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Getting it ALL out (Need advice!!!)

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This is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with in my life, as I'm usually good at logical decision making, but for some reason this is the first time I don't know what to do.  I figured I needed to get this off my chest somewhere and talk about this a bit more openly, as there's no one I know that can help me with my situation and this seems to be an accepting community and I really need the advice. I signed up using an alias and a spam email I made a long time ago, solely for the reason of trying to hide any possible identity to myself (and the possibility of being hacked). As it stands, I currently am in love with my first-cousin, but I'm struggling with our currently relationship- but I think I should try to explain the the whole story for a better understanding as to why I'm struggling, and I want to explain my cousin's situation.

My cousin has lived and grown up in Hawaii, while I live in Canada. We don't get to see each other often, in-fact throughout most of our lives there was a big gap that we never saw each other. The only time I have ever been able to see my cousin is during holidays, specifically Christmas. When we were kids (around the age of 7 or 8)  [my brother and] I met her for the first time, well we did meet when we were younger but we had no memory of it as we were like 3. Anyways, my cousin grew up with an alcoholic and abusive mother, with her father leaving for another woman. Eventually at the age of thirteen she was taken away from her mother as she was too dangerous and reckless, but her father didn't want her to become a foster (don't get it wrong, he didn't REALLY want her, he only did it so other people wouldn't judge him for leaving his daughter), so he took her in with his new wife. From the stories I hear from my cousin the family is her father, his wife, and their daughter (currently age 11 or 12, she was around 5 or 6 maybe when she moved in, I "think"), but it doesn't get any better here. The wife was the decision maker of the family and was power-driven, meaning that she had full control and that the husband (her father) was more passive and let her make all the decisions. She had full influence, and she took a grudge against my cousin as she was the daughter of another woman, only making it a horrible situation for her and favoring their daughter a lot more. Because of this she never got to experience a real life, she was always blamed on things she didn't do, she was yelled at, she was constantly grounded, never had her own privileges and access to her own things (such as her bank account), and was never allowed to leave the house except for school (and her job when she got one later on), but they would always praise their daughter and let her do whatever she wanted. 

Summing up this back-story, the people she lived with never really cared for her and hated her, but were forced to have her, because of this they discovered the great idea of flying her away for a few weeks so that they could have a vacation of their own without her. To do this they did it during holidays so it seemed natural, which typically was Christmas. Because of this I began to see my cousin every Christmas ever since she was thirteen, which made me really happy, but that was the only time I was ever able to see her.

The first Christmas we met it was somewhat awkward, but it was an ice breaker. We found ourselves able to get along really well. In our Christmas visits most of our relatives were in there 20's, meaning my cousin, brother, and myself were the only ones around our age group. My cousin was a year younger than me, while my brother was two years younger than me, but we grew up together and we were always around each other (although my brother didn't like me very much though).  During that first visit it was hard to get used to having a female around constantly, and both me and my brother were in our hormonal stages, so it was a given on how we saw the situation. My brother and I never felt a romantic love or connection of the sort with the cousin at the time, but just natural want for a female affection in general that we couldn't control, and we didn't see any problem with it at the time (this was before we knew how the western-culture was with romance between relatives). Unfortunately that first Christmas my cousin got much closer to my brother than me, as she would always try to be around him and would whisper with him all night long when we would all sleep together in the same room, there was even a few occasions where she would try to sit near my brother so she could fall asleep on him. It made me extremely jealous, it's not that I was quiet or awkward, but my cousin or brother would always try to push me away when I tried to get involved with their conversations.

The second time we met it was still somewhat awkward for the first half of the visit, but after that we grew very found of each other. This visit turned out a lot better, as half of it was because my brother got into a stage of being constantly grumpy and rude, meaning my cousin was uncomfortable around him and his attitude. Because of this my cousin came to me a lot more in this visit, eventually she began to whisper and talk to me all night, and we began pushing my brother away with his moody attitude. It was the same scenario as before, except my brother and I reversed our roles. In the last few days of my visit my cousin got especially close with me, although I don't think she really mean to, but I think she just got more comfortable around me. During the last few days she would be more touchy-feely with me, we never held hands or anything, but she would often make things up to make a physical interaction with me, which was mainly just trying to tickle me because she was "bored". During this visit there was a moment when we were both alone eating lunch (being alone with my family during the holidays is extremely rare, so this was a first) but she brought up a conversation in which she had asked when I would "finally get a girlfriend", which was followed by a small story about how she just got into a relationship. I had just happened to get into a relationship just a few weeks before her visit too (Remember, at this point in time I didn't have any affectionate feelings for my cousin, just a natural want for female attention like any other boy, but nothing special) so I told her about that, which made me comfortable as I never had anyone I could really talk to about my romantic relationships (as my friends hadn't really gotten to that level and family were out of the question as they didn't want me to date at my age). We were sad when she had to leave back home, but we often talked to each other almost every day constantly for a few months.

On her third visit it was probably the most quiet of the most, but I never thought anything of it at the time. She wasn't very touchy this visit and she didn't go out of her way to do things with my brother and I, she still did things- but she wasn't willing to drag me around. My cousin and I never talked about our relationships this time around, but I had recently been going over a break-up so any kind of romance was nonexistent in my head for most of her visit. I snapped out of it on the second half of her visit and started wanting to be around her a lot for a reason I didn't know why and I couldn't explain at the time. I tried to get close to her but she seemed to distance herself a bit during the visit, near the end she opened up, but it wasn't nearly as much as last year. 

On her fourth visit she came during the summer for my sisters wedding, during this visit she was a lot better, she was in a better mood overall and she was back to her normal self. She was touchy and fun again and we did our usual shenanigans of hanging out together and talking all night. She never got super close to my brother and I, but she was very open with us. It wasn't until this visit that I began to notice my feelings for my cousin, as I always wanted to be around her and I was always happy when I was with her. I didn't want to accept my feelings for her as I knew they were wrong, but I began to get that typical awkwardness and embarrassment when you're in love with someone, and I only got it with her. Near the end of the trip was when I accepted it, as I understood that it was similar and even much stronger than the feelings I had felt in my previous two relationships. In the end of her visit I tried to get close to her, but she kept her range when it came to certain activities and things, and she tried to not stay alone with me or my brother. We still had the same sadness when she left, but it hurt my more as I had to watch someone I just fell in love leave. 

Fast forward over a year till her next visit during Christmas, just this recent Christmas actually. This visit was her longest, as she was here for almost a whole month, at this point in time I am nineteen and she is eighteen. At this point I have moved in with my uncle and aunt while I start my first year of university, while she is just getting through the end of her last high school year. This visit was our closest, as she came a few days before the rest of the family, so we spent a few days together alone- we got very close to each other quickly, it was almost like we had just picked up from the last place we left it off. I had tried to make a promise with myself to not see our time together as a way of trying to make it "more" and tried to not see her as someone I had affections for. I did well in the first few days, but the time we spent alone in the first few days broke me and I couldn't help it. During her whole visit we stuck together like glue, rarely ever being away from each other. My cousin got extremely touchy with me quickly this time, trying to tickle, bump and lean on me almost every hour. I thought that maybe this was my moment and that possibly she had the same feelings as I did, as I had never seen her so open, friendly, inviting, and happy towards me. All of this shattered when I discovered she had a boyfriend, which I found out because she would face-time him for hours almost every night for the first week she was here, which eventually died down, but she still face-timed him every once in awhile. We followed each other on social media and she would sometimes post things about her boyfriend there, but I would always try to ignore her personal life as it would only make me more attracted to her, which I had set against before she visited. This made me extremely sad and to be honest I would've stopped myself there and would've held my feelings back and not be in this dilema- I would've kept my emotions bottled up inside never to tell anyone, but the rest of the trip made that impossible. I was prepared to be the "best friend", also known as the title of ultimate rejection when loving someone, and I was guaranteed that I would only be seen like this ever since I found out about her boyfriend. As the trip went on we got extremely close, we always sat beside each other, chilled in a sauna alone together, watched movies together while sometimes she leaned on me, and after a few days we slept together in my bed (as it was very big and was warmer than the bed she was given, as she was always very cold- and no, we didn't "sleep" together sexually). It was because of all this that I decided to keep going for it, even though I knew she had a boyfriend, I still felt like I had a chance. This was most definitely without a doubt the closest I've ever been with her in my life, and she wasn't trying to keep herself away from me even though she had a boyfriend this time (she had one before a few years back, but that relationship only lasted 2 months, while this one has been going on for over a year). Looking back I feel foolish for trying to "beat" her boyfriend, especially when they had been dating for a year and a half, but i couldn't control myself.

In the last week she was here she began to play with my hair one night, and that's when I truly thought there was some sort of chance, as the last thing I remembered from that night was passing out on her in that bed. The next day she said I had to repay her by playing with her hair, which ended up happening while we watched a movie. She had her head relaxed and on me for almost two hours, sure my hands were dead at the end of it, but she really enjoyed it. The following day was completely unplanned as we managed to get our hands on some liquor and pot, yes I know we shouldn't have been doing it but we weren't able to celebrate New Year's due to travelling, so we wanted a way to make up for it. We got lightly drunk, but we got very high that night. We had planned to get "smashed" because we missed our New Years, only to find out my mom (the last of my family besides my cousin that was still visiting) was too tired to leave that night and decided to stay over, which was a major problem. We lost most control of ourselves that night, but we couldn't let our mom know what we did so we were confined to my room. All we ended up doing was laying together in that bed. We originally had plans to go in the sauna again that night together while we lightly drunk, but my family didn't approve of it for obvious reasons as they found out we were drinking earlier, so we were a bit bummed out about that. Because I was high I got the munchies, so I was constantly leaving the room for food, but I remember one time I came back to the room to find my cousin had switched her clothing. She had switched her long pants for these extremely small shorts that exposed half of her backside, which could've been mistaken for underwear, and she was lying under the covers with them. This was unusual as she was from Hawaii so she wasn't used to our Canadian winters, and even a room set at 30 degrees Celsius was still cold for her, so for her to change her clothes into something more free and cool didn't add up. I remember I was flirting with her all night and I couldn't hold myself back, there were points where points where she would lightly flirt as well. Whenever it got to points that it seemed obvious I was making a move on her she would just comment saying I was stupid or ridiculous in a funny and somewhat sarcastic and embarrassed  tone (I don't know how to explain, but you've all heard it before). There was one point that night where she took off my glasses and said I was a lot better looking without them off and put them to the side- and of course after saying that I didn't put them back on for the rest of the night, and shortly after got me to lay my head on her as we were lying down. Later on my aunt walked into the room and told us that my mom had apparently been over hearing some of the things we were saying in the next door room and was uncomfortable that we were alone in a room saying these things after knowing we had some drinks (she didn't know we were high though). Once we found this out I told my cousin I had to hangout with my mom in the other room to reassure her we weren't doing anything weird, but she didn't come with me as her eyes were bloodshot red from being so high. After this she stopped flirting with me, and when I came back later to tell her my mom had went to bed she said she was too tired to do anything and immediately crashed, she even refused to do any of our random shenanigans (like a light tickle, poke, or head rest) that night- she also changed her clothes back to before. I was extremely confused by this, as she was flirting with me and seemed like she was in an affectionate state earlier, only to be the complete opposite now. I just assumed she had possibly tried to get close to me but got a little too close and didn't notice it as the drinks and all that made it easy for her to go with whatever, and that alert from my aunt was a call for her to draw back and stop. I remember waking up in the middle of the night with my arm on her chest. I was still high at the time so I didn't see it as a problem, I then tried to do some sort of poking as a joke only to find that she was out cold, naturally as a guy I got somewhat curious and poked away for a bit, I began to get touchy but my cousin was still out cold and I felt it was a bit too much at that point, so I just went back to sleep. 

The next day was her last, for most of the day we watched movies and she made me play with her hair again, except it was for over three hours straight- sure my arms and hands were dead but it was worth it to see her in such a relaxed state, as even in my past relationships I had never felt that feeling of relaxing someone on your lap/chest while they close their eyes and enjoy it- it's almost as if you can feel it too. When we went to bed that night she begged me to play with her hair even more that night, but she got extremely comfortable as we were lieing down. She wrapped her arms around me and held me as she lay her head on my chest and fell asleep on me as I rubbed her head and neck and played with her hair. She woke up an hour later and we talked for a bit, she said she had a bad dream and I consoled her and told her it would be okay and all that. She then proceeded to say that it was my turn to relax and encouraged me to lay on her. I wrapped my arms and held onto her this time as I laid my head on her chest, I had never been so happy and relaxed in my life. It was hard for me to enjoy the hair massage because my heart was beating so fast, but she talked to me all night and I calmed down and we had a very close talk. I told my cousin that I had poked her inappropriately the night before when she was out cold and how guilty I felt about it, I apologized to her and told her I shouldn't had violated her body even as a joke. I explained that I was high so I couldn't control myself and I took it too far, but I felt guilty about it even though she had no clue about it. She took what I said lightly and didn't get angry, in fact she almost seemed happy I was honest with her and forgave me. Honestly, that moment was the one where I have ever been so close and open to someone before, I don't think any other time in my life can compare. I passed out on her, but only for around 10 minutes, as my alarm sounded shortly afterwards. We had to get up extremely early to get my cousin to an airport so she could get on her flight. We spent some time together at the airport talking, but she could tell I was depressed that she was leaving, as well as still feeling bad for what I had did to her before. When she left we hugged and all that, but it was short and sweet- she never turned around or waved us goodbye from afar after we said our goodbyes. She still had to wait a few hours to actually board her flight as she was travelling internationally, but she had to go ahead to an area that we couldn't get to as we didn't have tickets. Soon after we left she instantly texted me, we talked back and forth, we messaged each other nonstop until she was finally able to board her flight, and when she landed she messaged me immediately and we still messaged each other quite a bit. It's been a few days since then and we haven't been talking as much, only sending a few messages a day, I try to talk to her as much as possible but she doesn't answer very often. I know she's busy with studies like me but she's also dealing with a job and I know she has a boyfriend back home. I'm beginning to think she's distancing me again now that she is physically able to be with her boyfriend again, but I can't really tell. 

When she left I was super depressed, I felt empty inside. I didn't start classes for three more days, but during those days I almost didn't do a single thing. On the first day I took it slow and relaxed because I knew I would feel this way, but on the second day I tried to ignore it by doing other things such as cleaning up the leftover mess from the holidays and I also cleaned myself up a bit. I still felt depressed no matter what I did, I couldn't distract myself no matter what I did. I tried watching movies, playing games, talking and hanging out with friends and family (was extremely hard because I didn't want to interact with anybody), sleeping, and just doing any of my usual hobbies. On the third day I was surprised I still felt the way I did, that's when I knew it was genuine and I wasn't just making my feelings up in the moment. The depression I got afterwards hit me like a massive brick and it has been a reminder of how deep my affection for my cousin has grown, especially over this Christmas holiday- but it only took her to leave until I finally noticed how much I love her. I don't know what to do with these feelings or how to deal with them, I haven't told my cousin how I feel but now I'm seriously debating it because of the strong emotions I'm feeling. I've fell in love before and been in relationships, I have asked girls out and been rejected, so don't mistake my feelings as "my first time blindly falling for someone", I've also been rejected- so please don't think I'm afraid of that.  I don't know if I should tell her how I feel or not, I just don't want to ruin our relationship and I'm afraid that if I tell her we may never be as close again. Honestly I would've told her how I felt just the other day after recovering a bit, but the fact that she has a boyfriend she loves scares me too much to have done it. She was so close to me when she was here even though she had a boyfriend, but I know she still has strong feelings for him as she would always bring up things they would do together or how they would move together and do things together in the future- it hurt when I heard it but she always opened herself up to me still- I'm so confused about the whole situation I don't know what to do or say. Normally I'd feel like she's giving me an upper hand over her boyfriend and that possibly she likes me more but when I look at all her social media all I see is just pictures of her and her boyfriend, both recent and old- and always constantly with each other. They constantly were messaging when she was here and there isn't a moment that seemed like she wasn't in communication with him besides when she was in bed with me.  If it wasn't for her boyfriend I would've thought she had fallen for me or something, but I'm not sure anymore. I don't know what I should do, should I risk our current relationship and tell her how I feel about her even though she has a boyfriend? Or should I wait it off a bit even though it seems almost impossible to live on without her.. I know looking at it realistically I have almost nothing to gain here, logically I don't stand a chance- I can really only lose from this situation- but I'm still at a lose as to what to do.

Some advice and/or help would be greatly appreciated!

(Sorry for the long read, I just wanted to get the whole story off my chest..)

Edited by RayePenber

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So, when you are trying to decide what to do in a situation, it's helpful to think about the pros and cons. What happens if you do tell her how you feel, best case scenario? What is the worst case scenario if you tell her? And best/worst if you don't?

So, what do you hope will happen if you tell her? I did read your entire post, but not all in one sitting, so just to clarify: you see her for a couple of weeks once a year. You are in Canada, she is in Hawaii I believe?

Assuming I got the basic facts right: best case scenario, you tell her how you feel, and she feels the same. What happens then? She leaves her boyfriend, obviously. Are either of you in a position to visit the other until next year? If yes, would one of you eventually move to be with the other? If not, you would be in a long distance relationship. Is that what you want?

If she rejects you, she's still your cousin. I'm going to assume you will still be in a position to see her every Christmas. How would you feel about that?

My advice with cousin relationships is always to take it slow, be careful what you commit to, and if you commit to it, be ready for what that means.

You can never change the fact that she is your cousin. You two could decide to have a relationship, and then break up, and she'd still be your cousin, and always part of your life. I believe that you are currently nineteen, and she is currently eighteen. That's pretty young to commit to anything serious. Not that it doesn't happen, but it doesn't happen often and turn out well. And I would say, if you don't want to commit to her long term, and think about having children with her (or not), and think about all of the implications of that, you may not want to complicate a good friendship now for something that probably won't last.

And I know you feel strongly about her, and I know you are in a tough place right now. My advice though is to wait a few years. See who you are five years from now. See who she is. And if you've missed being with her every second you haven't been with her for those five years, and you think she might feel the same, say something then. Cousin relationships are never simple, and they are never easy. Make sure, if you get yourself into that, it's worth doing.

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I would say she's just as attracted to you as you are to her. I'd take it slow, sure, but don't just stay quiet. Don't wait until both of you are in your 20s and possibly near marrying someone else. I'm sure she feels like you do... that it's wrong, because our society says it is. So if you talk to her and realize she has feelings for you, too, for sure, you can start the conversation by introducing her to some facts about cousin marriages and cousin couples or that you looked some stuff up. I'm with my cousin now, but I was not ready at all to even think about it at 18, although I had a crush on him, for sure. I think he liked me too but we were both in denial. Our past failed relationships in adulthood really make us appreciate our connection. It would have been good if we'd kept in touch as we grew up a bit and then maybe we would have been together even longer. 

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