I believe that vulnerability is a necessary ingredient of true love, because you can’t fully enjoy another unless or until you lower those protective emotional barriers. You can’t love unless you trust. But when you trust, you open yourself up to potential pains should your lover abuse that trust. True, we give up fear when we trust. But in so doing, we also risk painful experiences should our lover betray, neglect, or otherwise alienate us. Indeed, the people we love the most, we trust the most (emotionally anyhow), so they can hurt us the most as well.
I think the key to the happiest love is about finding –A– right one; a soul mate if you will, and there’s more than one. Yes, I realize I’m bordering on the cliché here. But it’s not about making due or putting up with a lover’s nonsense as you perceive it. Indeed, nailing yourself to a lover’s cross for them will usually not change them for the better. So don’t waste your time trying to change them or to change yourself FOR them.
However, happy love is about two people coming together with complimentary yet supportive cultural backgrounds, who have similar / complimentary values, and who implicitly respect and accept each other as they are. This is not to say that you should accept just anyone. After all, none of us are super-people. But finding someone that you can accept and who can accept you, is paramount to maximizing happiness in love as well as minimizing any hurt from it.
In my experience, being in love has hurt the most of any life experience. But it’s also given me the most pleasure. So I have no gripes against love, and would never avoid it just because of the pain I’ve felt from it. Each time through, I learn a little more about how to pick a better lover. So, each time through, it gets less painful. Practice makes perfect.