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.
I only grew up with 3 cousins, from the same uncle. Oldest was male, 3yrs younger than me. And 2 girls, 5 and 7yrs younger.
And I have 2 older brothers, and one younger brother.
So, the older of the girls, L, was like my shadow. Every time they were around she was right there. No matter what us boys were doing, she was like a little puppy just following as close to me as possible. I was always flattered by her, because I am very introverted, and she was so accepting of me. They were exposed to so much alcoholism, abuse, neglect, abandonment from her parents/step-parents. And she always felt loved by us (me).
So, I get married at 19, and things that happened in her life, we lose contact. 20yrs go by. She never lived more than an hour drive from where we lived, but I didn't know.
She reaches out on FaceBook 7yrs ago... to ask for a family reunion, of sorts, with her Dad's side of the family. Her Dad just left right before they reached their teen years, and NEVER tried to contact them again.
Anyway... I had butterflies in my stomach. We were both married with kids. But the exact second I walked in, and our eyes met...I felt a fire ignite inside me. We walked straight to each other and hugged. I could have never described the feeling I had right then.
But I figured out pretty quick, that I fell in love with her. She is my soulmate. We have had multiple discussions about how we know we are true soulmates. And I finally said the words to her... "L, I am in love with you". And she said "I know, I feel the same."
So much more to the story.....
I'll keep the explanation brief but I'm an 18 year old girl who had a pretty traumatic past. My parents were both alcoholics, and my father, although he was present for my life, didn't really take up the whole "father" role, if that makes sense. This will become important later.
My cousin... He's a few years older than me and we've always had this sort of connection, of sorts. It was always PERFECTLY innocent, he and I were two of the most intelligent of the cousins, we both had the same sarcastic kind of humor... we just sorta "got" each other, all through our youth.
It sounds goofy, but he was our gardener. Let me explain. Our house had a crazy gopher infestation, and he, being 16 or 17 at the time, was eager to earn a few bucks, and had a knack for gardening. My mom would pay him to come over and help us. Remember how I said that my childhood trauma would become important? Well, my cousin was my stability through most of it. Where most if not all of my male representatives in my life had failed me, he was what "normal" was. Him being around the house so often made me feel safe, like I was protected. Kinda stupid in hindsight, considering we were both children, but hey. I think my crush started way back then.
Our family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc, do NOT gather all that often. But when we do, we are just so drawn to each other. Thanksgivings, while the rest of the family would be in the kitchen talking and drinking, you know, having general merriment... we'd be in the living room, talking, or sitting in silence. It was that kind of thing where even if we weren't talking, you could tell that we were comfortable enough just being around each other. Particularly last Thanksgiving, there was a point where I felt comfortable enough to finally talk to him about all the crazy crap that happened when I was young with my parents and the abuse. I felt safe. And he listened, told me how strong I was and how I hadn't deserved to go through all of it alone. I felt SO safe, and warm, like I was finally home. And that's something that's so hard for me to feel, it's impossible to ignore.
Now, here's the thing about my cousin. He's a man of very few emotions, or, at least, he doesn't show them very often. But even all the aunts, uncles, and grandparents know that he's always been very protective of me. We tend to read each other's emotions like a book. We were both raised in a pretty straight-laced, Christian environment and are both still of the faith, and because of this, cousin/cousin relationships are pretty taboo. I know chances are that he doesn't feel the same way about me. But I think that I DO harbor some pretty serious feelings for him.
These feelings became pretty evident, actually, when I met up with my mother a few weeks ago. We had gotten lunch, and I talked about my cousin and how I was so glad that he had been there for me through the hard times, something like that. My mom said, and I quote, "(Cousin's name) is a great man. Really. What a shame that he's your cousin." And my heart stopped. My first thought was "Sh*t! She found me out!" Then I started thinking, "Wait a minute, is that her way of giving support?" And that's really the incident that led me to questioning my feelings and finally ending up at this point, writing this post. Here I am. In love with my cousin. And I'm confused, alone, and scared.
I have a lot of questions that hopefully those in this community could help me answer. For the longest time I had tried to push down these feelings, so forgive me if my questions sound a bit obvious or whatever.
Is there any way to gauge whether the cousin in question returns these feelings?
Is this something that would be easier to ignore and forget about?
Are the whole "cousin couples are bad because genetic deformities happen in their children" thing really as severe as people say?
Is there something wrong with me?
Thank you guys in advance for your responses, I really hope to hear from some of you. Any advice is appreciated.