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      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

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bearbait

complicated, unrequited love

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Two years ago, my 2nd cousin and I reconnected after 35yrs (we're both late 40s), and we have been best friends ever since. We haven't seen each other since we were 11 (when my family moved)! His mom and my dad were same-age cousin friends and since they both had kids, our families spent a lot of time together before we moved away. We now live in neighboring states but have yet to see each other in person. We text fairly often, very occasionally call or email, and send each other occasional pictures.

About a year ago he started joking about "if only we weren't cousins". I told him that actually, being cousins isn't a problem, except in the eyes of society. So, then he started dropping hints like there was more that he wanted to say, but wouldn't come right out and say it because he thought I wouldn't speak to him anymore if he told me. I finally convinced him that he could be completely honest with me and that I wasn't going anywhere, no matter what he said. Well, he told me he loved me, but didn't just love me, he was in love with me and had been for some time (he later told me that he thinks he's always loved me even when we were kids). Wow, talk about being blown away (and yes, I love him too.) We're crazy about each other (we just "click") and are close, but we both know we can never have a relationship together (or act on our feelings) because we're both married.

We are working on trying to see each other within a few months (with spouses) and can't wait! It will be wonderful but at the same time hard (maybe awkward), given how we feel about each other and knowing we can only ever be best friends. If circumstances were different there is no question we would be together, forever. I know I can't possibly be the only one in this type of situation, and that's why I'm sharing my story here.

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bearbait,

No, you're not the only ones in that situation. Me and my second cousin are in a somewhat similar situation, with a few little differences. We never really knew each other until we were 10 or 11 yrs old, and they moved here. After that, we were very close, practically like siblings for several years. We both moved from being right across the street from each other, and drifted apart in our crowds we ran with, but our friends did overlap to some degree. We still saw each other fairly regularly. We were always each others' favorite cousin from the first time we met, and that has never changed. At 20, we had what we call our "moment" which got very intense, very quickly. She got scared, and I was at least a little nervous about it, so we agreed to walk away from it. At least for us, family would not have been an issue. It was society at large that had her to the "What will people think/say?" mode. Personally, I could have cared less what people thought, but if it bothered her, it was an issue for me. At that time, there was no internet, or site like this, so information was limited to the old wives tales of children with extra fingers and toes and nonsense such as that. So, we backed away from each other in more ways than physically. We let the whole affair be very awkward for 30 years too. In the last couple years, we've reconnected, aired it all out, got over ourselves, and are back to where we were "before." It was not easy getting to this point, but we are determined to not ever be estranged again. I'm married to a good woman, and she has a long term BF. We are agreed that we have no stomach for cheating, so there will be no shenanigans. Much too much water has passed beneath the bridge to go back and test any sort of "What If."

I would encourage you to try to get to the same sort of point with your cousin. (Which, it sound like you are.) We still love each other very much, but are way long in the tooth for any sort of trainwreck in our current relationship, AND respective relationships with our SO's. We had our chance, and didn't go for it. Such is life. After being through two previous divorces, and her being through one, we have no desire to be the cause of each other going through such drama again. We are perfectly content with just being over the "awkward" and being able to enjoy each others' company whenever we get the chance. With our respective work schedules, it is not as often as we would like. We missed many years we could have enjoyed together over "awkward." I will tell you this: had we not waited this long, (we're 50 now) we would have risked a trainwreck that you will be risking if the two of you do not set down and come to an agreement that you won't be having any shenanigans either. You are both married. Never fail to keep that in mind. There is nothing to say you cannot hold a special place in your hearts for each other, but you risk great heartache for multiple parties involved if you act on any of these feelings you two may have. Do keep that in mind as you reconnect.   

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We have almost the same story. You need to read it for yourself. It's too long and has many chapters. Just like you, we reconnected and started being happy just seeing each other once year or  every 3 years. You both have to be strong to fight the sexual temptation. It's not gonna be easy. We're both have faith in God, but we ended up giving in to the temptation. No regrets. It was great but now we're suffering because we're still married. I'm willing to give up my house, cars and my kids just to have her in my life. It's a tough decision that you might end up doing later on. If you're not ready, I'll keep distance, very safe distance. Cheers. You're not alone. Welcome to the club.

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Thanks for responding, both of you! Excellent advice! Yeah, we already realize that if we don't have "supervised" visits at this point, that there will be fireworks and great temptation. Hence the plan for spouses to be present at visits. It doesn't help things that we're both in less than satisfactory relationships at present (working on that though) and the pull to each other is so great. However, we live far enough away from each other (10hrs) and neither one of us has a lot of money to visit very frequently, so that at least will help keep us out of trouble. Hopefully we will get to a point where the attraction factor will die down and we can get to the business of just being best buds without that looming over our heads. I can see that it's going to be difficult though. We do have a very special, close bond. He's very protective of me (and in fact, absolutely can't stand my nickname bearbait, sees nothing funny about it even though i find it hilarious, because of what I do for a living.) It's nice.

 

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I forgot to add that we haven't exchanged inappropriate pictures, messages or anything like that. We have managed to keep things "PG", out of respect for each other as well as our spouses (I'm not that kind of girl, and he's just never asked either). It is the in-person factor that is an issue, and it doesn't even need to be stated to one another. We both just know that would be trouble.

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My cuz is in Asia and I'm in the East coast. We started just like what you guys are planning to do. With our spouse's supervision. Her husband knows our history and he kinda supported us seeing each other. Whatever makes my cuz happy, he supported it. If you're not ready to end your marriage, I would be very cautious about your meeting each other especially that you both crazy for each other.I'm trying to save you pain and suffering.

My cuz and I are suffering now because we can't be together. If you haven't read My story by Pepe, please read it. I shared it 5 years ago for married couples who are in love or still in love with their cuz. I support being with your cuz but you need to get a divorce if you can't work out your marriage. I'm not advocating the D  word but it's gonna be hard once  both you get to close and you're not free to marry each other.  Tust me, been there done that. We're now longing to be with each other but can't. The suffering continues.

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I think I read yours the other day when I was browsing. :)

I've been actively working on my marriage for a while and we want it to work (I really do love my husband, it's a different kind than with my cousin). We are just having one of those typical relationship bumps and it will get better in time. Like Hawk, at this point in our lives, my cousin and I aren't interested in tossing aside what we have with our spouses just so we can be together (been cheated on and through divorce, don't want or need more drama), so we plan on having a different kind of relationship. We know we can never be together. That's just how it is. I'm good with that, and so is he. We've never even discussed being together other than getting together for a visit. We just know we can't risk being alone together right now because of the spark factor. I know if we let things happen, it will be that much harder on us (plus there is the guilt factor), so it's just best not to go there. We really would like to catch up in person though (can only talk so much through text and occasional calls/email), and we want to meet each other's spouses/families.

I do appreciate the warnings and the sharing of your experience! It helps!

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bearbait,

I'm a couple/ three years older than you. Give it a little while with the attitude you have, and time alone won't be a factor either. Like you, we have had our ups and downs with our SO's. Even with that, our "alone/adult beverage/coffee/whatever" time has been purely platonic. We had a nice long discussion one night about where we came from, where we ended up, where we went after that, were we are now, and where we go from here. Through it all, we were both on the same page. Yes, we love each other very much. No, it isn't enough to damage our current relationships over, over water under the bridge. This, even after the, not "what if's" but the "if's" in general. IF I weren't married, and IF she didn't have a long term BF, what about us? Well, the consensus was, yeah, we would probably be together. The consensus also was, it would be as much or more so for the companionship, as anything physical. (Sux getting old,,,,LOL) BUT, that was the extent of questioning the "ifs." The ifs are not an option for us. As I said previously, we had our chance, and didn't take it. Well, we didn't stay with it, let me put it that way.

That is why I have stayed here to preach to our younger members and lurkers. Get your act together. Get on the same page. Keep it on the down low until you are of age and ready. Once you are ready, go for it, don't let ANYBODY stop you, and don't look back. We did not play it that way. We went in innocently enough, and ended up pretty far from it, in a hurry.

That same night we discussed all of this, I showed her the site. I always assumed she would be quite upset that I was here. We came here a couple times over the duration of that conversation. The second time, I showed her this forum, and I said "See where it says 'Hawk'?" and she said "yyyyYYYYYyyyeeeaaahhhh...?" and I said "THAT would be ME." I told her why I stuck around here, and the advice I have became infamous for. She also fully agreed with me on that. I already knew that she would whole-heartedly agree with me on that. I was correct. She got a little misty eyed on me, and nodded her head yes when I told her my standard recommendations on the site here. She also agreed when she saw where I said "Our time came and went, and we have no stomach for cheating." Even though I didn't need it, I asked if she minded if I became a mod here, after I had been asked by another mod if I would be interested. If she had been the least bit uncomfortable with me being so involved, I would have declined. She only said "Is it something you want to do?" I said, "For a couple reasons, yeah." She said "If it's something you want to do, then do it." That's the kind of cousin I have.......  :laugh:

For the time being, be chaperoned by your SO's and family. Even then, as we have at family functions, you will have time to speak candidly. Stay on the same page, and don't do anything I wouldn't do........... :wink:

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Hawk, I really appreciate your advice.  It's sound and sensible. Like you and the others on this thread, my cousin and I backed away from it all when we were in college, and I've never ceased to regret/mourn that.  But we've both been married to other people for many years, and I guess it just took me longer than most folks to recognize that my cousin and I are getting old and nothing magical will ever happen again.  But I've finally accepted that.  I think we've reestablished a good friendship.  We have gotten together with our spouses as "chaperons," and when it's my wife there, things go pretty well (but nothing deep).  When her husband is around, though, it's really bad.  He's very loud, self-centered, and obnoxious; "An ego as big as all outdoors."  I always feel like he's condescending to me; and the two of them constantly argue and talk over each other.  In short, I've never liked him and the years have not improved him; and at least when we're all four together, he seems to bring out the worst in her.  (BTW, my wife and my cousin are good friends, and my wife agrees with my assessment of "The Ego.")

I also am constantly afraid that my eyes will betray me when I'm around my cousin: will the longing and pain still show?

My life is summarized in a six-word autobiography that somebody posted on CC somewhere: "Found true love. Married someone else."

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Hawk, that "don't do anything I wouldn't do" sounds mischievous. haha!

I can see us having those same conversations in the future. I'm personally glad you're on this site because your advice is really helpful. I can't talk to family or friends about this because they wouldn't understand, and they would think we've gone off our rockers.

At this juncture in our relationship, I don't think it would be prudent for my cousin and I to have any candid moments alone even at family functions. Truly. ;D We will definitely have to put 'custody of the eyes' into practice. I'm pretty sure if we don't, we won't be able to keep our eyes off each other, and no one else in the room will exist.

luvher4ever, my cousin's spouse has issues with him talking to me (mine doesn't care that we talk but can be kind of snobbish unless it's his friends/family) so I'm not sure how it will go when we all get together.

As for getting old and nothing magical will ever happen again, I'm not so sure about that. We are late 40s and he just said the other day that we still have a lot of life left in us. Should I be worried?  :wink:

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Hawk, that "don't do anything I wouldn't do" sounds mischievous. haha!

Nope. Just honest. There is a line we've agreed to not cross. We aren't going to, you shouldn't either.

As for getting old and nothing magical will ever happen again, I'm not so sure about that. We are late 40s and he just said the other day that we still have a lot of life left in us. Should I be worried?  :wink:

No, but you would do well to be careful.......very careful. We've seen these situations play out badly, and you are looking that direction now. I'm just trying to tell you to keep it at the looking that direction, and NOT the MOVING that direction. You could find yourself in a poostorm the likes of which you've yet to see in your 40 something years......  If you're still not old enough to control the situation at your ages, then yeah, maybe it wouldn't hurt you to be a little worried. Just trust me when I say if you act on this, you will end up with PLENTY to worry about.

(Sorry it took me a few days to get back to you. I'm on 6/10's for the next 2 to 3 weeks, so I will only be here as time allows.)

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No worries, people get busy. I was mostly joking. :) In reality we both know we can't "go there" and open up that can of worms. It's too bad that we didn't connect when we were much younger and unattached, when we could have done something about it, but that's life! Neither of us wants a poohstorm for sure. I would rather have him in my life platonically than not at all. Once again, thanks for your advice! :)

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This is an update to my original post.

Well, as it turns out my cousin and I did get to meet each other last summer as I passed through his town twice (once, on my way through to another state, and then the return trip back home). As expected, we hit it off. It was as if we had been together all of our lives. It was the happiest either of us could remember being in a very long time. We only had a couple days together on either end of my trip (and not completely alone) but they were wonderful. We had a blast! I went back home and we went on about our lives, keeping in touch and wishing we didn't live so far apart. A week ago he told me he was planning a trip to come visit me soon, after he had enough money.

Sadly, that would be our last conversation ever, as he died that same evening in a terrible accident. I thank God that we happened to be online at the same time earlier that day and we didn't miss each other as we sometimes had, and were able to tell each other we loved each other. I am completely devastated and will never be the same. I will be feeling the pain of this my whole life and will love him til the day I die. I feel like part of me died with him that day. :( I'm just thankful for the time that we did have and will cherish it.

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bearbait,

I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. I know if anything were to happen to either of us, the other would be devastated as well. She travels a LOT for her work now, and some of the places she is sent are,( how can I put this nicely?) less than totally civilized. Dangerous actually, especially for a single woman. I worry about her. She worries about me. I do various types of work, none of which are particularly safe. The trades I'm into all make the fatalities lists every year. I try to advise her on how to handle herself in rough neighborhoods, and she advises me to follow all the safety rules. Even with all of that, unfortunately, as you have seen, accidents happen. All of us here of any age have lost loved ones, several, (you now included) that "special" cousin. We pick up the pieces because that is all we can do. Life does go on. We hold our memories in a special place, until the day we join those who have passed before us. I hope you find comfort knowing that at this parting, you both knew how special the other was to the you. Some never get to say it...

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Oh, my goodness, I am so sorry for your loss.  I just read your thread.  I started at the top and, along the way, got excited to share my story and insight with you.  Then I came to your update from today, and I just want to let you know that even though I have no idea who you are on this earth, I'm touched by your story, and you're in my thoughts. 

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Thank you both so much. I get signs from him all the time that he's around. Or at least I would like to think that's what they are. I find it comforting to think he is watching over me. He was a great person. I just still can't believe he's gone. :( I'm in a dangerous line of work and he was always telling me to be careful because he didn't want to have to kill anyone if anything ever happened to me. I always gave him crap for not taking his own advice and driving fast etc. It was weird, the night he died, I had this bizarre feeling that something wasn't right. Our souls were connected then and they will always be connected. I miss him so much. I know he would want me to go on about life and be happy so that's what I'm trying to do. I just wish he were still here to share it.

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Oh, I am crying for you right now.  I'm sure he does send you signs, and he probably thought of you in his last moments.  I'm sure he's watching you from whatever dimension he may be in.  I don't know what kind of music you like, but you should check out the lyrics to Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey. It's about being in love with someone who has passed away.

I will always remember your story.

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Bearbait,

I've been away from this board for several months and just now found your shocking news.  I am so sorry to learn of your loss.  It's only been a couple of months now and I know you're still reeling from this, and my heart breaks for you.  It is so wonderful that you "talked" with him on the day of his death.  You have the satisfaction of knowing that your love was mutual, and can take added comfort that you did nothing dishonorable or sinful but honored your commitments.  May God give you comfort and peace.

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Wow! Bearbait, I'm shocked to read your update. So sorry to hear about your cousin. I was browsing on the Our Love stories and happened to see your update. It's been about a year since my last post.  I can't imagine how you felt when you heard the news.

Same thing for me, I was reminding my cousin about traveling 6 years ago. Her husband didn't care about her driving around late at night in a dangerous places. Thank God she finally stopped stop travelling now after she realized that she was liked a workhorse and not a wife to her husband. Thank God you had a chance to see each other before he died. Wow, life is really short.

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Thanks everyone for your kind and thoughtful words! It's very much appreciated!

It's been over 3mos now and it is still very painful, but it gets a little easier every day. At least the crying jags aren't all day every day anymore and I can go longer periods of time without breaking down over it. I've finally stopped thinking I need to tell him this or that every time something comes up. The reality (finality) of it all is finally sinking in. I just feel so lost without him and miss him so much. SO MUCH!!! I try to stay busy but he is on my mind, all the time, even in death. And of course, I can't really tell anyone how deeply this affects me, or why. They just wouldn't understand. I'm glad I can come here and talk about it. It helps!

His girlfriend of 25+ yrs (basically wife) gave me some of his things, which are very special to me. It helps having a part of him with me.

Life goes on, but still I wish he were here...

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I know that it will take sometime. Please thank God for giving you the opportunity to love your cousin every time you miss him. It's a special love. I'll praying for you. Really sad too hear this...

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How can that be! The Lord let you see what true love was and took it away so fast!  That was the worst thing that could happen to this story!  I'm so sorry.  Please find comfort that you will always have listeners in this forum and we share your feelings.  I can't imagine how devastating this must be for you.

People say this during the funerals and such "The Lord giveth and taketh away."  We must accept what life brings to us as it was God's plan.  That means the good and bad things because life is a gift from God, he takes it away according to his own plan. 

Thank you so much for sharing this story with a lot of us.  What a touching story, I will also remember this story forever.

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