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Italy21

Need advice/shared experiences! Please

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Need help/advice! Here's my story: My mom and dad split up before I was born, so I never really saw much of my dad or his side of the family growing up. When I was about 17, my dad wanted me to be apart of their family so we made amends and I started building relationships with all my aunts, uncles, and cousins on his side of the family. They have a large Italian family with many cousins all around my age. I became very close to all my cousins-- all in a completely platonic way, except for one. Let's call him G. There had always been some sort of different feeling between G and I, but never did we act on it or think that much into it at the time. Right now I am 28 and G is 30.

About 3 years ago, I was in a long term relationship that hadn't been working out for quite some time, and we were on the verge of parting ways. I was going out a lot with all my friends and family.. Bars, nightclubs, casinos, etc. G and I live in the same development so we'd always drive to and from together.. And a lot of late nights I'd end up staying over his house, and sleeping in his bed. This went on for about a year but never did we act on anything; we kept our distance in bed, but yet he'd always want me to stay over.

I finally officially cut it off with my long term boyfriend at the time, and about a week or so later G and I were just sleeping in the same bed together and he made the first move. As much as I had secretly been hoping for this to happen, I was still in shock and confused. Why is this happening/why do I feel this way..etc. As time went on we became more and more intimate, only having sex with each other, going on vacations, becoming part of each other's daily life-- cooking dinner, seeing each other everyday or at least checking in with how our days were going. We were in a full fledged relationship, and no one knew. Initially when we started hooking up, it was under the pretense that eventually we'd "have to stop". So we kept it a secret.

As time went on we fell more and more in love with each other, and I became much more comfortable and secure with the situation.. I became willing to sacrifice the social taboo and ridicule we may face.

This past September-December has been the best few months we've ever spent together. I felt our love grow immensely. G is very introverted and has a tough time expressing his feelings, but he started to show love for me in a way he never had. We grew so close and so attached. I have a very difficult time explaining our love and how we feel about each other, because to me, words just don't even do it justice. It is a stronger, more connected, love than I've ever experienced, or ever will.

So here lies the problem I'm now facing: After almost 2 years of being together, and the last 5 months being incredible-- sexually and emotionally.. G has been struggling with the secret we're keeping. He loves me, wants to be with me, but can't face the social awkwardness and rejection of coming out to our family and friends. So as much as he doesn't want this to end, he is feeling intense pressure and can't deal with his conscience. He feels like why should we continue to hurt ourselves with this secret and have it get even deeper than it already is, if we can't be together in the end.

But WHY can't we be together?

G says it will be better in the long run if we try and get over this, we will be able to live "normal" lives. SLIGHT TWIST: G's parents are also cousins. His mom came over from Italy, where it is much more common to marry within your family, and married my dad's brother. G's dad died of cancer when he was in high school, and greatly affected him. He was very open and fun loving as a kid and now he has become very quiet and introverted. Afraid to love and let his guard down, in fear of being hurt.

This whole time I thought/expected him to have an easier time with this situation than me. But because of the shame he felt as a kid, and secret he had to keep about his parents, it is weighing on him much more than me now.

G's parents had such a beautiful and loving relationship, that I honestly think our family would accept us and be okay with it. A lot of them already act like were together, by always asking me about him, or him about me; we always arrive and leave together for family holidays, etc. He says it "wouldn't be a good look if people found out". He still carries all that shame with him from his parents.

For the past month he's tried to cut off intimacy, but still checks up on me everyday, wants to cuddle with me, etc. It's just not something I want to give up in my life. I love him more than I ever thought I could love another person. It is even harder for me now since we started to become the closest we ever were and everything was absolutely amazing, and then he got scared and started to push me away. But he's still holding on.

I don't know where to go from here. I was hoping to get some advice from anyone in a similar situation. I didn't really start researching about cousin couples until this started coming to an end, and it seems like it is much more common than I expected. I would love to hear stories from anyone, how you've dealt with this situation, or over came being fearful of coming out, how it actually was when you did come out, how you've helped your partner through it, etc.

-B

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so my question is why had he always felt ashamed of his parents? did they treat it as something shameful? did they encourage the secrecy?

and this is exactly why i think keeping secrets is a stupid mistakes. telling the children and treating it as a non-issue should eliminate these feelings of shame.  i honestly don't know what to say about this situation. he needs to get over it. he needs to stop feeling ashamed of his own heritage, and he needs to stop feeling ashamed of his feelings.

and if he won't, then you're going to have to deal with the heartache.

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I don't know if the parents treated it as shameful when he was growing up? But I definitely think there was the rule that they should not tell anybody. He just felt embarrassed and shameful growing up just knowing that his parents were cousins and it's a societal taboo. He won't talk much about it.

How do I make him realize it's not as bad as it seems and what we both want in our heart is not to cut this off?

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Italy21,

The best I can offer you, is to get him to come here, and learn the facts. Fear is based on a lack of knowledge. Knowledge is power, and at 30, he can use a good dose. I have a feeling that the family already knows a lot more than you've told them. If there is going to be major drama, especially with it being a large Italian family, I have a feeling you would have had a good amount of it already.

I always tell our members that initially, the sneaking around and hiding can be quite exciting. However, as the two of you are finding out, eventually, usually, it becomes drudgery. If I were him, being 30, and just starting to realize nobody is getting any younger here, I would certainly go for what makes ME happy. To ones' self be true, and all of that. If he is not willing to stand up for what he wants and what makes him happy, he is not being true to himself. And, if it were me, I wouldn't "come out" to anyone. I would continue the relationship, only don't hide anything. Let them think whatever they will. It isn't really "coming out" unless you two make a production out of it. I wouldn't. If people ask, just don't deny it. Family, (IMHO) mothers in particular, are the only ones who's opinion I would be concerned about. And that, only to the extent their concern for my well being and happiness is foremost and rational. Other than that, I would say go for it, and everybody else can get over it. If his mothers' relationship was such and similar to yours, I would put good $$$ on her being a strong advocate for you two, and of who's advocacy I would take full advantage. While she may have discouraged open talk of it, to avoid drama over the stigma here, I can assure you, she knows where you are. She wants her son to be happy. She wants her son to be loved, as she loved his father. Perhaps you should ask to speak with her confidentially. If she will, lay it on the line with her. Tell her you truly believe you feel for him what she felt for his father. If she can be (or already is, without you realizing it) on board with it, perhaps she will set down with the two of you and let you in on the intricacies you will be facing. I would hope she could explain to her son the type of deep loving relationship her and his father had, maybe to an extent he didn't already know. I would also hope that this could aid in him finally coming to terms with the loss of his father at such an impressionable age. If he were to hear from his mother that his father would have given his blessing to your relationship, hopefully that too would help him come around.

If you can get him here, I would be more than willing to have a go at him, and help alleviate his angst to the best of my ability. 

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Hawk,

Thank you for your helpful response. Do you run this site? When you say "come here" do you mean physically-- like is there a counseling office or something? Or you just mean this site? What is your story? I'd love to hear.

The sneaking around at first was yes thrilling but now since he is having such a hard time with it, enough to make him stop being intimate in fear of people finding out-- it has went from absolute bliss to gut wrenching torture.

I like your idea of not "coming out" and not making a spectacle of it. I wish he would just follow his heart and stop being so self conscious of what others think and the standard he feels pressured to live up to.

I would love to talk with his mom about it. But I couldn't do it behind his back obviously, and at this point he's so wrapped up in people not finding out, that would be the last thing he'd want right now I think. However, I don't think people are stupid.. And they probably already have an inkling.

With this relationship, I think it is stronger and deeper than the average. It's such a genuine, unconditional love, I can't even explain. I always put him first, because I want to. I make sure he has the best of everything and is more than well taken care of.

I can tell his mother still struggles with the loss of his father.. And so does he. He once told me that it's hard for him to open up and the people that are closest to him, he tries to hide from the most. He once said something that just kills me, I can't get it out of my head. He said that before his father died he was this open and outgoing person, and now he builds these walls and even STOPS himself from smiling or laughing a lot of the time. That is the most heart breaking thing coming from someone you really love. All I want is him to be happy and for him to even hold back from laughing is terrible. I guess that's a whole other can of worms.

One time when we were out.. I felt his father come to me and try to intercede through a lady we met while we were out. I could feel him and knew he was trying to get through to us. G didn't believe it, he just thought the lady was crazy..but then the same night his mother told me she had a dream about his father.. So I know it was true. I could FEEL it. And the things the lady was saying.. Felt like he'd give his blessing. Just by knowing what's in my heart for him.

I just don't want to pressure him, or disrespect his wishes to stop the intimacy. But at the same time it's killing me. He starts making me think that us actually being able to be together is "irrational" and will never work because we won't be looked set as normal anymore. I really don't know what my plan for this situation should be.

Thanks for listening,

--B

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Italy21,

I don't run this site, just my mouth on here, LOL. And no, not physically come "here", as "here" is in cyber. We are all from all sorts of places. Literally, from here to India. As a mod, I can have a little look and see where everyone is. I don't pay attention to actual street addresses or anything, as my look-up isn't that good, and it only shows the hub your server is on, and not your physical address anyhow. It gets me in the right State, unless it is any of a variety of wireless servers which all hub in a field outside Wichita KS. (Don't ask me, that's just where it shows about 15-20% of our U.S. members are, even if they are in California or wherever.) Anyhow, the State is all that matters, as the varying laws are all State laws, for the whole of each State. I did take the liberty of a little peek at which State you are in. As you didn't mention it, I didn't either. But, you're fine. It's legal where you are to marry your cousin. I don't know if your cousin realizes this, but, you may as well tell him. It can't hurt, and may even begin to ease his mind a little.

I WAS suggesting you get him online with you on this site. My story goes a long way to why I'm here, AND why I would have a go at him. I'm an old fart. I'm not with my cousin, nor will I ever be. For the same reasons he is struggling with, mine got nervous, and we walked away from it. Doing the math, a couple years before your cousin was born, me and mine had what we call "our moment". We hooked up, and ran pretty hard for a couple weeks. Things got very intense, very quickly. She got nervous, for all the same reasons yours is, and, not wanting to pressure her, we backed off. We let the whole affair be overly awkward for some 30 years. In the last 3 years or so, we've aired it all out, and are back to where we were "before". We both have SO's, no stomach for cheating with each other, and will not be repeating our shenanigans of 30 some years ago. The hangovers hurt a lot more than they did back then, and we're too old for the drama. The drama would be the trainwrecks of our current relationships. Family wouldn't have much, if anything to say. Our Mom's wouldn't mind, and they would be the only ones we would be concerned about in the family anyhow. But, even still, at this late date, she would be awful nervous about what our friends would think. I on the other hand, could care less. I know I have friends who are so close, they wouldn't have any problem with it. If others did, well, I suppose it would just thin the herd. Wouldn't bother me. I have plenty of friends.

I was always a "loner"/"to myself"/ not overly emotional person too. Cuz is even more so. She is a very private person, and has always bent over backwards to make sure people thought highly of her, and tries to please everyone. To her own detriment in many cases. It's worked. Everyone always says how nice of a person she is. Since we've reconnected, I'm proud to say, I've gotten her to be considerably more assertive. At least professionally, and it has spilled over into her interpersonal relationships. I'm very proud of her, and where she is in her life right now.

With all that happened, what could have happened, and didn't, and happened since, I would surly like to have a little chat with your Cuz. I think I could put a little assertiveness under his wings too.....

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Hawk I will definitely try to get him on here to talk to you. It's hard to just try and get over this relationship especially after 2 years.

What will you say to him/advice?

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B,

I would tell him

"Good gracious brother, you're 30 years old. You ain't getting any younger. Put your big boy britches on, and get on with being happy. The facts are here on this site. Copy them and pass them around. The facts are the facts. Those who are convinced when they see the facts are the people who matter. You call BS on anyone who argues with the facts, because that's what their drama is, BS, pure and simple. You are happy with this woman, she is committed to you, and willing to face what is to come with you. Who else do you know who will do that? The ones who would abandon you over your happiness? Don't count on it, because if you are afraid they will turn their back on you at these first hints of something they don't agree with going on, how tight will they hang with you when you're openly eyeballs deep? You don't have to make a big production out of it, but when asked, admit you two are happy and going to be together. Hand them a copy of the facts. Prove to them it isn't some sort of backwoods redneck thing to do, as it is perfectly legal to get married where you are, and the State isn't exactly considered redneck by any stretch. And, actually most of the States it is generally thought of as common ARE backwoods, and DON'T allow it. Family WILL get over it, the ones who truly love you and want you to be happy, when they see you ARE happy. Friends WILL get over it, the ones who matter anyhow, and who also can see the facts and be happy for you. The others will show the true strength of your friendship, and yeah, it MAY thin the herd a little. Are you really hurting for friends that bad, that you would sacrifice your happiness because they MIGHT have a problem with it? In reality, I seriously doubt you'll be loosing many friends. There may be some drama, but it WILL pass. You remind them you are 30, and have decided to be happy. You are 30, it is legal. It's all good, and you're going to roll with it. They need to get over it, because if they don't, they'll be under it, 'cause this trian is leaving the station. 

Have a long set-down with your mother. A serious set-down with your mother. Ask for her to be completely honest with you, and explain just how happy her and your father were. Ask her how hiding/being discrete may have affected them, and if there is anything they would have done differently. Kids CAN be cruel, so, if you were to have any, there would be no need to have them broadcasting the fact, but it isn't something to be ashamed of either. It actually makes them unique. Look at you. You are who you are, and the fact that your parents were cousins hasn't made you any less of a person. Only you can do that to yourself, if you let other's opinions of you sway you. I have a feeling your mother will tell you it may not be for everyone, but for those who it is, it's the most rewarding relationship you could ask for. Pay close attention when she tells you that. It will be the voice of experience...."

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Hawk,

I don't think were even anywhere close to talking about marriage and that step. I don't know if that would scare him even more or what. Don't even want to bring that up right now.

But def wish his conscience wouldn't bother him and he'd just accept our love for each other. It's been a terrible month for me just feeling like he is totally pushing away what was so unbelievably strong.

Do you have an email you could privately  message me?

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Italy21,

We have private messaging here on the site, and that would probably be the best way to message me. I check in here considerably more often than I check my actual e-mail.

I wouldn't bring up the marriage facts because you are anywhere near that point. I would bring it up because it is an option in the future, should things happen to go to that point. I wasn't suggesting you bring it up, it's just what I would tell him. Guy Code stuff. If you say it, it seems to imply one thing. If I say it in the context it would be in, it would mean something else. Like "Go for it if you want to, 'cause JL (johnny law) don't care if you do" kinda thing.

Me and mine are second cousins, but, she had several of the common misconceptions about cousin couples. Back when we had our "moment", there was no internet as such. Facts were out there I suppose, but there was certainly no Google to click and have instant access to them. With no information to the contrary, she assumed we couldn't get married. (Second cousins can marry everywhere we know of here, including all 50 States) She assumed since our mothers are first cousins, that we were third cousins. (Didn't get the old "once removed" thing) She assumed we wouldn't have been able to safely have kids. (The old "two heads, 12 fingers and toes" crap)

I think if the facts would have been readily available, where I could have shown her, or she could have easily looked it up, things would have been considerably different. She would have still been nervous about what friends would have said. But, if we would have been together when things were said, one of two things would have happened. One, they would not have said them where I could hear it, or two, they would have gotten an education. If they would have been said when I wasn't there, and had found out about it, there would have been some education on facts AND etiquette.... :wink:

I just hate to see him go through the same thing, in his head, when he doesn't have to.

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