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Ambra_Flows

Talking to our families about our cousin romance

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I thought I?d write about talking to our families about one?s cousin romance.

Dealing with our families is the thing that makes cousin-romance difficult. In the six years that I?ve been on this board I?ve read many stories about it. It is definitely a frequent topic here.

Please note, never substitute the judgement of your advice giver for your own. You know your family members better than I or anyone else ever possibly could. Therefore you must do what your instincts tell you are the best way to approach your family members about the difficult subject of cousin-romance. Trust your judgement and try to make your approach to this subject with your family members one that you think they will respond well to based on what you know about them.

Difficult Families

Different families respond differently to the subject of cousin-romance, and this seems partially due to one?s culture. Some families go to extraordinary lengths to keep a cousin couple apart. I remember one story on here where the parents of an Asian woman of about 26 actually threatened to go to her landlord and her employer so that the girl would loose her apartment and her job if she continued seeing her cousin. The woman and her family lived in the U.S., but her parents came from an Asian background that rationalized their behavior towards their daughter. And I?ve also read of wives who leave their husband?s for their cousin, only to be threatened with a custody battle because they are involved with their cousin. It seems that cousin-romance can really bring out the nastiest things in people. It?s where all the dysfunction of the family will reveal itself to its fullest extent.

Explaining your Cousin-romance to Family Members Through Letters Once Romance Becomes Serious

There is something you can do to stop this from happening, or at least slow down the damage. I usually recommend writing the parents and/or other family members a letter telling them about the romance and addressing the concerns you can anticipate from them, or that you know for sure will be an issue for them. I am assuming here that your family members do not know of your cousin-romance yet. In my opinion, there is no point in writing such a letter until or unless the romance becomes serious. And that?s because every couple, even a cousin-romance couple, needs time to themselves to explore their relationship in private. Once you let the family in on your relationship, their presence and/or intrusion will always be there, whether physically or in spirit.

LadyC?s Letter Explaining Romance to Mother or Other Relatives

This link, http://www.cousincouples.com/forum/shoot-the-breeze/how-to-tell-your-mom/, is for a letter that LadyC wrote on how to tell your mother or other family members about your cousin-romance. I think it is very well written, and of course, you can edit the letter to suit your specific needs. A letter gives the reader a chance to respond in private so that their first angry knee-jerk response is not something you might receive the full brunt of. It also gives them a chance to think about and ponder all that you?ve said in your letter.

No Angry Letters to Family Members

Do not write angry letters to your family members because that letter is in writing and can really make a strong negative impression. If you are trying to convince someone that they should agree with you, then you should empathize with their position as much as possible in the letter and then gently put your points across to them. The tone of the letter is important and may go a long way to convincing them to agree with you if done correctly.

Teenage Cousins in a Romance & Their Families

Now this advice can be different for teenagers, and we get a lot of teenagers with romantic feelings for their cousins on this board. Because teenagers usually still live with their parents it can be quite difficult to keep one?s feelings for your cousin away from them for any period of time. So if the parents just make it too difficult for you to see your cousin, perhaps you and your cousin should just cool it until you?re of legal age and perhaps on your own. The thing to remember is that while you live under your parent?s roof they can make things very difficult for you. And since they are supporting you and you are a minor, there isn?t much that can really be done about that. The other thing is that if the romantic feelings you share with your cousin are something really profound or important, they will keep until you are older.

Many teenage cousin romances seem to happen because the cousins new each other as children, and often the cousins always felt that attraction and the attraction blooms in the teenage years. That?s what happened in my story. I met my cousin-love when I was 7 and we saw each other for summers every year until I was 17 when our cousin romance happened. All those years we felt a strong attraction for one another, we just never expressed it until our teenage romance.

A teenager could write a letter suitable for their circumstances as I?m discussing here. But in the end, you may not have a lot of power in your home because you?re under age. Keeping in touch with your cousin, but not seeing each other often may be the best course of action until you?re of legal age and/or do not live at home.

More on Letters to Family Members & Resources on Board

Going back to the letter, you can also include other cousin-marriage facts in the letter. Like for example, if you feel that your parents will be against the marriage for religious reasons you could tell them that those verses in Leviticus 18 are not speaking against cousin-marriage. The section on the left side of the Home page called ?Marriage Facts? has many useful marriage facts that you could include in your letter including information about the risk of birth defects of children from married cousins. The section on the left side of the Home page called ?Christianity? discusses the Bible and cousin-marriage via scripture and cousin-marriages that happened in the Bible. Any of this information could also be put into your letter to your parents and/or other family members. The ?World Religions? area on the left side of the Home page discusses how different world religions see cousin-marriages. This may provide more food for thought on how one?s family may react to the idea of cousin-marriages, especially in the cultures that typically have those religions.

The area on the left side of the Home page called ?State Laws? tells you which U.S. states allow marriages and which do not. Any of this stuff could be put into your letter as it applies to your specific situation in order to support your case for cousin-marriage if that is where your relationship is headed. The area on the left side of the Home page called ?International Laws? addresses laws from some other countries as it relates to whether or not cousins can marry. Perhaps your family members value celebrities or famous people, in which case on the left side of the Home page there is a section called ?Famous Couples? giving names of some famous people that married their cousins.

The thing is the better you write your argument for cousin-marriage, the less your family may protest. I think writing a letter is a good way to go as your first presentation into the subject of your serious cousin-romance.

If They Already Know of the Cousin-romance, A Letter May Help Anyways

If your family members have found out through various means about your cousin-romance before you have written them a letter, you could still use a letter to write an empathizing argument that still drives your important arguments/points for cousin-marriage home to support your position. Write letters as needed, is what I?m saying.

Telling Families & Family Dysfunction

Beyond that, the thing to remember is cousin-romance is a subject where family dysfunctionality may rule. It may show you just how big of control freaks your parents and other family members really are. Many a time on this board I?ve read stories where parents make it clear that they don?t like that cousin romance and they are not going to listen to any reason as to why it should exist! More than once I have read stories of a mother who could not, or would not stop crying at the thought of her child?s cousin-romance. When your parents do that they are simply having a temper tantrum because they cannot have their own way. In such a scenario the universe is challenging your parents to grow up and accept that they cannot control their children all of their lives. And that does become the challenge to the parents, and it can be a painful and difficult challenge to overcome.

I remember when my cousin-love?s father tried to prevent me from contacting his son, I thought is there a tag on the back of my cousin?s shirt that says ?L is property of his father?? At the time both my cousin-love and I were of legal age, so I thought his dad was being pretty arrogant in trying to stop me from contacting him. After my mother found out about my cousin-romance she would try to discourage me by telling me negative things about my cousin. These negative things were quite minor and all I could think as I sat and listened to this crap was ?mom if you only knew how I felt about him.? But I knew my mom was to ?icked? out to care.

Back all those years ago in the early 1980s, there was no cousincouples.com to give me the idea to write a letter. Thankfully none of my relatives went on and on with their protests. Actually they were quite discreet with their protests, especially compared to some of the stories I?ve read on here. In my case, my dad split us up four months after our romance started, as soon as he discovered it when I was 17 in 1977. I don?t believe that neither I or my cousin-love were in a place where we wanted to function as a couple while constantly having to be concerned about what our parents and family members thought, or might do about it. For those four months we enjoyed being with each other without having to contemplate the family fall-out that could occur and we were not ready to give that position up yet. Seven years after my dad split us up my cousin died of colon cancer in 1984, but not before he called me to his sick bed letting me know that he still cared for me.

What?s difficult for me to watch as an outsider to these situations, is that the children may respond to such manipulating tactics because they were raised in that family system, and if that family system is dysfunctional, the child is not going to automatically rise above the way things have always been done in that family. The child is often going to try and respond the way they always have in that family. But the thing is, the parents are going to try harder now than ever to manipulate or scare their children into doing what the parents want, because the parents said so, basically.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Spouse

The thing to remember is that your parents and other family members will die eventually. And you have to ask yourselves what spouse do you want around when that happens? We also get many people on this board who split up with their cousin-love and marry someone else, and then 10 or 20 or 30 years later, find themselves pining for that long lost cousin-love. Under such circumstances it becomes clear that whether or not to marry your cousin becomes an important question.

Think About How Much You are Going to Let Your Family Run Your Life

I realize that in some families, one?s parents can live to a ripe old age. You might be 45 years old and still have your parents alive. In my case though, I am 50 now and my mother died when I was 43 and my dad died when I was 18. Most of my family members are dead, the good ones anyway. The only family members I have left are the annoying pains in the butts. So when I look back at my family and all that?s gone on, I know that if I?d have known then what I know now about life and human nature and relationships, that I would not have taken some of the things that some of my family members did to me in various scenarios nearly as seriously as I did back then.

Family members can be good at telling you how to live your life, but they are not the ones that have to live with the consequences of your choices, you are! While a family member may feel very uncomfortable that you are with your cousin, those people do not have to live your life and deal with the pain and sadness that may fill your life if you dump your cousin-love and marry someone else. And if your parents and/or other family members truly cared for you and your feelings, they would care about whether you were happy in your romance or marriage. They would not just care about their own discomfort level.

Everyone Wants to Marry the Person They?re Happiest With, Including Your Parents

I?ve told people on this board before that they should ask their parents in their letter how they would feel if anyone had ever told them to dump the love of their life because it made their parents or other people uncomfortable. And in fact, you could come back to them with that in an argument. You could tell them as soon as they divorce the man or woman they love, that you?ll do the same. And if they come back with ?that?s different?, well you could point out that no it?s not. Everyone wants to be with the love of their life that makes them the happiest. The letter that I mentioned above that LadyC posted on the board describes very well how a happy romance can make a person feel. This is whether it?s a cousin-romance, or not. Those words make my point that we all want to be with the person we love the most. And since there are no real reasons why a cousin couple should not marry, then that just means your parents need to work on getting over their prejudice. The fact that it just makes them feel icky or uncomfortable is not a good enough reason for them to control your life and forbid the relationship for you.

Another Use for Letters to Family Members

In summary, dealing with family members is probably the biggest difficulty there is when it comes to cousin romances. Some of the married cousin couples on here have mentioned that eventually the family settles down and gets over it. If they do not, perhaps you could write a valued family member another letter every once in a while stating the important things that you?d like them to consider because they are shutting you out of their lives. Again, a letter gives them a chance to think about what you?ve said, and you could even point out in the letter that you are writing the letter so that they have something in writing that they can think about and ponder before responding or going on with their lives. And you could include any of the information previously pointed out in this post.

Your own Judgement in These Matters is What You Should Follow

Again, please remember never substitute the judgement of your advice giver for your own. You know your family members better than I or anyone else ever possibly could. Therefore you must do what your instincts tell you are the best way to approach your family members about the difficult subject of cousin-romance. Trust your judgement and try to make your approach to this subject with your family members one that you think they will respond well to based on what you know about them. Write letters as needed, and always try to start out empathizing with the person you?re writing to. Showing a little understanding for the other person?s position can go a long way in smoothing over ruffled feathers.

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Hey Ambra_Flows

I think this is well written, but any chance you can put headlines before paragraphs for the readers?  It will make it easier for them to locate and refer back to certain things.

:)  GJ!

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I am new to this site, but this is great advice, the only thing is I have 2 small children and I am scared they can be taken away if my cousin and I tell people, any advice on this subject,anything would help. Thanks!

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Maybe post your question in Shoot the Breeze, as it will be seen more and there are more people there who know more about that :)

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:girl_haha:

i loved this! i read it out loud to him because i kept questioning- and it made us feel so much better. I never thought about it that deeply, but i know he will never leave my side.

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this is very helpful esp since ive felt so lost for so long. i felt very alone, as if i was the only one who loved their cousin. but anyway, i have a question....my dad is in this horrible affair with another woman and yes hes married to my mom, and i used to say "you cant help who u fall in love with" because i fell in love with my cousin. am i hypocrite for saying that because my dad loves this other woman and he didnt mean to, whetever thats supposed to mean. i know mine and joe's relationship doesnt hurt anyone but my dad's relationship with this woman has destroyed my family.

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i'm indian and my family accepts my cousin relationship,however his family does not..his mom degrades me and doesnt even no me..she told him she will kick him out of home if he wants to be with me and that we are disgracing her..at first it did not bother me but as time went on..i fell deeper in love and now all this is killing me..dont know wat to do

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If you have a problem to discuss on the message board, please post it in Shoot the Breeze or the Help/Advice section, as this is not the place to start a new thread about a new problem.

Thanks :)... Ambra

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lol I would be super discouraged to send letters to any family member regarding cousin relationships, they would just throw it out/rip it apart, next best thing is actually reading it to them face to face

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The link for LadyC's letter is broken. I've read this letter once before and would really love to show it to my cousin. Is there a way to repair the link?

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I am having a relationship with my cousin. Not sure if he is 2nd or 1 once removed. His mom is my first cousin. His grandfather was my uncle. I am 38 and he is 36. We met 5 years ago and have only seen each other twice since. Recently I started going thru some bad times and we started talking. Now we are in love with each other. We compliment each other so well and this is the happiest we have ever been. We are afraid of what our family will say. We don't want to be apart but he stands to lose more. I have lost all of my family but his mom and aunts ( my first cousins) so I will be ok but he stands to lose his whole family. I will never make him make a chose of me or them but I am wondering if I should just bow out now before the big blow up. Please help!

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I am having a relationship with my cousin. Not sure if he is 2nd or 1 once removed. His mom is my first cousin. His grandfather was my uncle. I am 38 and he is 36. We met 5 years ago and have only seen each other twice since. Recently I started going thru some bad times and we started talking. Now we are in love with each other. We compliment each other so well and this is the happiest we have ever been. We are afraid of what our family will say. We don't want to be apart but he stands to lose more. I have lost all of my family but his mom and aunts ( my first cousins) so I will be ok but he stands to lose his whole family. I will never make him make a chose of me or them but I am wondering if I should just bow out now before the big blow up. Please help!

I think that he would be your first cousin once removed.

How does he feel about telling them? It all depends on what he's willing to risk. If he's willing and wants to risk that then more power to both of you! :)

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Kia,

Welcome to this site!  I am NO expert in cousin or other relationships, by any means.  My only suggestion would to be take things slowly with your cousin.  Don't try to push what you have into a full fledged commited relationship, including telling family members.  Give it time to grow between just the two of you, to get more comfortable with the idea.  There is always time to let family in on your happiness!

I only speak for myself.  Anybody else out there with more knowledge/experience wantta chime in  :wink:

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Thanks very much for all of the advice, it is very helpful. We have decided to wait and see how this plays out. He does stand to lose alot and I could not live with myself knowing I am the cause of it all. Thanks again. I am glad I found this site. It is very helpful and reassuring.

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The link for LadyC's letter is broken. Could someone re-post it?

Thanks in advance.

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it's called "how to tell your mom" and it's a sticky topic in the shoot the breeze category.

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I am having trouble opening the link on the letter LadyC wrote, any chance you can tell me were to find it?  I have to do a letter soon, and I would like something to give me direction as I have no idea how to approach my aunt.

Thanks for the wonderful article!

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