I don't really have anyone else to talk to about this except my therapist, so here it goes. I'm Annabelle, 20 years old, and I'm having a secret affair with my older first cousin, named Michael. He's 27, and has a 30 year old girlfriend of about 4 years now roughly. I've always had feelings for him before our affair started, but now things are different. Ever since we kids I've wanted him. He's bright, smart, funny, sweet and caring and beautiful and he makes me feel at peace. And after many years of withholding myself from him, I found out that he has felt the same way about me too. We came out to each other about our feelings about a week ago actually, and now we've started this rocky affair that nobody knows about. We have fun when we're together, we really enjoy each others company, and to be honest I don't think we've ever been closer. I'm so happy. But we haven't told anyone, and he has made it very clear that nobody can ever really know about us. We don't exactly have a family that is very open-minded about these sort of relationships, so we don't have much of a choice here than to just keep it hidden. And what's worse is we work for the same company: my uncle's plumbing business (my uncle, who is my cousin's father). Michael works in the field and I work in the office with my aunt and other cousins (Michael's sisters) but occasionally he has to come into the office to drop off paperwork or just to say hi to his mother, and let me tell ya, the tension between us when that happens is overwhelming. Literally we are surrounded by our family every day practically, and although I'm elated to see him and be with him, it doesn't help but make me feel like a twisted, dirty person to be hiding such a big secret from his whole family. We have to be very, very hush-hush about everything. We can't be seen alone together by anyone we know in public. We can't spend the night at either of our homes, because A) He has a roommate and a girlfriend and I live with my mother. We can't talk to anyone we know about this problem, either, so we're forced to bottle everything up inside. The only people we can talk to about us is each other, and I can't even text him most of the time. I have to wait for him to text me first, just in case his girlfriend is around. And THEN we have to delete our texts after sending them. It's obvious, I think, that we're never going to be able to be together freely while we still live with/around our family members and while he still has a girlfriend. THAT is another problem for me: his girlfriend. I like his girlfriend a lot, we get along very well, and I know it's slightly disconcerting to say but I don't feel any guilt at all for having an affair with my cousin while he's still with her, even though I know I should. I feel very comfortable, and very grateful to just be able to be with him, no matter what the circumstances are. But then, I'm conflicted. I'm conflicted because the manner of our relationship makes me feel dirty, and sneaky, and like I'm a sick twisted human being who has feelings for her cousin and they're wrong, wrong wrong. He doesn't help much with this because he also believes that our feelings are wrong, despite the fact that we're really happy when we're around each other. We laugh and kiss and hold hands and it's wonderful. So I think what I need advice about here is, A) how do I cope with having such a sneaky, hidden affair? I love being with my cousin so much, I love everything about him but what we have makes me feel ashamed just because of how we go about it. I want things to be easier, brighter, and more enjoyable between us! Not so secretive and tense and dark. How can I change this? How wrong am I for having a relationship with my cousin while he has a girlfriend? We've talked about his girlfriend lots before, and to be honest it doesn't seem like he really enjoys being with her. They have a lot of ups and downs in their relationship, but we both know that he can't break up with her. At first I thought this was a good thing, that way we'd have more cover for our affair. But now I just feel ashamed. Not just because he's my cousin, but because he has a girlfriend. And I have FEELINGS for him, so of course I'm jealous of her, despite how well we get along as friends. I'm so conflicted in this area. C) How do come to terms with the reality that me and my cousin will never be able to truly be together? Our families would never, ever, ever let us. As long as we live and work where we do, we will always be a secret, and he's already told me that moving would be a big change for him. Too big to actually consider. So how do I learn to accept the cards fate has dealt me? I can't stop having feelings for him. They won't go away, no matter what I do, and I'm already talking to my therapist about this. I just want to be with him, no matter what the situation is, but I can't get myself to feel 100% comfortable in this taboo affair we have. How do I teach myself to accept it - whether "it" is a secret affair, or nothing at all?