June 6, 2018

Question: I moved to Bali from Thailand a few years ago, so all my conversations with my ex have been pretty much online at this point. I generally don’t answer my phone when she calls because if I did, she’d call all the time. So after a few years of this, she’s stopped calling except for rarely, and this works for me. She still loves me, and I still love her, and we’re both still attracted to each other. This is the reason why we were dating in the first place. But she has no idea what boundaries are and appears unfamiliar with the concept of “alone time.” When we were dating, I didn’t get to have my own life. That’s why I broke up with her. It’s also why I’m hesitant to get involved with her again. On the other hand, is it insane to let boundary issues ruin what’s otherwise a good relationship with good sex?


Dr. ZZ: So you’re asking me about getting back together with a woman who has no sense of boundaries or personal time? In fact, things were so bad the first time around that you broke up, moved away, and ignored all of her calls in order for her to get the message. Do you know what women call men who berate them with endless phone calls, have “boundary issues,” and “still love them”? Stalkers! Even if this woman is just a person who is blissfully unaware of the concept of personal space, you’re doing her a disservice by remaining in contact with her. Chances are she thinks her online connection with you is a gateway to getting back together, when in reality you seem to be keeping her on   the back shelf just in case you feel like reaching out down the road. Do both of yourselves a favor, and end contact for a while.

I’m not saying you have to wait for “someone who has no issues” because, let’s be honest, everyone has issues. You just need to be more discerning and find someone who doesn’t have giant neon red alarm issues blinking all around her. So buck up, and get some self-esteem about your own identity. That way you won’t feel like you have to settle for a woman with a boatload of problems.


Question: My wife and I have been married for 11 years, and our 7-year-old son’s enthusiasm for life brings me great joy. Now we are planning a second child, a girl, whom I am imagining with blond hair. This would not be so spectacular were my wife not Asian. In concern that I carry the gene for alcoholism as well, and that we may have dodged a bullet with our first-born, we have asked my brother, who has my blond coloring, and who does not carry the alcoholism gene, to contribute sperm for fathering our next child.

Although gene editing is not available publicly yet, it will most likely become an option in the next couple of years, and it is available both legally and illegally now in certain countries. My wife works in a medical lab in one such county, giving us access to this technology now, all of which has me pondering the possibility of creating a custom version of our next ideal offspring.

There are, or course, many unanswered questions. The general consensus is that before any such options are made popular, Science must first better understand the entirety of the function of the gene(s) in question regarding what else, if anything, these genes contribute. There are also some ethical/regulatory issues in play; so my personal opinion goes back and forth. Do I want to experiment like this to “custom design” an offspring? Or do we take our chances as we did with our son? I’d be interested in your opinion if you think this topic is not too esoteric for your readership.


Dr. ZZ: Esoteric or not, the subject of gene editing is beyond my field of expertise; issues of “control” and “power,” however, are not, and I wonder why you would want to exercise or entertain the notion of having so much control over yours and another person’s life. The old standby joke pertains: “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Right now on certain social media websites, for example, there are between 58 and 71 gender options that people can choose from in claiming a sexual identity. To imagine that your test tube offspring is going to happily conform to your ideas of what you imagine he/she should be is a setup for emotional disaster.

Your role as a parent is to love your offspring and to allow them to be who and what they are, not who and what you think they should be. Control is not a sound strategy for happiness; adaptability is. You may want to look at the aspects of yourself that prompt you to even want to control your own and another person’s life to this extent. A large part of enjoying life is simply in adjusting to the reality that the only constant is change. Even King Midas with his “golden touch” learned in his conundrum that “having it your way” can be disappointing in the end.

Is there wisdom in the possibility of future genetic editing for conditions like MS, Parkinson’s and Down Syndrome? This is something that we as a society, a people, will most likely need to address in the not too distant future. Is genetic editing for appearance a wise next step? Not in an already appearance-obsessed world! Freedom comes in letting go of the outcome and in cultivating inner joy – not in controlling the visual effects.


Dr. ZZ has a Ph.D. in Counseling and a doctorate in Natural Healing. Drawing on a background of over thirty years as a professional therapist, she offers self-help in the areas health, relationship and personal growth. All queries are answered by email and, if they appear in print, are subject to editing. Please email your questions : <ba.saywhat@yahoo.co.id> All identifying information is kept strictly confidential.


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