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In love w/ 2nd Cousin. Possible Pregnancy?

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Okay. Before I start, I'd like to say I'm pretty sure of myself and how I feel. So, My second cousin and I have been in a relationship for some time now. No one knows about it. We recently had sex and now we're worried because we think I'm pregnant. Here's the stitch... I'm 15. He's 22. And before you go about the statutory rape speeches or say he took advantage of me, I know how he feels and I know how I feel. He didn't take advantage of me and I asked him (to do "it"). The way we feel about cousin relationships is how i feel about age of consent. I may be 15 but Im not dumb by a long shot. I know how to make decisons and i understand more than you think. The age of consent is 16 in my state, so I know It doesn't really matter if I asked him or not. But anyways, I don't want him to go to prison, he doesn't deserve it. And how should I go about this possible pregnancy. Our family will look down us pretty bad and make a huge deal out of it. What should we do? Abortion is not an option. Is there anyway he wouldn't go to jail?

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Hi, sfawesome5, and welcome to the site.  I guess I'll just say this:  if you are in fact pregnant, the two of you have got yourselves into quite a tough situation... but I see you already kind of understand that.

Here's the deal: 

I'm not such a big fan of "age of consent" laws as they currently exist because I think they're horribly flawed.  On one hand, we tell 14 and 15-year-old young adults that we know you're going to have sex anyway so let's educate you enough to know how not to get pregnant or diseased from it.  On the other hand, we create laws that say no one can have sex with a person under 16 (or some other arbitrary age, depending on the state).  Sometimes we go far enough to say you can but only with a person within a certain age range, as if somehow there's a fundamental difference between 16-year-old genitals and 45-year-old genitals.  Functionally, it's essentially no different.  What's more, it's a relatively recent development in human history that we would prohibit a 14 or 15-year-old girl from getting married and having children (mostly in the last 100-150 years).  Physically, and in some respects, mentally, you're fully prepared.

So why do we have those laws?  We have those laws in place to reduce the likelihood of someone much older taking advantage of your relative youth an inexperience - a huge wisdom gap.  In the case of a 22-year-old male and 15-year-old female, the "wisdom gap" these days is extremely slight.  In fact, I'd dare say that the average 15-year-old girl is every bit as mature as the average 22-year-old male (not saying you're ready for the "real world"; just saying he probably isn't either).

In the end, it doesn't matter what you or I think of those particular laws.  They are there and there's nothing you, I, or your cousin can do about them.  If, being fully aware of the law, we choose to violate it anyway, we *must* be prepared to suffer the full weight of the law's consequences.  If that means a torqued off relative turns him in to the police, he gets arrested, and ends up doing 3 to 10 (years) in the state pokey, that's the bed you've made (pun intended).  These are the adult consequences to adult decision-making.

You say you're not dumb, so hopefully you're smart enough to understand that you get to make choices but those choices have outcomes that you can't control.  You've made a choice to have sex.  One general outcome is pregnancy.  You've made a choice to have sex with a man who is 22 and he likewise made a choice to have sex with a young woman of only 15.  One general outcome is prison for him and raising a child with your parents for you.  You've made a choice to have sex with your second cousin and he with you; one general outcome in most families is to be outcast and looked at in ways that are demeaning (fair or unfair, the outcome is there and just because it shouldn't be that way doesn't mean it won't be - life is not fair and never will be).

I applaud you for saying "Abortion is not an option."  It gives you direction and sticking to your guns on this will be a decisive point you'll never regret (going the other way is loaded with regret, as I sense you may well know).

Okay, now that the lecture is over, let me give you some practical advice, which is what you really wanted:

1) Get a pregnancy test.  If it's even a shade positive, you're pregnant.

2a) If you're not pregnant, have a serious talk with your cousin about the real world consequences of continuing a romantic relationship with him.  Discuss with him what I mentioned above.  If you want to continue to play with fire, you both have that choice, but remember what I said about outcomes - you don't get to control those.

2b) If you're pregnant, prepare to tell Mom & Dad.  That's a whole other thing and we can talk more about that if that turns out to be the case.

3) In either case, if the law finds out your 2nd cousin is the dad (more correctly, if the law finds out he's had sex with you), be prepared for the worst possible outcome.  That doesn't mean that will happen.  It is possible that he can avoid jail and end up with probation, community service, whatever, but it's equally possible and likely that he'll be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.  Fair?  Doesn't matter whether it is or not - it's a consequence of an action he took willingly, knowing the possible outcomes.

4) Be prepared for your parents to tell you (or the law for that matter) that your love affair is over... at least until you turn 18.  Until that time, you may be a woman in the physical sense but not in the legal sense.  You'll likely have all communications (cell phone, Internet, etc.) monitored by your parents (and him by the law) to prevent you from continuing.  Again, fair or not from your perspective doesn't matter; it's a normal consequence of these actions.

I know it's not what you want to hear.  If you'd waited until you were 18, this conversation would be very different.  More importantly, just because you "asked him to do it" doesn't mean he had to say "yes".  If he'd opted to go the legal route, he wouldn't be looking down a 3 to 10 year prison stint an lifelong registration as a sex offender.  This was his choice, not yours, and he made it.  His consequences he shall own.

Sorry to be the harbinger of bad tidings here but don't want to give you false hope where it shouldn't exist.  Pray for good fortune with the pregnancy test and be much more careful in the future and you can possibly have a very happy outcome.

Best wishes,


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