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feelings for 3rd cousin

Guest malinalli

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Guest malinalli

Hello. I am 24 yrs old and live in  CA.  5 years ago i accidentally  found my 3rd cousin on myspace,  she  lives  in the midwest. We became  close and really saw eachother as sisters and i finally went to visit her last august. My very last day there , she introduced me to this guy  and at the very  end  of dinner was like " oh i forgot to tell  he is my cousin so he is your 3rd cousin too!". I was immediately sad because  there was definitely a lot of attraction and compatibility. Since than,  him and i talk often through text and ttuly share the same intellect, morals and interests. He has no idea how i feel about him, i think. He is too far away  anyway, but still, sometimes i  feel like a weirdo feeling this way about him.  From a genetics point of  view i know we are genetically quite distant, and from a personal and ethical point of  view i believe  i lived my whole life without knowing him or even knowing he exists so why should it matter if we  are civically labeled third cousins?  I  just wish he felt the same way !

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Are you sure he is actually a third cousin, and not possibly a little closer than that? I don't intend to add to your angst in any way, but it is not at all uncommon for a guest/first time/new arrival here to not quite understand the exact relation. My cousin and I are second cousins, have known each other practically all our lives, and up until a couple years ago, she thought we were third cousins, when we are actually second cousins. If one each of your parents are first cousins, you are second, not third cousins. If one each of your grandparents are first cousins, then, indeed, you are third cousins. Do tell the family line, as best you know it. We'll explain the widely misunderstood "once removed" factor, if there is anything of that sort going on in your particular situation. That usually is what causes folks, (such as my cousin, a very competent medical professional, BTW) to misinterpret the actual relation. 

Now, a little more to ease your angst over this. Even if you are actually second cousins, it is perfectly legal in all 50 States (and as far as we can tell, the whole rest of the world) for you to have whatever relationship you choose, including marrying, if you should ever so choose. At the second cousin level and beyond, genetically, you are as related as any other random stranger, and any such issues would be the same. Historically, near 80% of all marriages have been between cousins at either the first cousin or second cousin level. In some countries, it still approaches that level to this day. It has only been in the last 150 years or so that the rate in the US, and the West as a whole, has dropped dramatically. That being based on faulty science of the mid to late 1800's. Insight into genetics has progressed exponentially since then, as you seem to realize. You are not weird to feel the way you do about him, you aren't the first, and if you stick around here, you will see many others each day who come to have similar feelings.

If you have the inclination, why not test the waters a little? Provided this cousin is of age, which I'll assume he is, why not? We recommend the old tried and true (as we call it) "If you weren't my cousin ...." line. Breaks the ice real well. In your case, I would recommend a slight alteration to it perhaps. You could say something like "You know, it's a little bit odd that we're distant cousins, but I really like you." Something like that. Modify it further to fit your attitude and situation. Why not join, and stick around and let us know how it goes? We'll hold your hand and walk you through as best we can. 

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