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Help please. Anxiety through the roof

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Hi all

I'm new here and looking for some help and advice please.  

My husband and I have been together for 13 years. Married since 2014. We are first cousins once removed (he is my father's cousin) and have 3 beautiful very healthy very intelligent children all under the age of 6 thanks to genetic councelling advice we took.  

We knew our situation was going to be tough and at the begging it was. But since our children came along it's bought the family closer together and all was going well. Our close friends know of our situation and all haven't even questioned it as they've known since the beginning.  Then my husband and I started to have marriage troubles and weve been through 2 years of hard times. There's been a lot of awful name calling on his part and I've lost some love for him because of it. He left me for 3 weeks about a month and a half ago and since then my anxiety has been through the roof.  

He has come home and apologised profusely and is definitely a different person.  But now I'm questioning my decisions same my anxiety is eating away at me.  I'm anxious about our situation in terms of being related and I can't get it off my mind.  I'm fearing for my children, I'm fearing what other people are thinking. But mostly I'm making myself almost ill about the fact we are related.  


Could anyone offer me advise please on how to deal with this situation.  Is this normal to feel like this? Why have I never felt like this before and why is the anxiety about it now so bad.  


We live in the UK. Just need some help and guidance please.  


Thankyou all so much xx


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rrj, i'm so sorry you're having marital problems! YES! it is normal. this isn't because you two are related, it's because when two people commit their lives together, they will hit highs and lows. it happens! 

i'm also married to my first cousin once removed... have been since '99, so we're coming up on our 19th wedding anniversary on new year's day.  we had a great first year of marriage... and then we hit a rough patch that just kept getting rougher for about ten years. seriously, there were times i just wanted to call it quits. it was a dark, dark time in my life. but i stayed because i had made a vow to stay with him through better or worse, and i took this one a little more seriously than i'd taken my first marriage. i didn't want to be divorced again. i didn't want to be single again. but boy, there were so many times when i questioned God as to why i had to stay married.

i don't know if you believe in God or not, but He is the only thing that saved my marriage. it was really hard to put my trust in God to restore our relationship, because i was so full of anger and bitterness and pain. and my husband had so many issues that needed changing. i guess it took so long because i really thought all the changes needed to be on his end, and thought God was doing a crappy job of changing him. it took so long for me to realize i needed to just get out of God's way and quit trying to do His job of fixing my husband. and then i had to also trust Him to fix my husband no matter how those changes affected my life. that was the hardest thing of all. but once i finally got to that point, things changed pretty quickly. 

i know that sounds preachy, but that's my experience. and i can promise you things were quite bad before those changes. he was so disrespectful to me for so long, and would allow his friends to disrespect me. i just wanted him to stand up for me once in a while, but instead, he'd get mad when i'd finally stand up for myself. i even asked him once if he still loved me. his answer broke my heart... because he said no. 

but my commitment to honor the vow i made to both him and God when we married kept me there. it was hard. but God turned things around. really! and we have the marriage i always dreamed about now. i have a husband who loves and respects me, who stands up for me, who is my best friend! we do everything together. i can't picture my life without him.

listen, i don't think i've ever met a couple who didn't have some troubled times in their marriage when they felt that the love was fading. that's just so normal. the honeymoon gives way to contentment... the contentment gives way to complacency... complacency leads to boredom and to stress, and then heads start turning. your head... his head... thoughts start wandering. kids start demanding attention, screaming, fighting... and if one or the other in the marriage didn't want to run away once in a while, that would be highly unusual.

quit allowing the kinship to factor into your stress. there is absolutely nothing wrong with having married your first cousin once removed. there's nothing wrong with your children. there's only something wrong in the pea-brains of society that think everything is ok except cousin marriage.  

when you and your husband get some of these issues worked through and you feel confident in your marriage again, you need to make sure your children know (if you haven't told them already) about their family tree. they need to understand it from a very young age so that they never feel ashamed. and it's always the ones who were not told that feel ashamed when they find out. when that time comes, the old beatrix potter classic called the tale of the flopsy bunnies is always my first suggestion to introduce the subject. did you know benjamin bunny and flopsy were first cousins? yeah, who knew! but it says so right on the first page. it's a great way to get young children comfortable with the fact that their mommy and daddy are also cousins.

as for what others might say, don't even let yourself go there. people are going to talk, whether you stay together or divorce. they're already talking. heck, they've been talking since the day you two started dating. just like they'd be talking if you'd married someone totally unrelated and were going through difficulties. people are natural born gossips. so accept that it's going to happen and stay above it all. ignore what you can, and refuse to associate with those who dare to criticize you (OR your husband) to your face. anyone who has anything negative to say about your marriage needs to be told to keep their opinions to themselves. but that also means you need to make sure you're not complaining to them about him, also. and that's hard, because everybody needs a sounding board!

let US be your sounding board. because we're not going to take sides. we're going to be here to encourage you... as long as he's not being abusive to you or the kids, in which case we'd be having a whole different conversation.

you can do this. if you're willing to give it a shot, the love you think you've lost for your husband can be rekindled.

there's a famous actor, i really can't remember who for sure but i think it was mel gibson, or maybe patrick swayze, who once answered a question about the secret of a successful marriage in an interview. he said most people throw in the towel when the mountain seems too hard to climb anymore... but for those that stick it out and reach the top, they have the best view in the world... and that marriage from that point forward just gets sweeter and sweeter. i have climbed that mountain, and i can honestly say that was the most true thing i ever heard come out of hollywood.

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Your words are so calming and reassuring and just what I needed.  My situation sounds very similar to yours and I am hanging on in there.  


I agree with you about not discussing this with too many people as it then gives them the right to talk about us.  


Our children know that my Nanny  (grandmother) is their Nannys sister.  But I don't think they've made the connection yet.  My older daughter who is 6 is clever enough to understand if I tell her but I worry there's been enough tension so to speak recently within the house (nothing in front of them but she definitely picks up on my upset sometimes ) that it might be too much for her at the moment. But maybe I'll let the dust settle and mention in the new year.  


A lot of the parents etc at the school have no idea of our situation.  I can imagine her being taught about relatives in class and immediately coming out with "my mum and dad are cousins " lol


Once I've told them once does it need to be reinstated frequently? Or only if the topic comes up? Say if they ask "so who are your cousins mummy?"  Etc. 


Thanks again

I feel so much better. Already xxx

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Hi RRj, I can relate to everything you are saying. Everything will be OK, you are just going through a phase. I'm sorry that you are questioning your relationship because of your distant kinship. There is no need for it. It will go away. You are being silly. Hang in there. 

I married my 1st cousin. We just spent two years apart after 20 years of marriage. Wow that was tough, but I found out that I could  be happy being single...after the first year. My mind was scrambled for the first year, like a TV on channel 3.

We are back together again now. We have made fresh commitments to each other and hope to start another 20 year chapter. You have no idea how much hurt we are working through. But we are committed to fulfill the vows we made before God and will give it another go. Nobody said it would be easy, right?

Things are not great yet. I am in a new city trying to find us a better place to live. I just had my first job interview today. Hmmm.

I will say one thing that is amazing. Hey, I was indeed happy being alone but after being back with my wife for two months, I feel like I have my zen back. I can't explain it but it is a sweet feeling of peace that makes me smile for no reason. And when I do, the heavens open up and I can hear the angels singing. I didn't have that when I was alone. 

As LadyC pointed out, marriages take a commitment to each other and to God. You can't make it alone. Look at the stats. I am a Christian and only went back to my wife because I felt led to. It's as inexplicable as the peace I am feeling -- the Zen! Zen isn't a Christian term I know... but maybe we should adopt it. This Christian has Zen!

I'm praying for you and wish you the best. You guys are so distantly related that it is silly to worry about it. Do not let it play in your mind like a broken record. Play some Rolling Stones :)


I'm not proofreading or correcting anything...... :P

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and to answer the question about whether you should only tell them once.... it's not something you need to tell the kids every day, but at their ages, if you say it once they may not remember. talking about your family casually in ways that indicate the relationships is a positive thing. like me and my husband... a lot of our friends are aware of our relationship, and they often find out because we'll say something about a particular relative... for instance he'll be telling someone we're going to be having lunch with his aunt, and i'll be referring to her as my cousin. that happens a lot.

we have a clock that is really cool, handmade by my cousin (his father) out of a slab of pecan wood from the old cemetery where my grandparents and great grandparents are buried. at the top of the clock is a photo of my grandparents. on the remaining 11 hours there are photos of each of my grandparents' children. it's a great conversation piece when friends come over. we can show them who each of them are. there is often a quizzical look on their faces when, after showing them Mark's grandmother and my aunt, then a few "hours" on the clock later we get to my mom / his great aunt/ mother-in-law. 

there are places that will create a beautiful family tree as framed artwork. maybe somewhere down the line you might consider having one made! as the kids grow up and they see how the families are entwined, they will just think it's normal and beautiful :) 

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The hurt is the worst part sometimes isn't it.  


Both of your stories have been so good to read and I really appreciate your honesty.  It helps me so much to get a real felling for what you've been through as opposed to someone just saying to me "don't worry it's normal you'll get better". 


I do believe in God although I don't regularly go to church or read the bible.  Although maybe I should... and I believe in the whole "through good times and bad, in sickness and health" . And that's why I've stayed around for so long.  It's good to hear your stories of how you stuck it out and how things got better.  My husband has definitely come back alot more calm and that's helping so much! 

Rolling stones I love!!!

You have both been so kind in helping me. If anyone can help me with the questions I had about telling the children that would be fab xxx 


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Just popping in to say I'm still not having the most easiest time. But whenever I feel bad or like everything is getting too much, i pop back on and read your message to me and it somehow makes me feel at ease again. So thank you both for that. 


I'm feeling very empty and out of love and I'm hoping that things get better soon xxxxxx but your support on here means so much

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