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CptnKitten

Confused as to whether I like my cousin or not

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So I'm 23 (F) and my second cousin is 27 (M). For years during childhood I had this sort of innocent crush on him, and the most I thought about doing with him was kissing him on the cheeks and lips really fast, hugging, rough-housing, poking and tickling him. There were times when I wouldn't see him for a year or two, and I was always bummed out when I didn't get to see him at family gatherings. I put this in the back of my mind as just something that happened because I longed for a sibling as an only child and that I didn't really talk to guys around my age much. The majority of our family is pretty conservative and religious (Christian) in a kind of strict way, so I'm pretty sure they would look down upon cousin couples (I can't even talk about Harry Potter around some of them without a "good talking to". 

Anyways, for the last few years especially, my life has been very... rocky. I'm pretty sure my mother has BPD (borderline personality disorder - my therapist thought so too) and for years I went through emotional abuse with her as well as her poor choosing of men that she's dated and married throughout her life. She's currently stalking and harassing me and other members in our family trying to figure out where I live and other personal details that I refuse to give her since I've gone no contact for the last year with her. I've been going to university to be a teacher and working at the same time without having to rely on anyone else so it's all been really stressful on me. I haven't been able to see a therapist in a while - my university's counseling center sucks so not an option on that. Not to mention that my old counselor is a Christian guy so he wouldn't be the best match for what I've been through....

The kicker is that several months ago the first serious bf I had been dating for longer than a year decided to end things with me, mainly because I have vaginismus, which apparently is both a physical and psychological sexual dysfunction issue that can be caused by sexual and/or emotional abuse. He had also said that he only found one physical part of my body attractive and couldn't even list anything on the inside that he liked of me, so in the end I felt ugly inside and out and broken as a woman and human being. He didn't want to be patient anymore and was frustrated because he couldn't do certain things with me (which I understand, but I was the one that was affected the most..). A couple of times after I went to see a gynecologist... and it only made my condition worse - the doctor basically gave up on me and now I'm facing a severe form of the dysfunction and I don't even know if I'll ever get it fixed. It was a pretty low time for me and I'm still trying to get over the hurdle of the emotions of it and trying to regain my self-confidence back. After the break-up I had also gradually begun to lose interest in dating or anything sexual whatsoever that involves being with another person. (I mean, would any guy even date a girl with vaginismus and be patient and understanding of the condition and other crap she's been through, especially if she's not the most attractive person out there??)

In the meantime, here and there my second cousin has helped me by moving my stuff or by us hanging out a couple of times. Even then I didn't really think much of him in a romantic way, although I tend to keep walls up between me and others anyways (or so I've been told). However, that changed when he asked if I wanted to meet up with him a couple of weeks ago. All we did was go to a gun range that he worked at and he showed me how to use different guns (that close proximity to him had me sighing on the inside), because in the past I had mentioned to him that I would like to be able to defend myself and be able to use a gun if necessary (isn't that thoughtful of him?). But suddenly after that I haven't been able to get him out of my mind. What was once an innocent child crush has now turned into me fantasizing about being with him and wanting to be intimate both physically and emotionally with him. Now I get so excited just to even see a text from him or hanging out with him, and even though he's not what I would call my "type", I still find him attractive.The more rational side of me is worried because I'm still in pain from the other past (and current) events and I don't think I could deal with any more pain right now. 

Now, I'm a little more open-minded compared to the rest of my family so I don't have an issue with cousin relationships as long as it's not forced, the couple isn't too young, and no one is manipulated. The issue I do have is:

  1. Whether I'm actually having romantic/love feelings for my cousin, or if it's just something out of circumstance and pent-up sexual and emotional frustration 
  2. What the family would think or do if anything were ever to transpire between us - I don't even know if my cousin shares the same feelings for me or not. 

I guess right now I'm wondering if I really do like him in that way or not, and not just being lustful at the moment. I'm not in any rush or anything, I just want to have a sound/idea-box with people who can understand my situation, I guess. 

Any thoughts or ideas on this?

Thanks

Edited by CptnKitten

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15 minutes ago, CptnKitten said:

I've been going to university to be a teacher and working at the same time without having to rely on anyone else

Hi there,

Welcome to the forum. I really can tell that you are a strong woman... full of experiences and hardships and i wish you well. May I know how much longer you think before you become a teacher? At least you have a goal in mind and so you are on the right track...

The issue at hand though is your love life...and so to answer your two questions below. Let me suggest a question that you can ask him that will hit two birds with one stone. The next time you guys hang out together, pop him this question,

"Soooo cous, does your gf also like guns?"

And watch for his reactions intently...feel it carefully. It would be best if the setting will be only the two of you. 😉

 

Pooch

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CptnKitten

Please don't pay any attention to pooch - he has no idea of what the issue really is and his advice is NOT very helpful.

The ex bf is a real jerk and you do not need any jerks in your life.  You have been having difficulties with a number of people and you need to sort them out.   I recommend a book that very likely will help you in this.  It is NASTY PEOPLE, HOW TO STOP BEING HURT BY THEM WITHOUT STOOPING TO THEIR LEVEL by Dr. Jay Carter.  Dr. Carter is a national expert on bipolar disorder and bullying.  Your es is definitely a bully.   am sure the book will help you until you can see your therapist.

Take a lot of good deep breaths and try to stay calm.  

HUGS

Nat

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Hi CptnKitten - It sounds like you have a lot going on. I agree with Nattana: your ex is a complete jerk, and the less you let his cruelty affect you, the better. Your cousin obviously cares about you, and being attracted to someone who cares is completely rational, especially if you've been dealing with abusive and emotionally damaged people. However, cousin relationships are inherently more complicated than relationships between unrelated individuals, so if you do decide you want a relationship with him, it's good to understand that in the beginning. In terms of sorting out your feelings, it's hard to know unless you give it some time. I can tell you from experience that him being your cousin doesn't mean you're not attracted to him. He's someone you know, and feel safe with. Despite the kinds of relationships our society likes to glamorize, that can be a great basis for a relationship, especially if you have trouble trusting people.

Knowing how your family would react is impossible without telling them. I think in most cases, family members who love you will get over it eventually if they see it's good for you. My dad definitely struggled when I first told him I was dating my cousin, but by the time we got married last year, he was just thrilled to see me so happy.

Maybe try spending some more time with your cousin. That will give you opportunities to figure out your feelings about him, and also to gage his feelings for you. 

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