By Jordan Colbert
Our story started roughly 2 years ago when my cousin confessed she had feelings for me. At the time she said this is wrong and we should not be doing this. But we continued developing our relationship anyway. We planned of our lives together after marriage, babies, places to visit, things to do and so on. We lived a happy life. Now after two years of constant back and forth of; this is wrong we should not be doing it and it’s ok let’s go ahead with it, she wants to end the relationship but isn’t doing it, just putting a halt to the boyfriend/girlfriend aspect and just wants to be friends. She says, “I should have been the adult in the room. I don’t want to continue doing wrong.” She feels that when we inform our family about our intentions we will end up creating a huge and permanent split in our family. We will be the reason for our family to break apart. People will hate us. Previously at the beginning of our relationship she had said that she doesn’t care about what other people think of her. When I brought this up she said well I do care now. I tried convincing her that I’ll deal with all the heat from the family, you can even say he is the one pushing for it I’m not that interested. I’ll be able to make the family come to terms with us. But she still says even if you convince the family I know it’s wrong and my mind will not be at ease. She says even if we get married I won’t be able to live a happy life because I’ll be disturbed about the fact that we are cousins and we shouldn’t be married. Also whenever she sees other cousins they remind her that we are doing wrong. She feels bad when she sees them. Sometimes she says that I look like her brother and that makes it difficult for her. The thing I don’t understand is that these are issues that were there during the first year of our relationship, why are they becoming unbearable now. She was able to put these thoughts aside then. Why can’t she now? I asked her do you want to end our relationship? Her reply was, “Yes, sometimes I want to end it. But sometimes I don’t. I don’t know.” I said why don’t you end it then. She said, “You’ve done nothing but loved me. And that’s why it’s difficult for me to end it. I’m thinking about our relationship in a realistic way and you think in a hopeful way. There is no way our family will allow us to be together.”
I feel that if I can convince her that we are not doing anything wrong. We love each other and there’s nothing wrong about it, she might change her mind. The thing is I’ve tried everything I could to do that. But she doesn’t accept it. I’ve given her examples of cousin marriages happening for so many decades. Her response is that if people have been doing wrong that doesn’t mean we continue doing wrong.
You may think she does not love me anymore and is trying to find excuses to end our relationship. That’s not how it is. She is a tough independent woman. She does not let other people’s opinions play any role in her decision making. She thinks for herself and sticks to her decisions however painful they may be. I know her very well. She still loves me. Just not enough to marry me.
So I'm 23 (F) and my second cousin is 27 (M). For years during childhood I had this sort of innocent crush on him, and the most I thought about doing with him was kissing him on the cheeks and lips really fast, hugging, rough-housing, poking and tickling him. There were times when I wouldn't see him for a year or two, and I was always bummed out when I didn't get to see him at family gatherings. I put this in the back of my mind as just something that happened because I longed for a sibling as an only child and that I didn't really talk to guys around my age much. The majority of our family is pretty conservative and religious (Christian) in a kind of strict way, so I'm pretty sure they would look down upon cousin couples (I can't even talk about Harry Potter around some of them without a "good talking to".
Anyways, for the last few years especially, my life has been very... rocky. I'm pretty sure my mother has BPD (borderline personality disorder - my therapist thought so too) and for years I went through emotional abuse with her as well as her poor choosing of men that she's dated and married throughout her life. She's currently stalking and harassing me and other members in our family trying to figure out where I live and other personal details that I refuse to give her since I've gone no contact for the last year with her. I've been going to university to be a teacher and working at the same time without having to rely on anyone else so it's all been really stressful on me. I haven't been able to see a therapist in a while - my university's counseling center sucks so not an option on that. Not to mention that my old counselor is a Christian guy so he wouldn't be the best match for what I've been through....
The kicker is that several months ago the first serious bf I had been dating for longer than a year decided to end things with me, mainly because I have vaginismus, which apparently is both a physical and psychological sexual dysfunction issue that can be caused by sexual and/or emotional abuse. He had also said that he only found one physical part of my body attractive and couldn't even list anything on the inside that he liked of me, so in the end I felt ugly inside and out and broken as a woman and human being. He didn't want to be patient anymore and was frustrated because he couldn't do certain things with me (which I understand, but I was the one that was affected the most..). A couple of times after I went to see a gynecologist... and it only made my condition worse - the doctor basically gave up on me and now I'm facing a severe form of the dysfunction and I don't even know if I'll ever get it fixed. It was a pretty low time for me and I'm still trying to get over the hurdle of the emotions of it and trying to regain my self-confidence back. After the break-up I had also gradually begun to lose interest in dating or anything sexual whatsoever that involves being with another person. (I mean, would any guy even date a girl with vaginismus and be patient and understanding of the condition and other crap she's been through, especially if she's not the most attractive person out there??)
In the meantime, here and there my second cousin has helped me by moving my stuff or by us hanging out a couple of times. Even then I didn't really think much of him in a romantic way, although I tend to keep walls up between me and others anyways (or so I've been told). However, that changed when he asked if I wanted to meet up with him a couple of weeks ago. All we did was go to a gun range that he worked at and he showed me how to use different guns (that close proximity to him had me sighing on the inside), because in the past I had mentioned to him that I would like to be able to defend myself and be able to use a gun if necessary (isn't that thoughtful of him?). But suddenly after that I haven't been able to get him out of my mind. What was once an innocent child crush has now turned into me fantasizing about being with him and wanting to be intimate both physically and emotionally with him. Now I get so excited just to even see a text from him or hanging out with him, and even though he's not what I would call my "type", I still find him attractive.The more rational side of me is worried because I'm still in pain from the other past (and current) events and I don't think I could deal with any more pain right now.
Now, I'm a little more open-minded compared to the rest of my family so I don't have an issue with cousin relationships as long as it's not forced, the couple isn't too young, and no one is manipulated. The issue I do have is:
Whether I'm actually having romantic/love feelings for my cousin, or if it's just something out of circumstance and pent-up sexual and emotional frustration What the family would think or do if anything were ever to transpire between us - I don't even know if my cousin shares the same feelings for me or not. I guess right now I'm wondering if I really do like him in that way or not, and not just being lustful at the moment. I'm not in any rush or anything, I just want to have a sound/idea-box with people who can understand my situation, I guess.
Any thoughts or ideas on this?
Please give me support
I'm going to share and express my thoughts about cousin marriages... Stay tuned... Good subscribe to Sage Nation.... The episode will come in two weeks... I'm going to start my podcast again on Thursday March 15th.... Please subscribe and support my channel
What an incredibly supportive and amazing group!
Please forgive my intrusion. My name is Beth and I'm a features writer with That's Life - a national magazine that tells real-life stories in Australia and New Zealand.
We share unique love stories in the first person and in a completely non-judgemental way. All of our interviewees receive full copy approval.
I'm posting as I'd love to find an Aussie or Kiwi couple who'd be willing to speak to me. I think that it's really important that we tackle the stigma associated with dating/marrying your cousin. It is, after all, completely legal!
The only way we can do that, though, is by people coming forward to share their stories, openly and candidly.
If you are interested, please drop me an email at *************@***********.com.au.
Thanks very much,