Since I can remember I have always had a special place in my heart for my first cousin “Leah”. We didn’t live close to each other but spent summers together. Her family would visit mine and my family would go visit hers. We lived about 400 miles apart.
Growing up together even at a young age I knew there was always something special about Leah to me. As I grew older those feeling grew and developed into what I know now as love. At first I thought it was just a stupid crush, I always wanted to be around her and do things together with her and her family.
The times I spent with her were some of the best memories of my life. We never kissed or played “Doctor” it was always good clean fun. I always carried her in my heart and when I would get a chance to spend time with her I took it. As I continued to grow into a teenager my feelings grew stronger and I felt guilty and wrong about it.
There were times I was embarrassed on how much I felt towards her. Yes I had girlfriends in High School, went to dances and parties and had a lot of fun. I had very few “serious” relationships because I always compared them to Leah. No one came close. She on the other hand had met someone when she was young and fell in love with him. They dated through high school and eventually got married. He seemed a nice guy and I was happy for her. I was even in her wedding party as groomsmen. I was truly happy for her even though inside I felt like I was dying.
I knew I couldn’t keep just going on as I was and I had to let her go. I joined the Marine Corps to get away and start my own life. As I went into my twenties I had girlfriends come and go. Some fell in love with me and I ended up breaking their hearts because I didn’t feel the same way. Eventually I left the Marines and went back to college got a degree.
All the while I kept in minor contact with Leah and her family. I would visit when I could sometimes but not too much. She had her own life to live and I sure didn’t want to interfere. We would hang out from time to time with her husband around of course. I never told her how I felt, and I was always guarded around her to not let on how I felt. Although there were times when I believe she knew I cared for her deeply, maybe beyond normal caring, but she never let on.
In my late 20’s her and her husband had their first child. At this time I was really happy for her because I knew she always wanted to be a mom. I knew she would make a terrific mother. I still loved her so very much. Being around her was always made me feel like I was floating in a happy bubble. But I knew I couldn’t live like this, it wasn’t healthy for me so I began to distance myself from her and her family.
Eventually I met someone who I settled on. I know it sounds harsh and I did love her in some ways but it was nothing for what I had felt for Leah. I took advice from my grandfather at the time to find someone and settle down, so I did. I was 30 at this time. My marriage wasn’t great. We really were not compatible and what I originally really loved her for changed. It lasted about 10 years with a lot of ups and downs and finally I knew I couldn’t stay with her any longer we divorced. I know now it was a mistake, although I thought I loved her it wasn’t anything like I felt for Leah, even though I worked to get past it. I felt I had when I married but I was wrong.
After the divorce I am in my 40’s now I have a good career and make good money. I am not rich but I don’t struggle either. Leah at this time had two kids who have grown into wonderful little women. Her mom had passed away a about 8 years ago, I was there for it supporting her family and grieving as well. Then after a few years her dad became sick and had a heart attack and died. I loved him greatly and it hurt to lose him as you can imagine her grief as well.
About a year ago she contacted me and I found out she was leaving her husband. The man who I thought was a good guy turned out not to be. He had run around on her and done some very nasty things to her and the kids (nothing illegal but just mean). I met up with her and we talked a lot she poured out her grief and who she felt bad for the kids and so on. The girls are now 15 and 18 years old and agree with their mom that she needed to leave him.
I have since been there both emotionally and financially to help her move on and get divorced. We text and talk daily. My love for her is still strong and I would do anything to help her. I have expressed in many ways what a perfect women I think she is and that her divorce has nothing to do with her but he forced her hand. I helped her get into a new house, helped paid some bills have gone up to visit many times. I have not made any attempts to tell her my true feelings because I know she has so much going on and that I wouldn’t want to burden her with this.
We have been playful with each other, saying that we do love each other but keeping more of a “I love you man” kind of talk. I have had a few moments where I did express to her she is the most beautiful, kind, amazing woman I know. I have expressed how wonderful I think she is as a person and a mom. I offer this supporting her. While going through the divorce she has gone on a few dates and I encouraged her to be careful and not rush into anything. Although I am jealous I wouldn’t show anything but support for her.
The divorce will be final soon and I am coming to a cross road. She has expressed to me a couple of time that she wished we weren’t cousins and that God played a cruel joke on us by putting us in each other’s lives but making us cousins. The other day I said I wish I could steal you away, and she told me to do it! Although we were using the laughing emoji’s. She then made a comment I never expected, she said “you know in other states marrying your cousin is legal”. I replied back,” you want to move”. She said back “maybe” with a laughing emoji next to it. She has told me that she loved me, also that I am a great guy and she doesn’t understand why I am single.
My cross road is that after the divorce is final, I want to tell her how I truly feel, just throw it all out there. Although a part of me is wondering if I should tell her sooner. The reason I say that is that she is trying online dating. Although she has gone on a few dates its nothing serious. I don’t know if she was just being kind to me or if she means what she says. Even though I am 44 and she is 47 I am still not sure if this is something I should burden her with. She can’t have kids anymore, which I am fine with. I really just want her in my life, I want to grow old with her, love her better than she has ever been loved. I am worried for both of us if we started into a relationship what her kids would think, what my parents would think etc… Although I am more worried about her kids being able to accept it because they are her world. If I had her in my life I really don’t think I would need anything else. I dream of running away with her, being with her always. I have never even kissed her before. After all these years she is the one girl that I know I am absolutely in love with. Do I wait? Do move on it now? Do I just help her start a new life and move on?
Thanks for reading my story!