• Announcements

    • KC

      Get Smart on the Web   09/16/2016

      Be informed on better ways to stay safe on the web -- Source: Mozilla
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Guest Epot

The biggest mistake of my life?

This topic has had no activity within the past six months. It is recommended that you start a new topic instead of replying to old topics.

9 posts in this topic

My cousin and I have been in love for over 10 years. We're 33 years old now and though we've always talked about having kids and marrying one another, we've never had to seriously face the question for almost a decade now. The problem is that we're no longer able to avoid it due to our age and wanting to finally settle down and start a family. But the embarrassment of admitting this to our friends whom we've kept it a secret from for so long; the fear of having kids with the slightly greater risk of complications;  the anxiety of imagining what our family get-togethers will be like if we finally made it "official" -- everything has completely scared us and we're on the verge of giving up.

And the truth is, it's me, not her, who is truly scared.

She is wiling to take on society, she doesn't care what our family will think, she doesn't care what her old friends will say about her if they found out. And here I am, completely afraid. I'm afraid of dealing with the judgements of others. I'm afraid of old friends finding out about this, whispering about me, and wondering: "What happened to him?" And not understanding what I've been through for these past years. I'm afraid of having to explain my relationship to coworkers if they happen to run into me and a family member on accident. I wonder if it makes me "weak" to want to have a normal life, yet also feel completely defeated that I feel like it can't be with the woman I love. I wonder how others out there got through this? Did you give up and both become better off because of it. Or, most frightening of all, I wonder if I'm making the biggest mistake of my life if I let her go and regret this decision one day many, many years from now.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You are placing way too much emphasis on other people.  Put the emphasis on a wonderful woman who loves you completely and courageously!!!!!

Concentrate on this fact:  You are wonderfully fortunate and blessed by her love. 

If "friends" disapprove - they are NOT friends.  If family has a problem, it is THEIR problem. 

Focus on LOVE not fear.

Do read lots of the stories here.  We have all sides posted.

Do please stick around and keep us informed.  You will always find encouragement and support here.

HUGS

Nat

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously it depends on your situation, but I've been pleasantly surprised how everyone I've discussed the situation with has NOT freaked out. My situation is different from yours in a number of ways (second cousins not first, and there's an age gap as well unlike your situation) but when I was trying to work out whether or not to tell B. about my interest in her I discussed the situation with her older sister E., on the theory that if that goes well then it's probably okay to talk to B. directly about my interest in her. (I.e. if E. suspects that I'm interested in B., B. probably knows already since she obviously has more data on us than E. does.) It was still really, really scary though because I value both those relationships so much. And yet it turned out okay--E. said the second cousins thing makes it a little weird, but she agrees that B. is awesome and that I would treat her really well. Ironically, E.'s concerns about social awkwardness ("whenever anyone asked where you two met you'd have to say, 'At a family reunion'") were mostly assuaged by the fact that the correct answer to that question would not be "at a family reunion," but "at a track meet." Significantly less socially awkward answer, there. Sometimes little things make a difference.

I don't know if that is helpful for you, but if you can walk through the scenarios together maybe you can find ways to dispel the social awkwardness. When in doubt, go for bold. Just tell them what you guys are planning as if it is perfectly normal, and if they're cool with it, cool. If not, make them tell you why they're not cool with it, and then you can decide whether or not to care about someone else not being cool with it. But in many situations (including sneaking into places you're not supposed to be) the key is to take the initiative in acting like you have a perfect right to be where you are, doing what you're doing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the responses so far! I already feel so much stronger about this than I did yesterday.

I admire exactly what you say to focus on -- her courage and her love! I asked her if she worries about the things I worry about. "Of course I do," she replies, "But I love you." And, for her, it's as simple as that. For me, I wish it were that simple! She has been patiently waiting to see if I'll ever get over these hang-ups, ever resolute that I will find my way back to her in the end despite watching me ebb and flow in my commitment to go "all the way" throughout the years. And I DO believe that I will end up back with her because there isn't anyone in the world I could imagine wanting to spend the rest of my life with, let alone go through another 10 years with someone -- figuring out what I truly love about her, figuring out what I don't like, then learning to ultimately love those things too! I have this day dream that if I ever gave up that I would come back years later wondering why I wasted those years thinking things would be better in a "normal" life, ruining our chances of having children together, and maybe coming back together with more baggage and bad memories.

My hang-ups are the future situations that I can't imagine going through and would like thoughts if anyone has been through them:

- We've been living as a genuine couple amongst our co-workers for several years now. We love our relationships with them and wonder if we'll ever be able to invite them to our future children's birthdays knowing the rest of our family will be there and our "secret" may get out. Do we just try to avoid ever inviting co-workers to our home? Or invite only the most trusted and explain the truth rather than having to figure out how to keep it hidden, worrying that it may slip out at any time?

- We have a big family and constantly see extended family. They've known us since we were young. How do we explain to them that we're all of a sudden together, and have been for many years, and, worse yet, in a hurry to finally have kids together?

- How will this affect our future children? Will they ever have to explain this to anyone and deal with the problems we created for them? That is what scares us most. Will they be able to invite their friends over to our house or their birthday party with the chance that their friends (and their friend's parents) may start to figure "it" out?

- By going official, will we be setting a bad example for our nieces and nephews? We wouldn't wish this situation on anyone -- it's just so hard to love someone so much and feel like you can't truly be with them. 

- My college friends, who I see every few months, think I've been single or playing the dating game for the past few years. How do I go from that to all of a sudden married, then explain how that hall happened so quickly? Do I lie (i'm so tired of lying) or do I tell the truth (then go through the exhausting problem of having to explain how it all came together so unexpectedly and how we got here today)?

- The weird thing is, although we haven't made it "official," a lot (though not all) of our family already knows about us and have loved us just as much as they ever have. My fear comes from what I imagine things will be like later when we make it official. Will things change all of a sudden?

- Is that extra 3% of complications serious? Especially at our age?

I would love to learn more about how others got through any of these things if you know where I can find it.

Who gave up? Did time heal those wounds? Was a "normal" life worth it and it was, after all, easy to find love again?

Or, did you regret it?

Who stuck with it and continued to face horrible challenge after challenge? W

here on this site can I find those stories exactly and learn from what others went through?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Epot,

Since you are a guest, you don't have a profile, but if my look-up is right, it is perfectly legal for the two of you to marry there. And, again, if it's right, my God man, you're already in paradise, why in the world wouldn't you? 33? And this has been going on for 10 years now? At the very least join, so you can explain how you've managed to keep this lion in the bag for 10 years. You've been burning through calenders like Grant took Richmond. At 23, I would have told you that you were the perfect age to go for it. I'm telling you now, that if you don't get a move on, you damn straight you'll regret it, and you're 10 years closer, so, NOT so many years from now.

I'm going to fully concur with Nat. If people can't wrap their heads around it, send them here for the facts. If they don't believe the facts here, send them a membership to The Flat Earth Society. If anyone is nasty about it, I have a feeling where you are, (again, if I'm right) you can point to a short pier, and invite them to a long walk off of it.

Stand up for this woman, man. She's been good enough to share your bed, she is certainly good enough to wear your ring. Cowboy up, get some nerve, and stand your ground for her. Let everyone know that it's been going on for 10 years, and it's time to make it official. You say "Have you thought what you do of us for these last 10 years? Well, we're going to be the same people, just realistic and open about it. We want your love, understanding, and blessing, but, just as we've lived without the understanding and blessing perfectly well for the last 10 years, they are NOT required, only desired." You'll find out who are the truth seekers, who really loves you, and who needs to don their flippers and head to the pier.......

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
- We've been living as a genuine couple amongst our co-workers for several years now. We love our relationships with them and wonder if we'll ever be able to invite them to our future children's birthdays knowing the rest of our family will be there and our "secret" may get out. Do we just try to avoid ever inviting co-workers to our home? Or invite only the most trusted and explain the truth rather than having to figure out how to keep it hidden, worrying that it may slip out at any time?

you've been together all these years and your colleagues don't know you're cousins. odds of them finding out are slim! and if they do, they might think it's odd for a day or two, but most of them will shrug it off pretty quickly and decide ya'll are the same couple they've been around for all these years, nothing has really changed. if they don't shrug it off and turn their backs on you, then they're not worth having as friends anyway. but really, there is no reason for them to find out, unless you were to tell them.

  - We have a big family and constantly see extended family. They've known us since we were young. How do we explain to them that we're all of a sudden together, and have been for many years, and, worse yet, in a hurry to finally have kids together?

i'm surprised people in your family don't know or suspect already. likely they do, and just keep their mouths shut because it's no big deal to them. if they don't, and you feel compelled to explain, you tell them this isn't all of a sudden... that you've been together for years, and that you'd appreciate their support. and that if they are critical, tell them you don't need them in your life.

- How will this affect our future children? Will they ever have to explain this to anyone and deal with the problems we created for them? That is what scares us most. Will they be able to invite their friends over to our house or their birthday party with the chance that their friends (and their friend's parents) may start to figure "it" out?

ok, now this one is the best question of all, and i hope you'll read my response and memorize it. HOW it will affect your future children is ENTIRELY up to you and your cousin. if you two don't talk about it openly with your kids, they'll grow up with a sense of shame. if you keep it a secret until they are "old enough to understand" they won't understand. if they find out from someone else, they will feel betrayed by you.

BUT, if you raise them with the knowledge from the very start, always talking openly about it to them, encouraging them to talk about such relationships when they find them in literature or movies, they'll grow up thinking nothing of it. if you raise them to be proud of their heritage, they'll BE proud of their heritage. if you raise them with knowledge of the subject, they'll educate others who criticize them as they grow up.

examples of books that you should keep on your shelves (and movies in your arsenal) include Benjamin Bunny and the Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by beatrix potter (great one you can introduce the subject of cousin marriage to your kids from the time you start reading them bedtime stories) to mansfield park and rose in bloom. as they get older, there is jude the obscure. those are classics in literature. another more modern one, based loosely on the life of the author's grandmother, is good movies include mansfield park, jude (with kate winslet, based on the book jude the obscure) how i live now (it's on netflix currently) and kissing cousins... although the latter are more adult-themed.  how i live now is cindy bonner's right from wrong.

- By going official, will we be setting a bad example for our nieces and nephews? We wouldn't wish this situation on anyone -- it's just so hard to love someone so much and feel like you can't truly be with them. 

to the contrary, you'll be setting a good example for your nieces and nephews. don't worry so much. there are two things you need to understand... teenage cousins OFTEN experiment with each other, because they feel safe. it's not uncommon for first kisses to be with cousins. it doesn't always go beyond making out, but occasionally it does. but you can bet your relationship is not going to CAUSE any of them to hook up.

secondly, for any cousins who might, your relationship will have done two things... paved the way so that they don't face quite as much difficulty with family members, and 2, it will have given them the courage to fight for what they believe in. plus they will have someone they can turn to for advice. you.

- My college friends, who I see every few months, think I've been single or playing the dating game for the past few years. How do I go from that to all of a sudden married, then explain how that hall happened so quickly? Do I lie (i'm so tired of lying) or do I tell the truth (then go through the exhausting problem of having to explain how it all came together so unexpectedly and how we got here today)?

why do either? why not just tell them 'hey, i'm getting married. yeah, me! who knew, right? but i've known her for years, and she's the one". don't make this harder than it has to be. you can tell them about your kinship or not, it's up to you. if they're true friends, they'll brush off the "weirdness" and support the two of you. same as with your colleagues. if they're not true friends, then they never were to begin with

.- The weird thing is, although we haven't made it "official," a lot (though not all) of our family already knows about us and have loved us just as much as they ever have. My fear comes from what I imagine things will be like later when we make it official. Will things change all of a sudden?

no. those who know and don't care are still going to know and not care.

- Is that extra 3% of complications serious? Especially at our age?

you need to study our genetic info pages. first of all, you don't have an extra 3% risk. you have an extra 1 to 2% risk. the BACKGROUND risk for ALL couples, regardless of kinship or lack thereof, is 3%. that includes every kind of genetic disorder. there is only one category of disorder that your children will be at risk for, and that is called the autosomal recessive disorders.... like tay sachs, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, etc. those are the LEAST common of all birth disorders, and the ONLY category which is affected by kinship. your age might increase the risk of chromosomal defects, like down's syndrome, but probably not. you're both still only in your 30s. this becomes a much larger risk as she nears 40.

study our genetic info pages. http://www.cousincouples.com/?page=overview. there are two, so don't miss the link to the second page at the bottom of the first.

I would love to learn more about how others got through any of these things if you know where I can find it.

my daughters were  11 and 12 when mark and i got married. we lived in a small town, and my daughters went to school with the children of people mark and i had grown up with. of course, none of our former classmates really remembered at that time that we had been cousins... my kids asked their questions, we gave them their answers, and then they were fine with it. a year later, we went on national tv (montel williams show) for the first time. my oldest daughter went on, too. word was out, and everybody in our little town knew the truth. as a result of our going public, we discovered that two of the kids my daughters hung out with (and one of my daughters was eventually briefly married to) were the children of first cousins, and that my oldest daughter's best friend was the grandchild of first cousins. we also discovered that the mentally retarded family in the neighborhood that everyone THOUGHT was the result of cousin marriage was NOT, lol. the girls got teased for about five minutes, but because we'd prepared them, they 'educated' their bullies. bullies lose interest when their victims refuse to be victimized. besides, having been on tv kinda made our family instant celebrities in the eyes of the kids peers.

Who gave up? Did time heal those wounds? Was a "normal" life worth it and it was, after all, easy to find love again?

we didn't give up. we'll celebrate our 16th anniversary at the beginning of the year.

Or, did you regret it?

nope.

Who stuck with it and continued to face horrible challenge after challenge?

ME! mark and i faced enormous challenges in our marriage, none of which had anything to do with our kinship and everything to do with just life. we had some very rough years. but we stuck it out and became stronger as a couple because of it.

Where on this site can I find those stories exactly and learn from what others went through?

my profile has a little more of our story on it i think. there's also a board on these forums for people's stories, good or bad.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do I lie (i'm so tired of lying) or do I tell the truth (then go through the exhausting problem of having to explain how it all came together so unexpectedly and how we got here today)?

"You'd worry less about what people thought of you if you knew how seldom they do." I'm with LadyC here, you can probably just tell them that you're getting married and that will be enough. Most people don't really want to hear other people's romance stories anyway, they just ask to be polite.

Secrets and lies are toxic, man. You're going to be so much happier once the air is clear.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
autosomal recessive disorders.... like tay sachs, sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, etc.

This is a total tangent, but Greg Cochran has an interesting theory that Tay-sachs plays a role in the increased intelligence of Ashkenazai Jews. See his essay on "Overclocking the brain" here: http://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/cochran/overclocking.html. I found the debate illuminating.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Listen to Nattana, Hawk, and Lady C!  And take it from one who's been there---and is there right now: if you walk away from the love of your life because she's your cousin, you will indeed regret it the rest of your life.  (This doesn't mean there won't be problems in your life, but it means you'll not have to live with fifty years of regret.)  :cry:

If it will make you feel any better, there is Genetic Counseling.  When my first cousin married our third cousin, they got genetic counseling (Mostly, he  wanted to reassure our Grandmother, who was the only relative to go ballistic!  She settled down after that.); their children were all brilliant.  (Two were star athletes in college and one is a well-known illustrator.)

My profoundest advice is, RUN, DO NOT WALK to a jewelry store and buy this woman a diamond.  Marry her as soon as possible and get busy on those babies!  :grin:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   You have pasted content with formatting.   Remove formatting

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0