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Hey, long time no see. My story up to now.

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Hi guys! I've been having a bit of a nostalgia trip recently (revolving around my cousin) and wanted to check out this site again.
Back when I was in high school I came here looking for some sort of approval, since it felt near impossible to find such elsewhere. I ended up acquiring quite a bit of knowledge on the topic of cousin love as well as some advice.
I'd like to rehash my story a little and bring anyone reading up to speed. I'll try to condense it so that it's readable.

So my whole love story started when I was 14 ,I lived in California and her family moved around a lot but finally settled down in Texas. I saw my cousin (she was 12 at the time) for the first time in several years. It was a love at first sight type of experience and I described her to myself as "beyond angelic". Naturally I believed the whole idea of being with her was impossible due to laws, religion, family, etc. so I didn't even consider trying to get close to her and just enjoyed admiring her. Objectively speaking, she was beautiful, and to me: doubly so. I however, was not very attractive at that time in my life. I was about 4'2 and often mistaken for a kindergartner, bushy head of hair, and I wasn't athletic or anything either. I also spent most of my days playing video games and watching anime too, so naturally I was pretty invisible to her.

After that trip she took to California, I was invited by her brother to go on a camping trip with his friends in Texas. I agreed only because I hoped I would get to see the cousin I admired. I did see her for roughly 20 seconds and that made the whole trip worth it. After that trip, I ended up vising her family in Texas every half year between school semesters. When I was about 16 I finally started to grow into my looks. I had a rigorous PE program at my first high school and after a semester there I switched schools and was arguably the strongest guy in my grade (the other guys caught up pretty fast tho 😄). I also started straightening my hair so it went from  a "jew fro" (as my friends lovingly called it) to more of a beiber type hairs style. Finally I also grew to 5'7 (fairly average height) and my grade rocketed to straight A's after I stopped taking ADHD medication. After all this happened in a single year, my cousin's family visited California again, and for some reason my cousin (who usually ignored my existence) was being really nice to me. She started conversations with me, hugged me goodbye at the end of each day, and would tease me in a fun way. Naturally I had my suspicions. I was pretty attractive now, and she was being way friendlier than any other girl I'd known. I didn't know exactly what to make of it, so I looked up this site and learned all about cousin relationships and why there isn't anything unnatural or wicked behind my feelings.
This however was the beginning of something life changing. While I had originally been content to admire her as though she were a far off goddess or an anime waifu (fun to admire, but impossible to be with), suddenly there was a hope. A hope that she may perhaps return my feelings. 
after this point I had two trips within a years time. One was to my dying uncles wedding. I had planned to confess to my cousin there but I couldn't work up the courage. After that trip I suffered through my feelings for around 6 months before I was able to take another trip to Texas. I also told my mom about my feelings for my cousin and although she didn't approve at first, she began to hope for my happiness despite it.

Then came the major trip to Texas. One night during this trip, I was watching shows with my male cousin "B". He had to go somewhere and left the house. Nobody else was there but me and the cousin I admired (we'll start calling her "R"). I knocked on her door and asked her if it would be okay if I got something off my chest. I was unbelievably nervous, particularly because I had been testing the waters with her for a few days to try and see if I could get an answer without asking the question. All signs pointed to her rejecting me, but I couldn't leave without hearing her say it. Even more importantly though, I didn't want to live in a world where she doesn't know that I love her. I told her "I have a little crush on you...do you maybe feel the same way?.." She just shook her head. "Ok, well sorry for bothering you then...good night...". I left the room and went to bed. I didn't even cry, I just listened to some music and thought about where my life would go from there.

When I got home I tried to forget about her but couldn't. I tried hating her but it didn't help. I did everything in my power to return to the way I was before I fell in love with her, but nothing really changed. I thought about her every day, sometimes it would just be her name in my head, but she would enter my mind constantly. To be honest it still hasn't ended.

A year passed and I was in my final semester of junior year in high school, when I felt inspired to move out. I told my dad I wanted to move to Texas on my own (the idea wasn't inspired by R at all, I just wanted a fresh start). I had never been popular or had a girlfriend or kissed a girl (despite my good looks). I wanted to try fresh at a new school, in a new state. I wanted an adventure I guess. My dad rejected the idea at first and told me to wait until college to move out, but I was able to convince him to let me go under the condition I live with my grandparents ( I wanted my own apartment. My dad is pretty wealthy so he could easily afford it) . 

After I moved to Texas I was confronted by my grandparents who told me I was not to talk to R about my feelings for her. Apparently She had told her parents and they told our grandparents. The law of the land was that if I spoke to her about my feelings or refused to agree not to speak to her about my feelings, I would be sent home. Considering I hadnt spoken to her since my confession, this was quite annoying. I very much wanted to have a conversation with her about my feelings and get her thoughts. I wanted her to know I loved her and I wanted her to know what I had learned here. At first I was enraged and thought "screw it, I want to have a conversation about my feelings. If that means I have to go home in shame then screw it!". What stopped me, was this thing called a tarot card reading that my English teacher in California showed my class. I looked up a computer generated reading online hoping to get some sort of an answer. The reading was perfect. It told me in no uncertain terms: the fate of each choice. It was so clear and accurate that I couldn't deny it. In the end I had no other choice but to accept my grandparents deal.

After that I didn't speak to my cousin too much. We went to the same high school but had no business within each others lives. I was pretty popular at the high school for a while and got a girlfriend and my first kiss too, but stopped trying after about a semester and things went back to the usual. After graduating high school I went to college in Texas and graduated with a BBA. 

After graduating college, I went home to California for Christmas. I had an apartment in Utah I was going to move into at the start of 2019. One notable thing that had happened with me since I had fallen for my cousin, was that every single year I grew more attractive than the last. Around this time I was considered a 9/10. The friends of girls I dated would tell those girls that they needed to marry me ASAP and I was always considered the best guy any of those girls had ever dated. Naturally I have never been broken up with. Still a virgin though.

While I have been thriving and growing. My cousin "R" has been embracing everything I find unattractive. She smokes, she drinks, she has tattoos, and piercings (not just her ears). She's not chubby but she's not in great shape either, Her hair is dead from all the work she's done to it, she curses freely, she clearly lost her virginity a long time ago, and she's working a dead end job and is just barely getting by. Honestly she's a total loser and a disappointment. Everyone says so. It breaks my heart.
another thing that occurred with her family was that it was discovered that her father (not related to me by blood) had cheated on my aunt (related to me by blood), possibly on several occasions during business trips. I was probably the only person on my aunts side of the family who forgave him immediately. I didn't feel like it was my place to dislike or hate him, no matter what anyone else said. After I came to Texas he was welcoming to me even though he knew about my feelings for R and even did what he could to repair our relationship. I felt like I owed him for his kindness. I know he isn't a bad man. Not really. 
R on the other had took it way worse than anyone else in the family. The rest of her family (her mom included) forgave her dad, but she moved out and cut ties with her family excluding her youngest brother. She was still close to my family though, excluding me, of course.

So anyways this trip to California before my next big move was the first time I had seen her in about 2 years ( not since her sister's wedding). I was hoping she would be fat and acne ridden or something, I was scared I might fall for her again. My first thought upon seeing her was "god dammit she's gorgeous". To be frank, she wasn't, when I looked at pictures of her after the trip, I thought huh, she's actually not very attractive. For whatever reason though, despite all her flaws I was feeling the love again. 
One thing that struck me after seeing her was "I'm not in Texas anymore...the deal I made all those years ago is null now. we're both adults, we can talk this out. Finally I can tell her the truth and hear what she really thinks...but should I bring it up...maybe it's better left buried..." 

I was super scared that she would hate and avoid me if I tried bringing up the subject again, but after having a talk with my brother that repaired my relationship with him, I decided that I needed a similar thing with R. 
One morning I went down to the laundry room at my dads house, when I ran into her. I said something like "Hey R, do you remember that time I told you I had a crush on you?" and she said "oh yeah, don't worry about that, we were just kids". 
She gave me the perfect out. The perfect reset button to our whole relationship. But I remembered in that moment my feelings all those years ago. I didn't want to live in a world where she didn't know how I felt. So I said "R...I don't think we're understanding each others feelings..do you think we could talk later?" She said "...sure...". The conversation flowed from there and I asked for her number, and she gave it to me for some reason. I told her with a smile that once the trip was over and I was settled in Utah that we would talk. 

After that the trip went on, and we actually had a somewhat romantic night together, I think...The way it went was that my dad showed us this show called "billions", I wasn't too interested in it (I didn't enjoy a second of studying finance in college) but I kept watching because she was there with me, and whether she was interested in the show or not; she stayed up with me. Eventually it was just the two of us and we had stayed up pretty late, but every now again my brother would walk down stairs for a drink or something. Eventually he stopped coming down and she got off the couch and laid stomach down on the rug in front of the TV. I had a clear view of he face and body, and every now and again she would look back at me. Here and there we would share looks at each other for a couple seconds, but I would always look away first. Sometimes she would look at me first and I would or wouldn't return the look, she would keep looking at me for a couple seconds and then would face forward again.The entire time I was fighting internally on whether or not to get out of my seat and join her on the rug, reach for her hand and kiss her. I didn't though for a couple reasons.
I was very worried that she disliked me or saw me as a nuisance or a creep. I also felt like my feelings were my burden and that I shouldn't make her have to deal with it. There was also the risk of her making a big scene. Even though all our elders knew about my feelings for her, none of the other cousins did, and I didn't want to bring anyone else into it. 
The night ended eventually and we went to bed. She was supposed to fly back to Texas that next morning but her flight got cancelled and she had to spend another night. I think we watched another couple episode of billions and little game of thrones. The vibe was pretty much the same. The next morning we were the only ones in the house (my parents are divorced (they still act like a married couple, but my mom doesn't live with my dad) and my brother works for my dads business so both of them were at work). I made the two of us breakfast and some hot coco to enjoy before she got driven to the airport by our grandparents. We talked a bit about her family and her life. I tried to be supportive while also letting her know my honest thoughts. We had a good talk and I felt like we were connecting. after a half hour or so of talking she started getting ready to leave. My grandparents came and I helped her carry her luggage to the car. I told her goodbye and gave her a hug. 

After that I of course moved to Utah, had a great road trip with my dad  (we drove my car and all my things cross country), and got moved into a perfect little apartment all to myself. Once I was settled and the parents were away, I tried calling R. She didn't pick up. I called her again and texted her, but I never got a response. I know she gave me a number that belonged to her, because an old family text that had (999-999-9999) was filled by her name. For whatever reason though, I haven't heard from her since. Its been a little over a year since then. I've gotten a great job in Utah, I;m a licensed stock trader and financial adviser now, and as ever I have kept working hard to improve my physical appearance. I'm 24 and people often tell me I don't look a day older than 18. 
I was watching an anime I enjoyed back when I first fell in love with my cousin recently, and it lit the old fire in my heart. Naturally these feelings only cause me pain. I wish I could go back in time and change the way things have gone. I wish she had fallen for me when she was still young and beautiful, I wish I could have stopped her from making all the poor life choices, I wish I had told her I was in love with her all those years ago. I wish I had informed her of all I learned from this website and others. I do a lot of wishing when she's involved. It's always felt pretty tragic to me, that no matter how much I contemplate and fantasize, none of it matters. Until I see her again, I can't do anything, and even when I do see her, there's no guarantee I can get a chance to talk to her in private.

My eldest cousin is getting married in August. It's possible I'll see R there. If I can find the opportunity, I'm going to ask her why she never responded or gave me an old number, and I'll tell her the whole truth. This time for sure.
I'm so sick of all these regrets. I feel like I need to approach her with more guts. Say something like "R, we need to talk" instead of "hey R, do you think we could talk?". During that last trip I felt guilt ridden over whether or not I was making her feel uncomfortable, but I think I need to be as selfish as possible only this once, and be totally up front with her. I still need to be careful I don't cross the line, but I think the strong approach is the only feasible route for reaching a happy ending.

So yeah! that's my story of unrequited love 😉. Honestly, I'd really like some thoughts. Particularly on that night we spent watching tv together. I guess you guys will never know exactly how she looked at me or any of the other details, but that memory always has me asking myself whether she wanted me to join her on the rug and if she only went up in front of me like that because she wanted me to look at her. She said at the time it was because she was feeling cold and wanted to get closer to the fireplace, but I dunno. Maybe those looks were just her being creeped out by me. I guess I wont know unless I ask her. The tough thing is getting to her. I cant call her, I cant text her, and I have no way of knowing if she will even be at my eldest cousins wedding later this year. I cant just go asking other people for her number either. That would just be rude. I'm desperate, but all I feel I can do is wait. Same as ever. One day at a time.

So yeah, thoughts please! If you have any idea what she may have been thinking, I'd love to have your opinion! I'd love to read any thoughts on the rest of the story as well. I don't get to open up like this often!

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Hey Mitchell, it's hard to know what she was thinking. I always had such a crush on my cousin , D and we always joked around. Eventually he told me that he had once had a crush on me when we were younger and I totally pretty much ignored him and left him thinking that I didn't feel the same because I didn't know what to say at the time because it caught me off guard. It wasn't until quite a while later when he brought it up again in a joking manner that I told him that I felt the same way. My family all seemed to know about our "thing" for each other, but we were never alone long enough or brave enough to bring it up. I think if she is at the wedding that you should try to speak with her. You need to know if she even remotely feels the same so that you can either move on or pursue things. Maybe her parents and Grandparents made her feel bad when she told them and instilled that it was wrong or inappropriate 🤷‍♀️. I'm not entirely sure why she would give you an old number or just not answer or at least text you back though; that part is definitely weird. 

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It's time to banish the "what ifs". You had told her your feelings then and she didn't seem to return them  (and she told the family as well). In a sense, you already had "your shot", it's not like she was unaware of your feelings. As for whether or not you could have stopped her from making bad life choices, who knows. Maybe you could have but I'm thinking likely not. I don't know why she ended up doing the things that she did but I'm getting the feeling that there is a lot you may not know about her. She could have had life events that led her down a different path and that there is/was really nothing you could do to stop that.

Also, allow me to be blunt: You're an educated, fit man making good money in an industry after obtaining a college degree. She smokes, drinks, swears a lot, and is stuck in a dead-end job and all of these qualities are unattractive to you. I'm not sure what makes you think you two would be well-matched. You seem to talk a lot about her beauty and being attracted to her based on that but that alone doesn't make for a good relationship, especially when you two seem to be on different paths now. I would ask yourself why exactly you're holding onto this idea of her after 10+ years despite her not returning your feelings, family getting in the way, and other major life differences. Does the taboo of the situation turn you on or something?

As you stated, you're 9/10 and aging remarkably for your age. You can do better than this. 

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