"Loving protection" continues right up until the moment he makes his move -- then things should shift into survival mode.
When he has a change of heart, it's back to "loving protection."
That's the best I can do at my current skill level. If someone can do better, I bow to them.
But for the long run, I don't fill my brain with a lot of "what if" scenarios. I barely have enough brain cells left to cope with the day-to-day problems at hand.
Generally, I think that people who walk around with a "loving-protection" attitude come off as being false. They often end up being the first ones to lose their cool when the chips are down and tensions get high.
For me, if I can just be straight-forward and sincere, that's good enough. I always respect a guy who's straight and trustworthy. Plus, a guy like that is ususally very clear and hard to fool.
I've got this one student who's very talented, but recently he's acting like he cares too much when he does waza. It's killing his technique because he always stops the flow, because he thinks that shows he's being careful. It's a big mistake. He won't be able to progress much further until he overcomes this illusion. One can care — but being overly careful can end up creating more probelms than it solves.