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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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Guest JengaMan

I like my second cousin, she might like me. I need advice

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Sorry this is a pretty long one, but it turns out relationships are complicated! Any advice or help is greatly, greatly appreciated.

To get the age aside I just turned 20 a few weeks ago, and she's turning 18 pretty soon in case anyone's wondering.

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It all began around Christmas break when I came home to visit family. we had always been friends, but only in group settings and not in any personal way. I always noted how beautiful and great she was, I just never considered dating her in any way (second cousins and all). But things changed.

I was over at their house pretty often through the break. It's the social hub for all our friends, her parents love having us over, and the place is perfectly designed for large groups of people. Once again, I felt nothing towards her yet, until one particular night. As me and my best friend were leaving her house, literally on the stairs to the exit, we started talking. We were there till 4 AM, and near the end I looked at her... and I got struck by lightning.

I started to shake, bad. I kept my crap together until we left, but I got home and the next day my body shut down. I was shaking, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, and when I thought about her for a mere second my entire chest would scrunch in a ball and start rolling until I was dizzy. I talked to my Mom about it, and strangely enough she was quite excited by it. That's when I decided I was going to chase after her.

It started awkwardly. I never liked texting, but I started doing it for her. I asked her out places, came by more often, and I would lock eyes with her longer then usual. We had tons of fun together, but time was running out. I had to leave to go back to where I was working. I decided that I was going to let it go for now, and when I came back for school that I would see if she was interested at all.

I went back to work, and everything was fine. I skyped her and her sister a week in, and we texted every day. It was actually a lot of fun, even though I was so far away. At this point she knew I liked her, but I had no idea how she felt, and at the time it didn't matter. I was gone for work over 1,000 miles away so there was nothing that could be done. At least, until life threw a curve ball at me.

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My Dad had an accident 10 days after I left, a bad one. I won't go into too much detail, but when I was on the plane coming home the doctor said he would die or be on a bag the rest of his life. It was awful, and I came back after barely being gone.

I was back for a week, and I had a routine by the end of it. I would leave early in the morning to drive to the hospital. Then I would visit family, friends, sit and talk to my Dad (who was mostly incohesive), and then go back home and see "her" again. It was every night, we went to a local coffee shop and shared a BLT, talked late into the night, and it was some of the greatest times of my life.

My Dad recovered miraculously, more than anyone had expected. No bag, a survivor and he was doing great. Once again, I had to leave, but this time before I left her house the final time I told her straight up how I felt.

I said that I liked her, and if the day would come I'd take her out to dinner. She smiled, the atmosphere was natural, but she said she was still getting over her ex (they broke up in October). I was fine with that, it was what I assumed, but I just wanted her to know how I felt. With that I left, this time with a full intent to come home next month permanently. I was going to school near home anyway, and the trauma with my Dad was enough to jar me into coming back.

We texted everyday, we Skyped often, and I was happy with how it was going. I was coming home in a month, and I yearned to see her again. Then suddenly my best friend (also my second cousin, her cousin) skyped me. He said that he didn't think it was going to work out, and she didn't seem interested in me.

I was so hurt, and it crushed me that they seemed it was best he told me. Not only that, but she never rejected me from the start. The way we hung out every night, went to the coffee shop, texted everyday. It made no sense, and I was upset. I stopped answering her texts, and she eventually called me out on it.

I told her I had no idea what she wanted, and I had no interest in this. We fought for a little, and then I eventually said we're Skyping. She agreed. We talked, and I laid out everything we had done and why it made no sense that she felt nothing and decided it best I found out the way I did. She was upset too, it turns out my best friend made some mistakes in the details, and she just wasn't sure what she felt yet. Especially considering we're second cousins.

Eventually things got emotional and she started crying. She said she was afraid I would abandon her the way her ex did if she pushed me away. I backed off, and told her that I liked what we had now, and I would always be there irrelevant to what she felt. We've been friends for years, I would happily return to it if she wanted it. We agreed that we would look at our relationship as a whole in a couple months, and finished there. Everything went back to the way it was, texting, Skyping, and it was all good again.

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I got home last week after resigning at my job on the other side of the country. I've seen her a lot since, just last night I was up till 1:30AM with her, her sister, and my best friend. We laid on the bed together, not in any romantic way, but we talked a lot.

I'm worried, worried she'll get stolen away, or she just told me what she wanted to hear. We still text, talk, but I have no idea where it's going. I want her, and I will wait for her. Should I try to talk to her 1-on-1 and see where she stands? Should I give her space (considering her past relationship that ended in October)? I have no idea what the next step is, how I should approach it. We're second cousins, but I think it'd be a blast to be together.

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JengaMan,

Don't worry about the length of your post, I get awful windy myself as a rule. This will be one of those times.

Now, to you and your second cousin. Like you, I have a second cousin I'm awful fond of. We love each very much, and enjoy what little time we get to spend together these days. We're very much alike, and I've went into all of that recently in another thread. Read about the place here, and enjoy. As a mod, and as a rule, I have a little peek to see where our members and guests are to ascertain their legal situation. However, it doesn't really matter where you are, second cousins can get married everywhere we're aware of, and it's perfectly safe for the two of you to have kids, without worry about the genetic issues (overblown as they are) among first cousins. WAY out in front of where the two of you are at this point, but, good to know just the same.

As to the potential relationship at hand, my advice it to tread very slowly. You're 20, she's either legal where you are, or soon will be. Take your time. Let her work out whatever issues she has from her former relationship. Stay close, and don't push. Let her know you aren't going anywhere, and you'll wait on her however long it takes. Build the friendship even more. Coffee and a sammich, perhaps a movie night on occasion, and these late night chats are going to go a long way toward that. Focus on your schooling, and to the very best of your ability, encourage her to do the same. Get smart, both of you. Give this at least a couple years before you really ramp up the volume. I won't say no physical, but let her take the lead on where and how far that goes. Unless, it goes a little TOO fast for comfort. And it CAN get very intense, very quickly, TRUST ME. Let her know the "cousin thing" doesn't really bother you, and she shouldn't let it bother her either. Let her know that if things progress, you'll let her know why she shouldn't let it bother her, and when and if she is ready, you'll show her why. At that point, bring her here, and show her the facts. If she doesn't already know it, let her know your mother is excited about the possibility, and would probably run interference on any potential drama for you two. Tell her you really want to do this, but you certainly want to do it right. As is a common saying around here, "You may break up, but you can't 'divorce' family." If you're going to do it, you want to go all in, for the long haul. If you haven't already, you may as well tell her the effect she had on you that one night that this all came to the surface. It will stroke her ego a little probably. You want to go at it like you would any other potential life-long relationship. Slow and steady for the long term, and you may as well expect a bump or two in the road as you go. Don't get discouraged, it goes with the territory.

I tell you these things because when I was your age, me and my same age second cousin DIDN'T do it that way. We had been "best/favorite cousins" since we were 10ish or so, and found out we were born a week apart. When we were 20, through a series of events, we hooked up and ran pretty hard for a couple weeks. One thing led to another, and in VERY short order, things got VERY intense, VERY quickly. Our Moms are first cousins, and would have been fine with it. In fact, as with your Mom, they would have been more than tickled, we've came to learn. I mean, her Mom knew. When we came in all rumpled up, after obviously just crawling out of the sack, it left little to her imagination. She was speechless, (which IS odd for her, LOL) but once she regained her composure, she got a grin like the "Cheshire cat." When we walked away from it, I told my Mom "Don't be surprised, if some day, me and Cuz don't umm,,,,, become an 'item'". She said "So long as you treat her good and you make each other happy, I can certainly live with that...." That's the kind of Mom I have, so, yeah, it would have been all good. Who knows, had we sat the two of them down, and asked their opinions, maybe she would have not been so nervous. But, we didn't. Maybe that should be on your agenda if things head that way. 

This was over 30 years ago. Back then, there was no internet, more less a site like this. Information regarding cousin couples was by and large "old wives tales" of kids with 12 fingers and toes, and two heads, all that nonsense. She got scared, I didn't push her for more, and we backed off, and walked away from it. We let the whole affair be extremely awkward for DECADES. (We're 52 now) By walking away, letting it be awkward, and not staying in touch, (for fear of falling over the edge, and ruining our subsequent relationships, among other things) we were either never "available", or didn't realize we were, at the same time afterwards, to where we could explore the possibilities. Now, at this late date, there really is no going back. We both have SO's, and much too much water has passed beneath the bridge. There'll be no shenanigans. We have no stomach for cheating with each other.  But, we've aired it all out, got over the "awkward", and it's all good now. We're back to where we were "before". We look at it as something that helped shape us into the people we are today. By and large, we are considerably less judgmental than we may have been otherwise. It happened, we don't regret it, we'd probably do it all again, but handle it a little differently by not letting it be so awkward for so long. Who knows, had we known what we do now, perhaps we would have gone for it. But, I would have really had to draw her into it. If I had tried to push, it wouldn't have worked. Even at our age now, and if we didn't have SOs and were available, she would STILL be nervous as to what people would say. Whether she could ever get over it, we'll never know. I know for sure she wouldn't want to see me tell someone to go suck an egg if they did have the nerve to say something about it. And I would too.  :grin:

Don't do like us, and move so fast it overwhelms you, her, or both of you. Get smart, get independent, and if things fall in place, go for it then, and don't let anybody talk you out of it.....

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