This will probably be a rather unique thread around here.
To start us off, and while it's odd to mention this, believe me this is relevant... I've been playing a game called Fire Emblem Fates. It's an amazing game by the way. You can marry people in that game, but the canon pairing is actually between your cousin. You never grow up with her, but you end up growing very close. She never tells you you're related, but you find out in one of the versions. There are three versions: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. Only in Revelation do you find out you're related to her. I'm almost finished with the Revelations version and it made me go into deep though, and also gave me a great deal of self reflection.
To go into detail about my personal issues, I have aspergers syndrome, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, ADHD, dyspraxia, and depression. When I was in my late teens, I was on very bad medication and I had to deal with school. I was also hormonal and I even had conflicting feelings about family, but I'll get to that later. I'm 22 and since I hit my 20s, for the first time in my life, I'm at peace with myself and I'm a far more stable person than I used to be, so that's on my side.
When I was under 10 years old, I met my second cousin for the first time in my life, and we met another time after that too. We live in different states, but the first time we met, we instantly grew close. Both our parents had us in their 30s, and she's only a year older than me. She was younger than the rest of her generation. Meanwhile, on both sides of my family, it was just my brother and I, who's younger than me. We actually had no first cousins growing up. My dad's sister never married anyone, and my mom's brothers married someone infertile (who he ended up divorcing. I never even met her in my life.), and the other is actually gay. It's understandable how easily we bonded.
I reconnected to her and then we really hit it off again. She said to me more than once before that I was like a brother to her. Eventually I ended up having conflicting feelings about this due to not growing up with any first cousins. I talked it over with my parents and they both acted like it was the time to talk about this... They both gave me lengthy discussions. Unfortunately around this time is when a bipolar episode of mine triggered. It started just when I became 17, and it lasted for about a year and was really affecting other aspects of my life. I was in a one track mind and it was really focused and intense on the subject matter. I ended up reaching out to plenty of family members, close or distant. I even took a plane to see her extended family for Christmas, although she wasn't there because she couldn't make it.
What I'm getting at is is that I ended up falling for her. She let me down gently and then she acted like nothing happened when I apologized and wanted to move on. However, I ended up becoming more and more argumentative with her and she really did nothing wrong the whole time. In fact, it was hard to explain my relationship with her. I wouldn't call her family relationship with me unconditional, but she was very forgiving to me. I would actually go as far to say she may have been the closest distant relative to me I ever had, and mostly everything she did with me was out of kindness. The worst part about the whole thing was I never really told her about my conflictions because I was so focused, intense, and so keen on not changing my ways at the time.
Now, I've read up on a lot of stuff because of how much it took over my life. There are actually people who have no extended family at all. There are people whose parents have no brothers and sisters so they have no aunts or uncles. I've also read up on the degrees of genetic relation and even in first cousins the chances of birth defects are actually quite low. So it should be nonexistent in second cousins. My great great grandparents were first cousins, although that's only on my father's side and my mom and her mom are first cousins. To get to the point, even after reading so much about it, the episode didn't really end until I hit 18, and that's also when I switched medication and was almost out of school.
Now that I've hit my 20s, I have decided to move on from my distant relatives and I'm now close to most of my extended family as well as my immediate family. I actually made it a goal for myself to constantly improve and self reflect now and I'm a much better person than I used to be. I even plan to have children one day because of my lack of extended family. My brother has actually expressed interest in that too.
However, after playing Fire Emblem Fates, it really touched me. It also made me look back and realize how horrible I was acting. I haven't talked to her in years, but now I want to make amends with her, but I'm not sure what angle I should approach this situation. I'm not really interested in a romantic relationship with her anymore. If it ends up that way possibly, but I want to start the whole thing over.
Any advice or questions you want to give or ask me?