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Family really matters

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My first cousin and I were close as kids. Then our respective parents went their separate ways, and thus so did we. Fast forward 40 years or so. Saw her by chance at an event. Cheesy as it sounds, it was like lightning. Said our good byes, but kept up on social media. 3 years later, after much texting, I told her I loved her. She said she always did since we were kids. We have been exploring our relationship. It's a long distance one, unfortunately. I told her I want to marry her someday. She said her family, which incidentally is kind of mine too, would freak out and disown her if she did that. I wonder if it is possible for her family to ever get past it. Of course our true relationship is a secret. 

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there is nothing more powerful than the fear of how others will react to our actions. YES, it's possible for her family to get past it. in fact, the odds are actually that far fewer will freak out than she assumes. because that is what fear does, it causes us to make assumptions. 

i've been on this site for 18 years, and have been married to my cousin for almost 19. i can tell you from my own experience personally, as well as from hearing from countless others in your situation over nearly two decades, that more than half of all assumptions about family and friends objecting are unfounded... and of those that do object, the vast majority of them get over it after they realize that the "offending couple" can not be emotionally blackmailed by threats and temper tantrums.

in fact all this time i can only recall one couple in all this time whose family actually did disown them and yet they stayed together in spite of it. i think that person is still an active member here, although i'm having difficulty remembering who exactly it is off the top of my head. maybe that person will weigh in and tell you how it has worked out for them.

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personally i wouldn't recommend that. when people assume that your speaking in generalities, they're going to give the automatic socially programmed, knee-jerk response because it's what is they think others want to hear. however, doing it in person is likely to result in seeing knee-jerk reactions from shock, too... usually those are followed by a willingness to hear the research.

the "safest" bet is to take the letter to mom pinned at the top of one of these boards and modify it to address your specific family members. and then let them read it when you are not present. that way they have time to digest the news, mull it over, do their own research, and get past the shock of it all before you talk to them again. 

friends are another matter. there really is no reason to tell any of your friends unless they already know that the two of you are cousins... and among those, well, i'd do that in person. i'd start out with something like 'i've fallen in love, and i'm scared you're gonna freak out on me when i tell you who it is". and then just play the rest by ear.

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One more slight complication; I (the male cousin) am currently married. I'm in my late 50's, she's in her mid 50's. So we aren't kids. I'm willing to get a divorce, but not if she won't marry me.. 

So if her mom freaks, not only won't she marry me but I'll have ruined her hard fought family relationship, so either way we lose. So we'll just move forward a step at a time. Thank you for your advice thus far.

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well that changes everything. you need to tell your wife. you don't get the right to decide whether or not to divorce her. you made a vow to be faithful to her til death do you part, and you broke that vow on every level, whether you've physically consummated the relationship with your cousin or not. be a REAL man and tell your wife the truth, and let her decide whether or not she's willing to stay with you.

and seriously, if your cousin was willing to marry you, she needs her head examined. you've proven yourself to be unfaithful, untrustworthy, and a freaking coward. 

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