three years later, a story to help cousins

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        So its been a little over two years since my last post which was mostly complaints about not being able to move out of state, I would like to tell our story, the good and the bad.  So it all started in summer of 2000, I was 20, she was 21...


        First of all, my father and my cousins mother are brother / sister so we are first cousins.  I had always been attracted to her, though we often went a year or so at times without talking at all, so when she messaged me (on the ancient AOL instant messenger) and asked if I wanted to go to Florida for a week to visit our family I immediately agreed.  She was living in New Hampshire and I in Virginia, so she was going to stop by and pick me up on the way.  This was the first time since we were 6-7 that we actually visited with each other.  During the trip in Florida, she kissed me twice (though alcohol was involved the first time).  After the trip we kissed goodbye and It was over a year before I saw her again, this time i went to her house for her graduation and spent a few days there (we did not kiss or talk about it at all, but I was thinking about that every day I was there).  


        After her graduation, it was many years later, we hadn't talked much or at all, I was invited to a family reunion in North Carolina.  At the time, I was living in Pennsylvania, and had a girlfriend.  I drove (with my girlfriend) all the way to the family reunion, and when I got there, I realized that she was married with two children.  I was devastated, I had never felt that way before. I didn't want her to see how hurt I was, so I tried to pretend that I was extremely happy and doing great.  She seemed very happily married.  It was then that I realized it was more than infatuation I was feeling.  (She tried to talk to me a few times alone while we were there, and later told me that she was a little hurt that I had brought a girlfriend with me).  I had never really been happy in any relationship I had been in, though I pretended I was while in North Carolina.  The problem is that I could never tell her how I felt.  This was 2009 and 9 years since she kissed me.  I just assumed that it was wrong and how could she ever love me in return.  I left and went back to Pennsylvania, where I was rather depressed (because I couldn't be happy in relationships, it always felt like something was missing.)


        A few years later (2011?), she messaged me on Facebook, and I found out that she was separated from her husband.  (I felt both happy and sad, because I didn't like that she was hurting).  We only talked for a few days this time.


       Then, in late October, or early November, 2013 she texted me that our Grandfather was dying and the whole family was there visiting him (I rarely spoke to anyone on that side of my family, except my dad, and my grandmother, so nobody else let me know) and we kept texting back and forth.  She was also extremely unhappy and planning on getting a divorce from her husband.  Finally, sometime in late November, I told her how I felt about her, expecting her to not want to talk to me again, but at the time I was so depressed, I decided to finally take a chance.  We started texting each other non-stop 18-20 hours a day, my November phone bill showed over 8000 texts just to her.  She made arrangements to come visit me for a few days in early December, and flew in to a nearby airport.  After a few days, we realized that we definitely both felt the same way about each other.  I took some days off work and drove her home to New Hampshire and stayed there for a week, and at the end of the week I had to leave to go back to work, I was very sad, expecting that to have just been a dream and her not to want to talk to me.  (she was thinking the same thing about me).  I didn't call her the entire drive back home (it was an overnight drive).


        The next day, I called her and not only did she still want to keep talking to me, we decided I would move to New Hampshire sometime in late February.  After a week of talking non-stop, neither of us could wait any longer, so I quit my job, and she flew up the day after Christmas to help me move to New Hampshire.  (what should have been an 8 hour trip took three days due to a massive blizzard, but that's a different story).


        Our mutual family took notice of us now, because I never had any contact with them.  I found and starting reading in the forums, as well as researching a bit.  We were both scared that this was incest and worried what would happen.  We found out that we lived in New Hampshire which did not allow us to get married, but did not consider our relationship incest,  but we were keeping our relationship a secret, partially because we were afraid of what they would say, and partially because she was in the middle of a divorce.  We probably should have waited until after the divorce was final, but we were so in love that we couldn't wait.  This made for an extremely stressful start of a relationship on our part having to deal with all of this at once.  The fact that our relationship survived even the first month is amazing because of the stress with everything.  Finally in May (things were a lot less stressful by then, the divorce was over, and other life situations had calmed down), I told my mother (the other side of my family) that we were in a relationship - she was shocked to hear that and maybe a bit disappointed, but she still loved me.  It took her a few days to come to terms with us, but she was never mean about it.  A few weeks later, I told my father (her uncle) and he took it pretty well, he said that he did not like our decision, but we were adults and there was nothing he could do about it.  I told her mother (my aunt) a few days later (she was at work, and I can't remember the conversation I was having with her mother at the time, but it came out that we were seeing each other).  She seemed a little weirded out about it, but seemed to accept it. 


        In June of 2014 I ended up proposing to her, and (of course! as if i was worried...) she said yes.  Then in July we found out that she was pregnant.  Just when things were starting to get a bit less stressful.  It was not exactly the best time to worry about that on top of everything else, neither of us had great jobs and we could barely afford food for us or the three children from her previous marriage.  We had all of the stressful problems that could break up relationships.  At first we were keeping the pregnancy a secret from everyone.  We started looking for out of state places to live in states that would accept our marriage because we definitely wanted to be married before our child was born.  Unfortunately, when her ex-husband found out that we wanted to move (we told him two months before we planned to move), he took her to court to stop her from moving.  At first we tried to go to South Carolina, but the judge said no, so then we tried to move just over the border (to Massachusetts, which would allow us to get married).  Her ex-husband said no to that as well, even though it was within an hour from where he lived which he had originally said was okay - but when he found out it was out of state... We ended up getting a lawyer this time.   The lawyer recommended that we tell the judge about our pregnancy and wanting to raise our child legitimately married.  That was a mistake, the judge said that we could not move out of state to skirt the law and said we had to stay in the state.  (New Hampshire has a provision where if we got married in a state where it was legal for us, it would be immediately annulled when we got back to New Hampshire).


        Now that the fact that we were pregnant was out of the bag, we decided to tell our family.  First we told my mother, who didn't take long to realize that she would be a grandmother, so any misgivings she had were never voiced over her excitement over her first grand-child.  We told a mutual aunt next, who seemed to accept it and seemed happy for us.  We told all of our friends, most of whom completely supported us through this whole roller coaster ride.  All of them were happy for us.  We told my dad, who just said that he hoped we were financially secure enough to raise a child and he thinks we should have waited.  (Very fatherly, I suppose).  We told her mother next, I cannot remember her exact words, but they were something along the lines of "HOW COULD YOU BRING A REJECTED RETARD INTO THIS WORLD!!!" and proceeded to scream at us for a few minutes then hung up on us.  She sent us an email telling us not to come to the family gathering the next month.  Our mutual aunt who seemed to accept us then decided to change her mind, telling us that all the children will be negatively affected by us being cousins and everyone will hate them.  They seemed to think that we had disgraced the entire family (and told us on more than one occasion since then).  Now that side of the family only wants to continue a relationship with the children,  Only my father seemed to want anything to do with us after that.


        We ended up contacting a random pastor in Massachusetts to see if he would marry us, we drove down to meet him and after we told him our story, he said he was not sure what he would think if it was his nephew and niece trying to get married, but there is nowhere in the Bible that says we can't get married (In fact there is at least one story that we found where a man marries both his cousins).  We asked him if he could do some premarital counseling with us as well (that was her idea, not mine, but I am very glad we did that, as that is one of the things that got us through some very difficult parts of our relationship, not necessarily related to us being cousins, but stuff any couples would go through).  We ended up getting married in February 2015, the day after valentines day.  Unfortunately, New Hampshire would never support our marriage, and annul it if they ever found out, however, we were married before God, and his is a higher law.  We had a very small wedding, but that was due to the weather more so than people not wanting to come, there was a HUGE blizzard the days before we got married, with many feet of snow, that was the winter that Boston was buried.  In fact, my grandmother (my mom' s side of the family, not our mutual side),was devastated that she could not be there for the wedding.  My mother and a a few friends were the only ones to come to our wedding (on a normal day it would have been over an hour drive for most people, through the blizzard, well it was a really bad one...  We also changed our name to my mother's maiden name.  (partially because we both had the same last name, partially to distance ourselves from that family who disowned us) 


        The 24th of the next month (March,) our wonderful healthy baby boy was born, there were some complications with labor, but not because we were cousins, he was just stubborn and didn't want to come out yet.  So now we were married with our child (and my three stepchildren).  We were going through some hard times due to not having enough money for bills, our son getting thrush, nursing issues and the adjustments of having a larger family.  We never even thought about us being cousins anymore only as husband and wife. Her mom was still making an effort to visit my stepchildren. The visitations she had with her grandchildren had to be supervised as she would say inappropriate things to the children placing them unfairly in between our issues with her and her family. She made it clear that her daughter (my wife) was not to have anything to do with her including not welcome to be around when she visited the children. That left me being the one to supervise the visits. She found out that our baby was not mentally or physically handicapped at all which surprised her and she then wanted to have a relationship with him. She was not willing to apologize for anything previously said or done that was hurtful and unacceptable to my wife and all my children (step and biological).  My wife and I felt that we could not keep my stepchildren from continuing an on going relationship as long as it wasn't hurting the children in any way, because they loved her but we did not feel it was right for her to have a relationship with my son who she previously wanted nothing to do with because she assumed he would be born with issues. She started telling her family that we would not allow her to see any of the children which wasn't true among other things that the family refused to share with us. They grew even more distant and more upset with us but never gave us the chance to explain our side of things. The family is now very upset with us because we won't forgive my wife's mother for the things that she said and how she treated us.  Us being cousins doesn't help our relationship with our mutual family and indeed started our problems with them, but at this point, it is more family drama then the cousin thing.  I'm sure us being cousins isn't helping matters, but it is our schism with her mother that is affecting the family more than anything else.  I'm sure the name change isn't helping anything either, but that is our family drama.


        We went on with our lives, stuck in a state where we were not legally married for almost a year, I got a much better job that, while not giving us lots of money, did allow us to start paying our bills on time.  We found out that her ex-husband had been lying about his job so he didn't have to pay much child support (he was paying 30% of what he should have been), we decided to use that and offered him a deal.  He would only have to pay half what he should for child support, and he would let us move to Vermont  (A nicer state than Massachusetts, but still supported us).  He (after complaining that he shouldn't have to pay anything to support his kids) agreed to that deal.  


      We are now living in a state that recognizes our marriage, we are poor, we have a family that doesn't support us and doesn't want much to do with us, we have normal family problems that every family has...


    But we are extremely happy.  We have been married for over a year and a half now, we still have friends, my family supports us.  We are happily living a normal life with normal problems... 

We want people to know our story and the struggles we faced to encourage others to persevere even when they want to just give up. Throughout all of this if you asked myself, my wife or even all our children I know we would all agree that we would do it all over again just to be here.  


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I'm glad everything worked out between you and your cousin and at least some of your family supports you. I hope you and your cousin continue to be happy and have financial stability soon.

I recently had a healthy son with my husband/cousin as well. I'm glad there are others that have had healthy children. Although it sucks that consanguineous marriage will continue to be labeled as an ongoing health problem on my medical record at least it's not a huge factor in determining my future children's health.


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