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love Head vs Heart

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I joined this site a year ago, and have been a silent reader for a long time, and would now like some advice on my situation if possible. I will try and keep this as simple as i can.

- I am 24, and my 1st cousin (once removed) is 41 (17 years older). We met when i was 18 and we were best friends for a few years, and then got together and kept our relationship hidden for 4 years. the last year of the relationship - we went public, but the people we were out with - didn't know the relation.

- He honestly looks like he's in his mid 30s and there is no issue with my friends - we all go out and have a good time.

- for the past 6 years this man has been the love of my life - to the point where i would do anything and everything for hm - i haven't dated or been with anyone else (despite my friends thinking we have only been together for 2 years)

- during our time together he has been under alot of emotional and financial stress, and lots of different excuses to close himself off emotionally, making it a really hard experience for me, where i had to put in all the effort.

- we have broken up and he has pushed me away time and time again, but i always stayed because i knew deep down how we both felt, and for the same reason he never really left

2 weeks ago it happened again - nothing was really changing and it was time for me to walk away for good

- only a week after - he called and was absolutely beside himself - and since then has made some contact despite it still being over. He has finally realised what he had and how stupid he as for not realising it all before and wants to spend the rest of his life with me.

now i read this and i have the same thought as my friends - and the answer is - why would he change now?

but the truth is, i know this man, and i know this time is different - i know that if i went back, we would never ever experience this again.

BUT -  now don't know what to do.

I think Ive met the love of my life, and he knows he's met his. but I'm only 24 and i dint know any different?

I know what i feel for him, i know how much i love him - but the idea of being realted plus the age are now really playing on my mind

am fighting myself every day trying to work this out.

I'm so worried that i am going to throw away being with my sole mate, because I'm scared of what people will think or say. (about 20 people know we are related - but i don't actually see them - its just through facebook)

do i just take some time to date other people and then make a choice?

has anyone had the experience of friends abandoning them or being humiliated? i know I'm not supposed to care about what people think - but I'm 24 and i do.

i don't want to feel anxious about getting married and people findin out and i do

I'm fighting myself so much and trying to work out if i should listen to my heart or my head

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I've just read your post three times and have been trying to be sure I understand what you are saying.

You said that he has been under lots of stress and you had to make ALL THE EFFORT.  He pushed you away again and again but you stayed.  That sounds very one sided to me.  I think he is emotionally abusing you which is very bad.  Has he ever physically abused you?

Your relationship was hidden for four years.  Was he ever in another relationship and, if so, how did it turn out.

Since you've been reading our site for a year, I'm sure you've seen my recommendations for the NASTY PEOPLE book.  You can get it for your kindle.  It is not expensive and the information is about how people try to control you and how you can handle that.

From your post, I am seeing all kinds of "red flags".    I was in two emotionally abusive marriages so I can see things  are rough for you.  Because of the NP book, I changed how I think and I am now very, very happy and confident.

I think, in your situation, you need to let your head be the deciding factor. 

Send me a pm if you want.  We are here to support and encourage you.



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We have all experienced rejection in love and relationships!!  It's not that we don't care what people say about us - all of us do - but we shouldn't let other people change our perceptions of ourselves.  We all hurt when people are mean and hateful to us, but the key is not to internalize it and not to believe that we deserve to be treated that way. 

This 'come here - go away' type of relationship is no relationship at all.  I'm not sure exactly what he does to push you away, but it's been 6 years of come here - go away, and I can't imagine it getting any better.  My guess is that he is content with the way things are.  He can treat you poorly and still have you come back to him time and again.

Of course, you need to change also and not allow this kind of treatment.  You are worth more than this!

The secrecy of your relationship combined with the age difference concerns me (and listen, my sister has been married for 24 years to a man 20 years older that her, so I am not prejudiced against May-Dec relationships at all) Even you hid it from your friends for 4 years!  That's a long time!!

You say that he is the only man you have ever dated or been with.  I will give you the same advice I would give my own daughters:

Take a break from dating or being with anyone right now.  Discover yourself.  Discover those things that make you happy and bring you satisfaction in life (away from romance).  Work on improving your job skills and your relationships with your girl friends.  If you don't have a college degree, enroll in some classes.  You are too young to be carrying this kind of burden.  Love and romance should bring you more happiness than heartache.

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thanks for the replies.

Yes, it has been a really  tough couple of years, but this man has been dealt a really unlucky and bad hand of card. and I know eople turn around and say, its not good enough - you shouldn't ever tret anyone like that. and no, i have never been physicallly abused, and it was just more him being emotionally shut off, and never thinking he would be able to provide for me or give me a good future. he pushed me away to tell me to go and fnd happiness, because thats all he has ever wanted for me. e kept it a secret for so long because the stage in my life i was at - the only people i was friends with, new him as my cousin, and we were too scared to share that

I know it sounds very one sided and the facts seem simple. they do. he is an exceptionally good and kind hearted person, who lost his way for a long time. we boh supported each other through some of the toughest times in our life. This is someone who would do anything for me, and someone who i get on with and laugh and am very compatible with.

My issue isn't our intrinsic problems. s tough as its been, i know this man, and i know that he wants to spend the rest of his life, being happy with me. and i believe him 100%

But my head keeps thinking about the age and the relation. thats what i can't get around. 

Serendpity - what are your thoughts on potential problems with the age?

Keep in mind - this guy wants everything i do - he wants to travel, and have a family, and still enjoys going out and doing all the things i love.

i'm worried bout being judged, not about what we feel for each other.

But i also agree that we both need time and space. and as hard as it is, i am trying to not call or text or any of that. As much as it is killing me.

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All relationships have difficulties and obstacles to overcome.  May-December relationships have some issues that are particular to them.

There are a whole host of physical, biological, sexual and emotional issues that are particular to a couple with a large age gap.  Realizing that he will be 60 (at least) when your first child graduates high school, that you will most likely be the one taking care of him as you get older, and that you are in different stages of life are all potential difficulties.  Being informed and realistically thinking through potential pitfalls is necessary for this, and any, relationship. There is no reason that a May-December relationship can not be lasting and fulfilling.  As with any relationship, communication is the key to finding balance in your lives.  But you are wise to take a look at the special circumstances surrounding them. 

My main concern with your age difference is that you have no other relationship to compare this one to, he has been the "older, wiser" man while you have turned from teenager to young woman. 

Let me just add, since you mentioned this is your last post:

When someone tells you that he is leaving because he wants you to "go and find happiness" - he is being manipulative and controlling.  He is trying to make decisions for you. 

he pushed me away to tell me to go and fnd happiness,

it was just more him being emotionally shut off, and never thinking he would be able to provide for me or give me a good future.

it has been a really  tough couple of years, but this man has been dealt a really unlucky and bad hand of card

I don't know how many times he has "pushed you away", but anymore than 2, you need to turn around and not look back.  Many of us have been dealt really rotten hands in life.  The difficult times are when we lean on those we love, not push them away.  Divorce, bankruptcy, addictions, the death of friends and family, serious illness...these are all part of life.  If you marry this man, is he going to push you away when he gets handed another rotten deal?  I would not trust that his behavior is going to change simply because he has said "I do". 

Women no longer need a man to take care of them.  If you are not in a position to take care of yourself financially, then change that.  Go to college or get some vocational training.  If a woman decides to be a stay at home mom - GREAT!  But to not be able to take care of yourself if your partner/husband dies or has to leave the work force due to an injury or illness is a very scary situation to be in.  Make sure you are able to take care of yourself!

Do whatever you want, but I don't see much positive in this relationship. 

As for being cousins - you cannot live life hoping that you won't be judged by other people.  You have been a "silent reader" on this forum for a year now and should have all the information you need to make an informed decision about that aspect of your relationship.

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