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Have crush on my cousin, but I don't think the magic is there

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To begin with: we're roughly the same age, almost 24.


I realized that I have had a crush on my cousin for a past few years ago. I tried to push it away at first, but it keeps coming back and I can't ignore it any longer. I've resolved to tell her ASAP, but . . .


Problem is, I feel that there's no . . . magic in our relationship. Don't get me wrong, we get along absolutely splendidly, we were super close as kids (though we drifted apart as adults, but latterly I've been trying to correct that)—but I'm reading the stories of people here, and the stories of other people who eventually got with their cousins, and one thing in common is that they all were all really intimate before it became "official," such that when you shared your first kiss it just kinda felt right. With my cousin, though I like her, and she likes me, we're not intimate, we don't touch other than a hug hello or goodbye (and I don't want to start groping her when we're alone as if she were some girl I met at a party, seems a little uncouth). After a family dinner, I asked her to walk home with me so I could tell her my feelings (I didn't want to tell her in front of the family), but she said we lived in opposite directions, so she wouldn't—I feel if she were as into me as I her, she would've leaped on the opportunity. We have however promised to hang out in the near future.


In terms of probing, the only thing I did was, when we were talking about classical music, a passion which she shares, I mentioned that I really liked Rachmaninov, and said I knew a lot about him: for example, he married his cousin. And she said that she thought that was a little weird—not in a "ew, gross!" way, but in a "huh, that's kinda strange," pensive way.


I need to tell her, because a rejection would be preferable to all this uncertainty, but do I have a chance? Are there any other people who were in the same position, and when you told her/him, he/she said "Oh my god, I feel the same way!"

Edited by Dragan
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  • Old Timer

Hi Dragan,

That's a difficult place to be, and I empathize. You wanted to know if there are people on here who were in a similar situation, and ended up with their cousins. While every situation is of course unique, your story struck a cord with me, so here's mine.

I realized when I was about your age that I was interested in my cousin, who is three years older, on a family visit. I had seen him very little since we were kids, and nothing remotely romantic had ever happened between us. We talked all night, I left the next day. I realized how I felt about him then, but we lived ten hours apart, and even if we hadn't, I didn't think there was any chance he'd feel the same way. Every time I saw him over the next four years the feelings were there, but we both were in other relationships; I became engaged and he was with a woman who had kids (not his). Sometimes I'd visit and he wouldn't even show up. I particularly remember once when he said he'd be there and didn't turn up, and I was heartbroken, because even though I didn't think we'd ever be together, the time we spent together was priceless to me; he lit me up like a torch. And of course, even though I thought it was hopeless, I was always looking for those little signals that would tell me he felt the same way. He seemed to care about me a lot, but it didn't seem to be like that.

When I was 29, I ended up moving an hour and a half away from him for a job. He and the woman he was with had broken up, and he was internet dating at the time. We started hanging out every few months, and I lived for that. We weren't touchy with each other, although we told each other anything and everything about our lives (except that I didn't tell him how I felt about him). Once, I asked him if he'd do me a favor and put his arm around me, which he did. After ten months, I broke up with my fiancee who was in school in another state, and who I had known for a long time I wasn't in love with. I still didn't think I had any chance with my cousin, I just decided I was less unhappy alone than settling.

After I broke up with the fiancee, I texted my cousin and told him I needed him to come visit. I didn't plan to say anything to him because I didn't want to endanger what we had, and I just needed his company. But as we were talking, I slipped, and said that I'd never get the man I wanted because I couldn't have him. He demanded to know what I meant, and I told him. I really didn't think he felt the same, and I was afraid, but I couldn't lie to him. He kissed me.

The rest, as they say, is history. We've been living together for a year and a half, told our family, and are making wedding plans.

In the conversations we've had since then, he's said he always felt something for me, but that he shut it down before he could think it because he never thought it could happen. I thought a LOT about it, consciously, but never thought, even if he did feel the same way, that he would be able to accept it. We were both wrong, and I'm very glad for it.

But back to your situation. Like my cousin/partner, your cousin may feel something for you, but not realize it. Or she may not. One challenge about cousin relationships is that it isn't always as easy to think about a friendship being more as it would be if you weren't related.

Looking for subtle clues in someone's behavior is a painful place to be; people are very complicated, and it's difficult to know why they do a thing at a particular time. That time I mentioned when I was heartbroken than my cousin didn't show up? He was hours away at an event with friends, his phone had no signal, and he was furious with them for not getting him back in time to see me. 

So here's my two cents: you can't know until you tell her, and you can't control how she's going to react. You say that rejection is better than uncertainly, which I understand, but make sure you really think that, and that you've thought about how it will effect your relationship with her if she does. Know that you are taking a risk. What you can control is when and how you tell her, and how you react to her feelings. Even if it's what she wants too, that might not be her immediate response. Be responsible for your own feelings, and be considerate and understanding of hers. That way, no matter what, you will be able to respect yourself and know that you did the best you could.

That being said, all the best to you! It worked out better for me than I could have imagined, and I hope the same for you. I would love to hear how it goes.

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 You are certainly old enough to test the waters. We usually recommend what we call 'the old tried and true' "If you weren't my cousin, __________" line. Fill in the blank as is appropriate to you and your particular situation, and tone/direction of the conversation at the time. "I'd want you to be my GF", "Love to date you", etc. If perhaps this classical musician should come up again as a topic, you could segue into it that way.

 As a Mod, I can have a little peek as to where our members and guest who post are at. Not to be nosy in any way, mind you, but to determine the legality of such a relationship if it has or should happen. You didn't mention where you are, and trust me, I shan't either. But, you will be happy to know, (if you didn't already) that provided my index is correct, where you are, it is perfectly legal to pursue a relationship with her, up to, and including marriage. WAY out in front of where you are at this point, but one less thing to stress over if you do step it up.....

 While I typed this, MissPrice replied and has given you excellent insight as well....

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Thanks for your replies.


Hawk, I lurk a lot, and I have to say that the "if you weren't my cousin line" has never really sat right with me. I don't think there's anything wrong with entering a romantic relationship with my cousin, so the only reason I would say that is to assuage any possible fears of hers. But when I tell her my feelings, I want to convey how I truly believe, such that if she reacted "But we're cousins!" my response would simply be: "Yes, I know that already" or "so?"


And, regardless of her response, it would not accurately convey her feelings to me. All experience hath taught me, that I'm almost never right in interpreting signals. I always misread innocuous gestures, and miss apparently flagrant demonstrations.

Edited by Dragan
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