My love story is different than any I've ever read about but also very similar. I am 18 years old and my cousin is 26. And since there is such a big age gap it's pretty obvious, to me at least, that we didn't really grow up in each other's lives. I remember seeing him a total of 3 times until everything started happening. He went through so much in his younger years that I didn't even know about until last summer. His mom got strung out on pain pills and moved out and never talked to him or his dad again which it can relate to because my dad kinda did the same thing. He also was in a serious relationship at 18 with a girl his age and they were engaged and she had a wreck one day and it killed her and along with finding out his fianc? had passed away, he found out that she was a couple months pregnant with his kid as well. He also went through several awful break ups after all that. So being said he had a lot of trust issues and was terrified to let anybody in. Well it all started with me and him when I was 17 and he was 25. It was almost his birthday and he and our cousin from out of state came over to my house and we all drank and talked and had a good time (yes I'm too young to drink it's bad for me blah blah I know) but anyways that was the first time I had seen him since I was 4 or 5 and he honestly took my breath away. Something about him lit a flame inside me and made me feel a way I had never felt before. Well a couple weeks later after his birthday he invited me to come over and finish off a bottle of wine with him so I did and I ended up getting pretty drunk and felt fearless and I asked if I could sleep in bed with him and he kinda laughed and said okay. So we went to bed and I got a little too close and started breathing on his neck and he asked if I was okay and I smiled and said yes and got even closer and had my head on his chest and said sorry but I like to cuddle and he laughed and I was too drunk to realize that this was really happening and I was actually doing this and he wasn't freaking out too bad so I went for more and kissed his neck and honestly I can't really remember how or when but we ended up "making love" and it was the most mind blowing, amazing thing I've ever felt in my life and at that moment I knew I was addicted. The day after we had a long talk about how that could not happen again. I agreed and we went on with the day. Well later on that night he was on the couch and I was on the other one and I seen he had his phone in his hand and I wanted to see him get all shy and embarrassed (my uncle was also in the room and had no idea about the night before) so I texted him "I want you." And he smiled and texted back saying he knew what I meant. And that night we did it again. Twice in a row, a total of 3 hours straight. After that he made me promise that sex was all it was going to be. Nothing more. We could not develop feelings. And we didn't. For a while... 2 months later I started dating a guy my age and I stopped going to my cousins every night and started falling for my boyfriend, so I thought. When I finally told my cousin after a couple months of dating the new guy, he told me immediately that we had to stop all of this. And for some reason that broke me down. I cried on his shoulder for a couple hours knowing that we had to stop but the thought of not having him to hold me and kiss me and take me places I've never been before and just stopping all of it was enough to scare me out of my relationship. I quickly ended it and soon realized that somehow, the "no feelings allowed" thing had vanished and I definitely had feelings, love, for my cousin. Somewhere between the sex and the kissing and the holding me while I cry and helping me out with things and all the pillow talk,I had fallen in love. The first time I told him I loved him he didn't say it back. And deep inside it crushed me. I rolled over and silently broke down. I was so sure the feelings were mutual.. The next night I asked for him to be straight up and raw about how he felt for me. And he choked up and couldn't really say anything. I had broken down his walls and made him feel a way he promised himself he would never feel for someone again, especially his cousin. And he didn't know how to be okay with it. But day by day he got the courage and let it all sink in and finally said he loved me too. I could hear the pain and fear in his voice when he said it. I promised I wouldn't take advantage of it. And daily I reminded him that I wasn't going anywhere and his heart was safe in my hands. And he didn't 100% believe it for a while. But my repetitive affection and kind words really helped him through it and showed him that it was okay to let his walls down and let somebody love him again, even if it happened to be his cousin. And to this day we still have a strong, happy, relationship. He trusts me 150% and has opened up every inch of his heart to me and has tore the walls down and completely let me in. And even though we've had a secret relationship this whole time, with not a single sole knowing about it but us, we've made it work and our love is stronger than ever and not a day goes by where either of us regret our decisions or lose faith in each other. And I just know one day I will marry this man and it will all be worth it and I can finally fully treat him like the king he deserves to be treated like.