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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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Cap

Mixed and emotionally charged reactions

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Hello,

My second cousin and I, whom I did not know until I was an adult became very close recently, texting and playing video games together. I began having feelings for her, and at first I thought it was strange; however, after contemplating it for a while I determined that we are not that closely related and didn't grow up together, so approaching her on this wouldn't be awkward-- well, not any more awkward than expressing feelings to any other girl.

In the past couple of months, I have learned a lot about her as we became closer. We are both in successful careers and are happy with our work life. We are both close to 30 years old. She has never been in a serious relationship with anyone, has a strong aversion to dating and has had horrible past experiences with it. She has told me that she believes she will be alone forever, and is perfectly fine with that. She has a difficult time expressing her emotions, instead choosing to keep things pent-up inside, and I believe her lack of emotional expression causes her a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration.

This weekend, I finally gathered the courage to tell her that I had feelings, and that we had a rare connection at a mental and emotional level. I said that I didn't think it would be a good or healthy idea to keep my feelings a secret forever-- that talking about this is probably best for both of us, and that no matter what she decides, I would still love her as family and as a great friend. Needless to say, this was not easy to do, and I was scared to death over what her reaction may be.

Her response was mostly silence, which is not unusual for her; however, she said she has also thought and “dreamed” about it. She told me she would have to think about this. I told her to take her time.

Three days later, I talk to her and she is SUPER PISSED at me. She says she spent time looking over our last few weeks of texts and analyzing our last few weeks of activities, and in retrospect it is clear I have been pursuing a romantic relationship with her. In doing so, she said I have violated her trust. She said there were three categories of people, family, friends, and people who she would consider having a relationship with, and that I was in the first two and could never be in the last category. Additionally, she talked about this with her sister and said that “family doesn't date family.”

I suspect that what happened is all of her repressed feelings burst out at once. I responded saying that first of all, I am sorry that I made her upset, but I am not sorry that I expressed my feelings. I told her that I believe the key to any successful relationship between two human beings is communication, and that her lack of emotional expression (I understand that it is very hard for her) ends up hurting herself and those who she is closest to. I told her that I would not have approached her with this if I did not believe there was the possibility of a long-lasting and serious relationship, and that I do not take these things lightly. I told her that I sincerely thought I could be the first person to be able to break through her barrier and get her to open up romantically. I told her that I did not believe the familial bond was as big of an issue as she was making it out to be, and gave her my reasons why. I said that if it wasn't right for both of us, it wouldn't be right for either of us. Finally, I closed with saying that I wanted her to think about this (and of course, she is thinking about it) and if she doesn't contact me in the next few weeks, I will know this is over and move on.

Yes, I was upset, mostly because I did not expect her emotionally-charged reaction, but I think I handled this to the best of my ability and still feel I have done nothing wrong. While I think the family issue may be one of the reasons why she is upset, personally I believe the biggest issue is that I rocked her boat by pursuing a relationship with her in the first place, and saying that we are family is an easy way out.

I rocked her boat and caused waves and for the immediate future we are not on good terms; however, I believe in time the waves I caused will turn to ripples and we will begin talking again. I am certain that I did nothing wrong, and I only considered pursuing this because I genuinely thought it was what was best for both of us. Regardless of whether she and I become an item, I am legitimately concerned that with her current trajectory she is going to be alone forever.

I am, and have always been of the opinion that if you truly love someone, if it isn't right you will love them enough to let them go. However, because of the mixed messages and charged emotional responses, I am not convinced that there is nothing here-- quite the contrary, I am sure there is something here. But I don't know what to do.

I need opinions and advice on this, from those with experience in pursuing a distant family member romantically. Should I continue pursuing this, or do you think this is a lost cause? What would you do if you were in my situation?

Thanks for reading my long message-- I felt I had to include a lot of details so you would best understand the situation I am in.

Edited by Cap

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yes, you did nothing wrong. i think you're probably correct that the waves will slow to ripples and that she will probably let you back in as a friend, and quite possibly it might turn into something more. i would like to think her explosive reaction was partly because she would like to persue it but is afraid to. but i really have no idea.

cap, if she doesn't come around, you need to let go of your concern about her trajectory. you can't fix her. and you need to also be aware that if she DOES come back around, and if it DOES turn into a thing between you, it could be a rocky road. people who have difficulty connecting emotionally are not easy people to live with, and forever is a long, long time.

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