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Hi all,

I'm not sure where to start. My cousin and I first met about 20 years ago(I'm 38 and she's 36 now). She just arrived to the States from Vietnam. We were in high school at the time. We quickly warm up to each other and started to be much more than cousins. Eventually we ended up losing our virginity to each other. Throughout our relationship we tried our best to keep it a secret from friends and family. But eventually my mom and dad found out and of course tried their best to end it. My mom has told her brother also and now he has cast me out although he still treat her as if the problem is not there. We came close to ending it so many times. The last time was 7 years ago. She wanted to leave and move on but after I pleaded over and over and she realized she can never get me out of her mind, she came back. 

Fast forward 7 years and now I have the feeling of wanting to move on. I know we both don't have the courage to come out to the family and friends. The best we will do is live in the shadows. We can get a place of our own but the best we will do is spend one or two nights a week together. I'm not sure why I'm feeling this way...falling out of love with her. Back 7 years ago she was my whole world. The thought of losing her made me sick to my stomach. I didn't want to go on living.

Now the ugly part. I haven't been faithful to her. I have cheated on her multiple times and every time she forgave me. I feel so rotten for hurting her. She's the last person I want to harm. But we rarely sleep together let alone make love anymore(she doesn't really like sex). 

The problem now is my feelings for her has somehow change...I love her more as a sister now and less like a wife. I want to take care of her and I would do anything for her. I don't know why my feelings has changed. Because we're not together as much? Because we don't sleep together? Because we don't make love anymore? I really don't know what to do. On one hand, I feel stuck and can't move on to the next chapter of life. On the other hand, I feel a responsibility and loyalty to her, someone who has cared for me, loved me, and been by my side for half of my life. Please help. 



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  • Old Timer

So you and your cousin have been having a secret (or at least partly secret) relationship for close to 18 years? I'm not surprised that both of you have wanted to leave at times. That's not a healthy place to be. You say "I know we both don't have the courage to come out to the family and friends". Why not? What is it that you are both so afraid of? Is it an issue of religion, cultural beliefs, what? I would say that either way, you both need to make a choice, either to be together fully, or to both move on. If, as you say, "the best we will do is live in the shadows",  you see her as a sister rather than a wife (although it doesn't sound like you are married? if you are, that changes things), and you have cheated on her multiple times, this doesn't sound like a relationship you want to stay in. In which case, I would say you need to do the honorable thing and end it. You say you feel a responsibility towards her, but staying in a relationship you don't want and repeatedly betraying the person you are with isn't loyalty.

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  • Administrator

i swear i responded to this yesterday. did it get lost in cyberspace? or is this a duplicate thread?

ok never mind, i see what happened. the original post was in queue for approval, and when i read it, i responded to it but forgot to approve. ok, so now that i know what happened, i'm copying my response here from the unapproved version that was originally posted before you joined the board and only posted as a guest.

sounds like what happens in any relationship. contentment becomes complacency, complacency becomes contempt. you get bored, you want something new and fresh and exciting to spark that fire, and you find it in someone else, or multiple others. 

relationships take work to survive. i know you aren't married, but i'm going to talk in terms of that, if that's ok, because after 7 years together it's a similar situation. infatuation is fleeting. sexual desire comes and goes in a monogamous relationship. sex and love are so entwined that most people don't understand that they are separate things! sexual intimacy should be an extension of that love... but life gets in the way and couples are not always going to feel sexual towards one another. and that's when you have to work hardest, because that's when other people will be such a temptation. you've experienced that already.

here's the thing. i believe that you love her very deeply. it shows in your words... your devastation at hurting her and your regret for being unfaithful. and because of those feelings, i believe that your relationship can be repaired and that you will feel the desire for her that you once had. you might even find that her desire for you can be revived. but it will be a lot harder because you've broken her trust, and it could take years. but prayer helps in this matter. and if you're not a praying person, then a good counselor for her would be helpful too. you say she was never really into sex... that could be from emotional wounds and trust issues that go back further than your relationship. 

if you think it's worth salvaging, you're going to have to make her a priority. if you think there are just too many obstacles to overcome, then let her go. dragging it out won't do either of you any favors.


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Thank you MissPrice/LadyC for hearing my story. Let me elaborate a bit more.

Yes, we have been together for the last 20 years. I don't think we can come out because I know it would devastate the family. I don't think either of us can handle what will come. It's at the point now that it's difficult for my cousin to be even in the same room as my parents when they go see my grandmother. 

We are not married although we have talked about it of course many times. I did buy her a ring a few years back and propose but she ask me to return it as it was too much money. She feels marriage will place too much pressure on us. 

She has gone through a lot the last 7 years. She was diagnosed with a heart condition that may require her to undergo open heart surgery soon. For now she's just taking blood thinner and delaying the surgery. Our aunt, who she is very close with, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and my cousin had to take time off to tend to her. Then her mother, my mom's eldest sister, was diagnosed with cancer. She lost her fight with cancer only a year after she was diagnosed. Her mother was a saint and her rock. That broke her...

The hardest thing about this is...I want to ALWAYS be there for her. I will give up everything I have including my life if it means I can save her. I'll gladly switch places with her so she wouldn't have her heart condition. I would do anything...but I just don't want to live this life in the shadows. 


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