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like a moth to the flame

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We're the same age, born within weeks of each other, in our early 30's.  We're second cousins once removed, I think.  My great grandparents are his great-great grandparents.  We have a large extended family but we were...close...closer than with the rest of the cousins by far.  Partly, I think because our parents were age-mates too and had a good friendship so when we were younger we saw each other pretty frequently. 

As teens we saw each other mostly at family reunions but we lived close enough to have mutual friends and definitely close enough to decide to see each other and manage it even though neither of us had a car.  There was some...uh...fooling around before mom noticed something, I was never sure what, and threatened to put a leash on me to keep me from sneaking off alone with him.  At first, I blamed those early encounters on hormones and accessibility; cousins are often seen as harmless when boyfriends are given more supervision, right?  I told myself it was just a phase.

I moved out.  He moved out.  I at least, stopped attending the family reunions.  Plenty of time apart.  And then one of my friends mentioned this guy she was dating and well...small world.  We double dated but the fizz of attraction between us was still very much there.  I wondered if they noticed but no one ever said anything. 

Another year or two without seeing him and he's at the oil change place when I took my car in.  New job for him, I guess because it was the place I always used.  Laughing, joking.  We slide right back into the old routines.  We've known each other our whole lives.  Too many drinks one night and a far too hot kiss but then joking, "I'd take you home if you weren't my cousin."  "You have to come home with me anyway.  You agreed to sleep on my couch and not drive home."  He did come home with me and didn't sleep on the couch, but we were more passed out and cuddling than anything else.

The pattern repeated a few more times but you get the idea.  The last time I saw him was just before I wandered south for the winter; my bosses agreed to let me transfer my job to a satellite office in a warm climate state for the winter for medical reasons.  I can't stop thinking about him.  I want it to get warm so I can transfer back north to see him again.  I'll probably fly up for Christmas regardless of the weather.  And I keep wondering, could we make it work?  Or would the intensity fade if we tried?  Am I crazy? 

Legally, the degree of cousin-ness isn't a problem.  Medically, I have a nasty autosomal dominant genetic disorder; he refuses to get tested, though his father has it so his chances are 50/50 and there's no telling when symptoms will actually present if he has it (my mom was fine until she was almost 40 but went downhill fast; his grandmother dropped dead at 35; his dad had some surgeries in his late 30's and is doing great).  I have a tubal ligation anyway so it's a moot point; I decided early to opt out of reproduction.  From a practical life standpoint though...I don't want to lose what we have in a chance for more, even if he would be willing to go farther and/or try for something more serious.  And I'm not even sure how to present the idea to him.  I'm sure I could lure him in to bed but that's not really all I want.

Advice?  Thoughts? 

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Your story sounds very similar to mine.  We were attracted to each other for YEARS before we finally decided that this whole song and dance between us was silly and we needed to be together.  Don't wait 30 years like I did, to find out if you and your cuz have something sustainable.  And by all means, stop having drunken encounters.  If you are serious about this man, then make a serious move toward him!

Be forthright with him: 

"Is it just me, or do you feel the chemistry between us?"

"OK, we've toyed around with a physical relationship, but I'd like more.  What do you think?"

"I know we are cousins, but it seems to me that there could be the makings of a relationship between us."

"No more kissing and cuddling until we figure out what's going on between us"

You are ignoring the elephant in the room, it seems. 

What is the degree of your cousin-ness?

The more you ignore what's going on between you two, the more frustrated you are going to get.  You are both grown up, 30-somethings, treat this like you would any other potential relationship.  When you really get down to the bare bones, a relationship with your cousin is not different than any other relationship. 

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