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Likely my one and only post. Help me get over this... (long story)

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My first cousin and I didn't really grow up together.  As kids, our parents fought and I can maybe count on one hand the number of times we spent together.  He was 2 years older than me and I can remember ALWAYS feeling drawn to him.  When we were young, we were caught kissing in the backyard.  On one trip in an RV, I have a vivid memory of laying across from each other on the little sofa seats between the table.  I looked at him and thought, I want to marry him some day.

Fast forward 10-15 years.  I had literally had no contact with him or that part of our family due to family strife between our parents.  I was about 18 or so and went back to my summer job.  I had no idea that my cousin and his aunt worked there as well.  I had heard quite a few horror stories about him over the years.  That he was trouble.... had a temper... was a jerk, etc.  Initially, I was nervous and somewhat freaked out that we would be working together.  But at the same time, after all of those years, that jolt of electricity took over me.  I got the same feeling in my stomach that I had as a kid.  Over the course of that summer we became great friends.  Yes, he was a bit of a wild child but not mean and certainly didn't have a temper.  He had a shitty childhood and... well, that formed a lot of who he was.  But, when we were together, we would just sit in his room and talk for hours.  He had lots of "girlfriends" to use the term mildly and I remember being so jealous.  And then confused about why I was jealous about my cousin. But I figured it was a stupid high school thing and just dismissed it.  But I could not imagine not spending every day with him.  And for the most part, we did.

The summer before I was going away to my second year of college, he was in a horrible car accident.  Almost died.  I was literally loading the car to leave when this accident happened.  Despite the fact that my father hated him (for no explicable reason known to me), I forced him to drive me to the hospital on the way to college.  He was in the ICU.  He had shattered his knee, lost his spleen and was in really bad shape.  When I saw him in the hospital, I knew that I couldn't spend any part of my life without him.  I don't think in that moment that it clicked that it was love, but it was powerful and all encompassing.  Being away at school was horrible.  I had my mother checking in on him all the time and once he was awake, I called him constantly.  I spent every break back home visiting him and helping to care for him.  It was no longer an option to be away from him.  But even still, I pushed back the jealously over the other girls, the feelings that I was pretty sure I was in love with him and the fact that I wanted to kiss him and hold him more than I wanted to breathe.  I knew that none of that would end well so there wasn't a point.

Obviously, we became even closer.  He had a long, hard rehabilitation involving a lot of surgeries and therapy.  I did what I could but he was pretty much on his own when I wasn't there.  Once he was able to walk with a cane, he started to come visit me at school.  He was the life of the party as always and hooked up with more than a couple of my friends.  Which, of course, broke my heart but eventually, he was setting me up with his friends and I used it as a way to deal with what was really bothering me.  While he always set me up, he was always there telling me they weren't really good for me and why I shouldn't take it too seriously.  "Just have fun but don't be their girlfriend".  And he had the same approach on his end.  He never had a lasting relationship for the most part.  He wasn't just messing around.  Unfortunately, he had his heart broken more than a few times.

One night, during his visit to my school, after much alcohol consumption, he was laying in my bed in my dorm.  I always let him take the bed and I would lay on the floor because of his injuries.  And often, I would massage his leg and back because they were constantly hurting him.  But on this night, something came over me and the crazy thought popped into my head and I could possibly see how he would react if I flirted with him.  He flirted back.  One thing led to another and ... well... we were kissing and talking and also freaking out about what we were doing.

After this, things got weird.  We eventually had an intimate relationship but still saw other people.  I have no idea how he felt but it killed me.  I hated the fact that he was with other women, but the reality is that we could never be together without losing what little family we had.  So, I think we tucked that part away and just acted like it was a casual thing.  I know for me, each time, it was harder for me to do that.

The summer of my junior-senior year, I met my now husband.  We dated and my cousin knew him.  He liked him and he was happy that we were together.  Our sexual relationship ended because I was in a committed relationship but I was heartbroken.  I missed my cousin and knew that he was my soulmate.  I love my husband but I know that my cousin was *the one*.  I had sent an email (literally when email just started) to my cousin telling him everything I felt.  He never responded and I never brought it up again.

My wedding loomed and my cousin was in the wedding.  I insisted he be a groomsman.  My husband was fine with that.  Honestly, I don't remember if I ever told him the truth about my cousin.  I think I may have but we don't talk about it.  Anyhow, my cousin begins acting strange.  Very angry, not showing up to wedding events.  He wasn't at the rehearsal dinner because he claimed he needed to get socks and it took forever.  I didn't believe him and suspected what the reason was but just chose to believe I was making it up because I wanted it to be true.

He did come to the wedding and ending up hooking up with my best friend who was in the wedding.  Why in the hell was I upset when I had just gotten married.  But again, I put it aside.

After the wedding we had to move across the country and my cousin stayed in town.  At that point, he became addicted to the pain killers that had been helping him during his rehab.  He was combining prescription drugs that he didn't have a prescription for and sunk into a deep depression?  Was it related to me?  I don't know.  Part of me thinks it was but the other part thinks he would have told me his feelings when I initially professed my love to him.  He married two women.  One because he needed medical benefits and she was in the military, the other, I'm not sure because we weren't speaking at this point.  He was angry with me because I wouldn't let him come live with me despite the fact that he was a drug addict.  I knew that we would have to financially support him and live with a drug addict and I knew it would destroy my marriage.  I said no, but I made sure that my mother kept close tabs on him.

Sadly, he died laying in bed watching tv next to his wife.  He accidentally took too many of the wrong combo of medications and just shut his eyes and died.  I wasn't able to go to his funeral and have yet to visit his grave.  This was 12 years ago. 

I am still not over it.  I dream about him constantly.  It is always a visit from him and he hugs me and tells me he loves me.  I know he is dead but I am just so happy to see him that I don't care.  In some dreams, I go to call him and realize that he won't be there.  Lately, I feel so sad because I know that he was 100% my soulmate.  But this little part of me tells myself I was just another piece of ass for him and I meant nothing.  Part of me wonders if my getting married was the start of the downward spiral for him or is that just me being completely narcissistic?  Did he love me the way I loved him?  Was it all just too much for him and he knew nothing could come of it? 

I see people all the time that remind me of him.  I look at my son and wish he were there to know him.  He always made me promise to make him the godfather to his kids.  I look at my husband and feel horrible because although I love him, I know it's not the same love I had for my cousin.  Or was I just a stupid little girl who read too much into everything.

If I could have one moment with him I would tell him I love him and just ask him if he felt the same way about me.

Lately it has been harder and I am angry at the missed opportunity.  While I wouldn't have my son and that is something I am so grateful for, I know as a person I would be so much more had I ended up with him.  When he died, part of my soul died and I will never get that back.  And I can't handle all of the unanswered questions.

If you have read this far, thank you.  If you have managed to stay with your cousin, I admire you.  And if you are wonderful if you should tell your cousin your feelings, do it. 


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I'm so sorry that you have lost your cousin and can see in your writing how painful it is for you.

Twelve years is a long time to mourn the loss of someone!  I make no claims on being a grief expert, but have you thought about counseling or attending a bereavement group?  You need an understanding person or group to help you sort through your sadness.

I do know that you cannot take the blame for his addictive behavior.  Whatever "reasons" he had, were really just excuses.  You were right not to let him live with you.  We are powerless to influence an addict's behavior. 

You can drive yourself crazy with the "What Ifs".  Please get some help to sort through all of this.  You son and your husband will be glad of it - but mostly, you will be glad to know how to, finally, deal with this loss.



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Don't worry about the wall of text. You have provided all the background we would need to advise you as best we can.

I agree with Serendipity. She hasn't been here all that long, and we've never had a chance to chat, but I've read several of her replies, and I find her to be quite insightful. Please consider her advice.

I will never be with my special cousin either. Well, I won't say NEVER, but I don't ever see any way it would happen. We will enjoy the few and far between chances we get to spend time together with friends and family, and that will suffice for us. Like you, we missed our opportunity. Much too much water has passed beneath the bridge to go back at this late date.

As Serendipity has said, 12 years is a long time to carry this. My impression is that you are here because you have correctly surmised that we would have an understanding ear. You are correct. We CAN sympathize. There are members here who, like you, have lost the love of their life, who happened to be their cousin. The stories are every bit as heartbreaking as yours, and dare I say in the case of our Admin Jesse, more so. They were happily married for many years when he lost her. You are NOT alone.

You have asked for help in getting over this. Along with the advice given by Serendipity, you may wish to consider a few things I seem to be picking up on from your post. First, I have a feeling your husband DOES know you had/have very strong feelings for your cousin. The full extent, he may never know, but, thrust me, he knows something special exists. You say you love him, and I have no doubt that is true. That being the case, allow me a suggestion for you. At the next opportunity, look at his face, and look him deeply in the eyes. There you have a man who knows something of what you feel, and is good enough with it to have held his tongue lo these many years, and never been insecure or threatened by it. That must come from some considerable measure of confidence on his part. And, a deep abiding love for you. A lesser man would not have been able to handle it. I know you have the deepest feelings for your cousin, but, if, as you suspect, he could never process you loving your husband and being with him, he may not have been as strong a man as your husband. Not trying to "bust his chops" in your eyes, it's just an observation on my part, from your impressions you have shared. I encourage you to at least make the effort to place the feelings you struggle with in a special place in your heart, take them out and dust them off once in a while, but put the part of the emotion that occupies you more than you would have it do, over to your husband. As I have said, you have a good man who loves you, who you love, and I think if you will look deeply in his eyes and admit this to yourself, you can bring yourself to a deeper understanding and love for him. If you can do so, you will strengthen your commitment to him, and strengthen your own resolve to move forward. You already have everything you need to do so, it is just a matter of putting the pieces together, and in their respective places.

Good Luck to you, M'Dear. You CAN do this, you just have to take a deep breath, step back for a bit, and look at the picture as we see it from the outside looking in. Feel free to NOT make this your only post. If you need us to help hold your hand in this, we will do what we can. Try to do as I suggest, and hopefully looking at it in that perspective will help you. 


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