In my opinion you need to start using the 'AF-ON' method.
Just do it- you will be glad you did.
Decouple AF from the shutter button. Select C-AF. Learn to prod the 'AF-ON' button whenever you want to focus.
I know it sounds a PITA, but it is certainly the best way to go.
You'll never go back to having the AF operate when you press the shutter. In my opinion, setting the cameras up the way Nikon ship them should be an option but the 'AF-ON' method should be the normal way of using the autofocus.