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Trying to find out how he feels

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(moved topic from other subforum since it might be more appropriate here)

Hello everyone, pretty happy to have found this place as there are a few people in real life that I can really talk about this with. Well, here goes.

I first fell for my cousin 18 years ago (we'll call him K)...though it hasn't been like that the whole time. My feelings for him mostly lasted from 1998 to 2004. I eventually got over him because he had such a temper tantrum against me that I decided he wasn't worth my time and energy (and to the best of my knowledge, it didn't seem like it was mutual anyway). During that time, K got married, I got married and also now have a child, and he also got divorced...and neither time did I ever regret not ever being with him. I still thought he was extremely attractive but my feelings were all but done with him. That is...until some months back.

Honestly, I'm not sure why my feelings for him just suddenly came back out of nowhere, after an 11-year hiatus, literally. I was perfectly FINE with where I was emotionally and not even thinking about him. Yet here I am now, as if my feelings for K had been lying dormant this entire time and now resurfaced as if nothing has changed. It makes no sense to me whatsoever. For the past few months, not a day goes by without thinking of him...and some days his thoughts almost consume me.

In terms of background...I am turning 33 next month. He is 35, turning 36 in August. So we are just a little over 2.5 years apart. I was born and grew up in the USA, K was born and raised in the UK--Scotland, to be specific, though he now lives in London. Our parents emigrated from Bangladesh to the respective countries we now reside in. We are both Muslim, so cousin marriages are allowed in our religion. The problem mostly for him, I think, is that perceived 'ick' factor...growing up in the UK, I don't think he ever saw cousins as potential marriage partners.

My story is a bit complicated as I now have been married for nearly 5 years and have a 2-year-old daughter. K is currently single (to the best of my knowledge) although I honestly don't know if he is looking to get settled again and/or if he's with someone else already.

Before I go on, please note that I am NOT endorsing infidelity by any means. I am not looking for an extramarital relationship with my cousin at this point, nor would I leave my husband to be with him. I am fortunate to have married someone who treats me with respect and tries to be the best husband and father he can be. But at this point, I just want to know if there was ever a chance between my cousin and myself in the past...I think that will help me put my current feelings to rest and help me move on with my life. Although if he's okay with it...I would like K and I to keep in contact with each other, just as friends. I don't think that's too much to ask. The uncertainty just sometimes becomes unbearable. I just cannot keep my feelings bottled up any longer and only long for some kind of closure.

This might get long but I think it will be helpful to detail events chronologically...although I will try to keep this as concise and high-level as possible.

I first met my cousin in 1990, although I'm pretty sure we were both very young to even consider anything happening, lol (I was 7, he was 10). The next time I met him was in 1998...and the year my crush started...July 17 to be exact. I don't know if it was love at first sight, but what I do know was that I was more surprised by his appearance/personality and the fact that he was someone actually related to me.

Though he never directly stated how he ever felt...there was this one incident that year where we were talking about another mutual older cousin of ours looking to get married and there was a girl his family had been considering, so we were sort of discussing that a bit. And while we were talking about the girl, he just somehow asked me, "Pretty as you?" I did a double-take and said "What?" and he repeated it. I really didn't expect that and just nervously laughed it off, not really knowing what to say. (Thinking back on it now, it drives me crazy! What was he really thinking? Did he really mean it or was he just trying to flatter me?)

Regardless, from that year onward he started referring to me as his 'favorite' cousin. I...honestly don't know what I did to deserve that title, considering he seemed to treat me the same as he did everyone else (and we have a looot of cousins). We saw each other a handful of times during that '98-'04 period. He and his family came to visit us and other relatives in '99, then I saw him in '00, '02, and '04. The incident I mentioned earlier was what finally made me cut myself off from him. (It's not like he tried to keep in touch with me or anything so it was relatively easy.)

So it might have seemed that at least once upon a time, he had at least found me attractive, maybe? But I think the main problem was...he had made it very clear on more than one occasion that he didn't think cousins could and should get married. And so, I never had the courage during that time to ever approach him as to how I felt.

Years later, I fell for another guy (we'll call him T) and during this time I saw my cousin again in '08 when he came for my brother's wedding. I might have started liking him again a LITTLE bit...but I remembered what made me stop liking him in the first place and my feelings pretty much went away again after he left. Anyway I tried pursuing T but long story short he never liked me back, so I was a bit depressed for about a couple years. But I never once thought about liking K again. '08 was actually the last time I physically saw him.

K eventually got married in '09 in Bangladesh and after his wife's visa papers and everything was processed, she came to live with him in '10. Again, I never once felt that I wanted to be with him (despite seeing pictures of the wedding and everything). Although I never met his wife, I had a gut feeling that their marriage wasn't going to last. I eventually met and married my husband in '11. In '12 K's wife left him (went back to Bangladesh and basically told K and his family that she wasn't returning) and their divorce was settled a year or two later I believe. To this day I am not sure what the main cause was; I only know bits and pieces of the story. His sister claims that she was never really able to adjust to life in the UK.

I had my daughter in December 2013. Fast-forward to August 2015...K's father (my oldest maternal uncle) came to visit my family for my brother's medical residency graduation. I had a chance to speak to him a little regarding K and the circumstances around his divorce (as I was never really sympathetic to what happened to K because I always thought it must have been mostly K's fault for his wife leaving him). He basically explained that around the time K's wife came to live with him, K was going through a lot of financial hardship with his business venture and wasn't able to properly care for her, at least in a way that she found acceptable. And so she was mostly staying with his family back up in Scotland while he was working in London (and during this time she was also enrolled in a Master's Program in Scotland so that was another reason she wasn't living with him full-time). Once she was done with her program, she wanted to visit her father who was ill at the time, and well...she basically decided she'd rather stay there than come back to her husband.

And so...after hearing his story, for whatever reason, I somehow became sympathetic to what happened to him. Days pass, and well...I found myself thinking about him again. A lot. And so, this is where my current conundrum comes from...why oh WHHHYYYY did this have to happen to me...argh! Why do my feelings for him have to come back NOW??...

Anyway...after a few weeks, I get his email address from his father and send K an email, asking for his number and whether he uses Whatsapp or any smartphone apps for chatting. I get a pretty quick response (most likely because we haven't talked in so long) and to my surprise, he still referred to me as his favorite cousin. He asks about my daughter (he had seen pics), gives his Whatsapp number and says to keep in touch. I contact him and we pretty much start chatting. To date it's been pretty cordial so far although he doesn't respond too often (apparently too busy with work). He did ask me to start a group chat with our other cousins, which I did. I also asked him privately if we could one day talk on the phone, to which he keeps putting off, always claiming that he's busy...although he did promise that we would talk soon. This was back in late February.

So now...I just really want to know if he ever considered me in that way. And I'm glad I stumbled on this forum before trying to go further with him because it did offer some good advice on how to approach the subject (so thank you!). Well based on the fact that I AM married...probably not a good idea now to share with him how I actually feel. But I was thinking on bringing up the subject in a more casual manner...something like, "Hey so, I wonder...if we weren't cousins, do you think we could have...you know, worked out?" Obviously when no one else is around. And kind of see how he takes it? Of course, this would all be done in person...was initially thinking of sending an email but I figure now that it probably wouldn't be right (and considering how much I poured my heart out he'd probably head for the hills, LOL). Thoughts?

Sigh, anyway...so yeah. My husband and I were actually planning a trip to the UK hopefully sometime this year but mostly for sightseeing and the fact that K, K's mom and sister haven't met my husband yet, as well as a couple other relatives who now live in the UK as well, so I thought it'd be nice to see everyone and they'd also get to meet my husband/daughter as well...so I thought this would be the perfect chance to pull this off since I honestly don't know when I'd see him again after that. I just really, REALLY want to finally convince myself that things are over and that I need to move on. I really hope I can put some kind of closure to this and I'll be disappointed if I see him without any 'progress' in this regard (and hey, I think I do need to physically see him at least once to confirm whether my feelings for him really are present).

Would appreciate any advice/general words of encouragement. Thanks for reading!

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Thanks for sharing your story! Wow, you are long-winded ;) It helps to get it out in the open, huh? Please let me say this upfront: I am not trying to be gruff or hateful. I am simply a bit more concise.

It sounds like you have a wonderful husband. In case you do not know, or haven't been on the market in awhile, good husbands are hard to find. They don't grow on trees. I say this because even the best of marriages take work. Hard work. Given, I don't have a lot to go on but indulge me please. I do not see you doing your part at all. In fact, some would say that you are bent on sabotaging your marriage.

So what if you have a cute, single cousin. He didn't want you back in the day. Did he ask you out? Did he try to get the ball rolling? Look, he is your cousin. You do not need another "friend." Not this kind of friend. This is the kind of friend that can ruin your marriage. Your cousin is recently divorced and perhaps a bit lonely and you think it is a good idea to open this door? I fear for you if you do. I fear that everything you have worked so hard for will go up in smoke. It takes a lifetime to build trust within a relationship. It takes three minutes to burn it all to the ground. Often, that trust can never be rebuilt. You are playing with fire.

So, I'm tell you what I tell a lot of people here. Think about what you are doing. Take care of yourself, and your man and your children. Lay off the romance novels. Give your man 110 percent of your attention. This is real life we are talking about, and it's your life we are talking about. Don't throw it all away.

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Thanks for your reply.

Like I mentioned already...I am not trying to break my marriage. Far from it, actually. And lol, I really don't read many romances. But for whatever unearthly reason, my feelings for my cousin has come back...and honestly I just want to put this all behind me for good. I'm actually pretty dang sure at this point that he doesn't care about me, but my soul will simply not rest until I get complete, absolute confirmation that there is no chance of us happening.

I should probably mention that when I was in love with the other guy, "T", I actually directly confronted him (well, on the phone) that I wanted to talk to him more just to see if anything would work out. He made it very clear that he wasn't interested and that was the last time I spoke to him. So, I feel like I need something like that to happen, as drastic as it would be, to finally close this chapter for good. Maybe he might say that he doesn't want to talk to me anymore. So be it. If anything, that would convince me more that we're not meant for each other and focus all my attention on who really should be in my life.

Hope that helps.

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Like I mentioned already...I am not trying to break my marriage. Far from it, actually. And lol, I really don't read many romances. But for whatever unearthly reason, my feelings for my cousin has come back...and honestly I just want to put this all behind me for good. I'm actually pretty dang sure at this point that he doesn't care about me, but my soul will simply not rest until I get complete, absolute confirmation that there is no chance of us happening.

Some things are best left unsaid.  What good would it possibly do you to know about his feelings for you, past or present?  You are playing with fire if you pursue this.

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Guest maquis

well, you story is pretty similar to mine.  I am surprised!  except I am not married.

I love my cousin 20+ years ago, we are really close and she always calls me her favorite cousin out of  dozens.  we had a 9 year hiatus when she moved to another country. Then she moved back and I reached out to her on facebook.  Then we are back being "close cousins".  We hang out a lot, sometimes we go to movies, sometimes we cooked in our homes.  The past year, I have been more aggressive to express my love to her, not overtly though.  But I asked her out a lot, cuddle her a lot, and make jokes about she and me being couples.  Sometimes her reaction was positive, sometimes slightly negative.  But in the end I kind of figured that she just wanted me to be her cousins since she talked about her potential love interests with me.  And she always called me Cousin, instead of my name.

well I am quite sad =(

I think I am way past the point of no return. sigh.  hope you have better luck.

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Guest Maquis

Sorry, I didn't read through all your post before replying.

I get it.  You just want closure.  So do I.

I think you should ask him directly, like :  "I know it's awkward to say this. But I have fell for you for 18 years, I just want to know if your have ever love me? Even slightly?  Even momentarily.  I just want some closure, that's all.  Since this issue has been bothering me foe the last 2 decade."

This is how I would say to her eventually.  I am still looking for the right time to say this.  Probably wait ill we go on a trip next year.

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