, I continued to push him very far away.
I kind of wonder how I would have reacted if I met that guy now, now that I'm not trying to hide my emotional state, but I learned the downside of being around another strong empath: the know what you are trying to hide just like you know what everyone else is trying to hide. I don't manipulate people, and I am very careful about not using the information a glean from people empathically (aside from letting them talk to me when they obviously need a listening ear and that sort of thing) and only react to the information they verbally tell me so as not to unconsciously manipulate them, but I guess I am used to have some control of the emotional knowledge and at least of my own emotional output and suddenly that was taken away from me when I really didn't want it to be.
I can definitely see how being with an empath has its cons, but being with someone who can actually relate to what you are going through is appealing. I'm not sure this helped any, but I that is the only experience I had with fellow empaths in a possible romantic relationship sense.