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My 1st cousin and I have been in a relationship for 4 years. We started being together when she was 13 and I was 16. I'm now 21 and she is almost 18. We have kept hidden from everyone but our grandma. She approached us about it and we told her everything. But besides her no one knows about. Now where I need help. The only family I have left is my grandma and grandpa. And they will be by through anything. So I'm not really worried about losing family. But her on the other hand, she has her parents, sister, brothers, aunts, just everyone in her family. And she is close with all of them. She is about to turn 18, and we have said all along we are telling everyone when we she turns 18. I'm worried that her family is going to disown her and she will have no one left but me. And then I think if we break up or fall apart, then she will not have anyone. I just don't know what to do. I mean I love this girl more than anything, we've been through so much together, we've been through deployments together, through everything and I don't want to see her go. But I don't want her to lose everything because of me. What should I do? Stay with her and tackle everything head on? Or leave her so she doesn't get hurt? I just don't know what to do.

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Dear vesver1,

I am going to tell you my opinion based on my own feelings and experience. First off, I'd like to say that it is great that you have the support of your grandmother. About your situation, I think you should remember that is a relationship that both of you are involved in. If she is with you, it is because she feels strongly about you. So you should consider what she thinks and feels. Ask her if she is really ready for that because the truth is that you never know how people will react. I am sure she does not want to break it off with you. It is a risk that she has to be willing to take. So I advise you to talk to her about it and see how she really feels. If she decides she is ready to talk to her family, just be there and support each other. The best thing you can do is to have a serious talk with her and tell her if she is ready and willing to risk it at this moment. And in my opinion, I say you shouldn't leave her to spare her from anything. Unless she tells you she wants to end it, don't end it. And I say this based on my personal feelings. I would hate for my boyfriend to just break up with me because he is "trying to protect me". I know the risks and I am in this relationship because I love him and want to be with him no matter what. So please speak to her. It is better for both of you to discuss it. Who knows? Maybe you'll both agree you want to wait a little longer until you are a little older or maybe you'll decide now is the best time. It is definitely something I think you should discuss and not just decide on your own what is best. Tell her your concerns.

I hope this helps

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I love the fact that the two of you have been together for so long and you seem to be truly in love with this girl!  I'm gonna give you something to think about before you decide to "come out", as it were.

Her parents may or may not be upset about the cousin factor.  Sometimes we think family will be upset and it turns out that they are actually supportive, especially when they see that we are truly happy.  But, you need to consider this one point before you tell her parents:  the fact that she has been in a secretive relationship with you for 4 years while still a teenager and living at home.  As a mom, I would be very hurt and upset if I found out that my children were sneaking behind my back and lying to me for years and years.  This could actually be a bigger issue than the cousin aspect. 

I know it's pointless to say "I wish you had done things differently", it is what it is at this point.  But in honesty,  being secretive and deceptive towards parents often causes heartache - and for good reason.  I understand why you chose the route you chose, but make sure you consider this angle when you tell her parents, because I can guarantee that this is going to upset them.

Let us know what you decide to do.  I hope you don't think I'm being harsh with you, but I just want you to be fully prepared for any topics of conflict that may arise.

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