Later on, I realized I should listen to myself once and a while. I might learn something.
I hate/love when that happens.
...being vulnerable will involve pain and hurt occasionally, but it will also create a space for true deep connection with others. Being an artist involves vulnerability, which can create a space for beauty to be found, explored, and enjoyed by others. But that vulnerability also creates a space in which harmful people can do damage. If you stop being vulnerable then those who are drawn to you or your work will no longer be fulfilled, and they will have lost the opportunity to know greater beauty and love and depth.
So there needs to be a way to be safe from the harmful ones, and that seems to be the lesson these days, for you. It is a learned thing to walk in forgiveness and love, it does not come by instinct. And anyone can love those who love them back, that is not a problem at all.
But if your spirit/artistry is going to reach the important other levels, it will need a place to practice this kind of care. To learn to be vulnerable and to love back when love is not given to you.
Your life and work will take on even greater beauty and depth, because you have taken time to learn these secrets.
Yes, there will always be creeps and losers, but its how we learn to live with them that makes a difference in us. And don't kid yourself, everyone knows who is a jerk, but by not responding as everyone else does, you stand out. And people are interested in that.