Connecting Versus Self-Protecting

Connecting Versus Self-Protecting Emotionally and psychologically, we have two conflicting forces inside of each of us: the part of us that wants to connect with others promotes closeness, love, affection, and the desire to share our lives with a person of the opposite sex. This is natural, healthy, and leads us to socialize, be vulnerable, and engage in some risk. On the other hand, there is another conflicting part of us inside that promotes self-protection. After we have been hurt or scorned by another in our past, the self-protection part of ourselves takes on a bigger role. This part of ourselves works to set firmer boundaries with others that may harm us and/or with those that we don’t feel particularly trusting of. That is good too, to an extent.

Both forces inside of us play important roles for us to live a healthy, happy life. The problems come in the extremes. If our self-protect side is too strong and active, we will be putting up walls with others that are too thick. This will protect a person from harmful others but unfortunately will also keep healthy others away as well, leading to missed healthy social opportunities. On the other hand, if the connect part of us is too strong, we might overly expose ourselves and make ourselves vulnerable to abusive or exploitive others that could harm or mistreat us.

After we get out of our 20s, we have generally lived enough life to where we have likely been hurt in a notable way by at least 1 significant other relationship in dating or marriage. So usually the most common risk, problem, or challenge is that our self-protective side has taken over too much, our walls with others have become too thick, and healthy relationship opportunities are then missed or sabotaged. Therefore, striving for a healthy balance of self-protection versus seeking connection is the ideal, and usually involves lessening our overly defensive nature with the opposite sex to allow for connection again.

Connecting Better with Others and Making Ourselves More Vulnerable:

*Practice focusing on and seeing the best in the opposite sex. There is an old saying: that which we focus on, we amplify. Therefore, it is important to practice thinking the best of the opposite sex the most you reasonably can. Otherwise, pessimism and cynicism will flare up sensitivities, being offended, and keeping old traumas and wounds fresh. In many ways we are what we think about all day long. Therefore, please practice focusing on the best things possible with the opposite sex: what you like and admire in them, what you miss about and enjoy most about being with them, and so on. Watching old TV shows or movies showing actors demonstrating positive qualities can be good as well to remind you of the good the opposite sex has the offer. For more ideas on admiring the opposite sex, see this article as well:

Taking calculated risks: the more you socialize more often with more people, the more vulnerable you become to being hurt again. Yet, such risks are necessary. Therefore, assessing the character (or lack thereof) first before socializing can be an important step before getting to know others in a closer, intimate way. Asking questions, observing them in different scenarios, doing some online research, and having some discussion with mutual acquaintances of theirs about them a bit can help you make more informed decisions before getting together one-on-one. Also, pay attention to your intuition is important as well. The rule of thumb and goal here is, socialize with as many basically good, trustworthy people as possible. It takes some quantity to find the quality.

Get any necessary help, as needed: Self-help, psychotherapy, and/or self-help groups and classes can all be helpful, depending on what your old scars, pains, and fears are composed of. Often, quality outside resources can be very useful to assist in working through and releasing these old pains. You can go to, look up books/audiobooks, and choose one with good descriptions and reviews. You can also get some applicable hypnosis sessions, such as through And go get some psychotherapy. Get a list of local therapists from your insurance company. Then before contacting any, look up their websites first and find a therapist where you like their picture, credentials, and approach. Finally, look up applicable self-help groups or classes in your area through an online search or through word of mouth.

Final Thoughts:

If you overly protect yourself and miss out on valuable social connections—especially with someone you could have dated and married—that is a sad outcome you’ll want to avoid. Life is meant to be lived, not avoided. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. He/she who hesitates is lost. 100% of the shots not taken, miss. Whatever you need to tell yourself to try again, please do so. It is time to find and have a healthy, happy relationship with a significant other. But that will only happen if you are willing to search, to put yourself out there, and take a risk. And the greater the risk, the greater the reward. Finally, remember that “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

Dr. G
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at

2024-03-09 Randy Gilchrist

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to