I have a huge crush on my cousin. Now, before you start thinking I’m some backwoods, incestuous redneck, you should know that we’re not related by blood. He’s my cousin only by marriage. My aunt remarried a few years ago, and her new husband has a very attractive son.
There was immediate chemistry the moment we met, and I’m certain he’s into me as well. But like me, I believe he’s hesitant to act on his feelings since we’re technically family. I’m worried about what my mother and aunt would think, and not to mention my friends … who would certainly tease me no end.
Should I act on my feelings and pursue my cousin? Or should I attempt to suppress my feelings and seek love elsewhere?
— Keeping It in the Family
You do sound like a “backwoods, incestuous redneck” when you start a letter with “I have a huge crush on my cousin.” Perhaps you should break this sort of information to people a little more gently, so they don't start instantly picturing your deformed future children. Perhaps you should also stop thinking of this man as your cousin, even if that’s technically the truth.
If you two fall in love, then go for it. You certainly didn’t ask your aunt to marry his dad. It just happened, and maybe the stars aligned in that way so that you two could meet.
Remember the 1990s movie Clueless (rest in peace, Brittany Murphy!)? Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and Josh (Paul Rudd) are step-siblings by marriage, but they fall in love at the movie’s end (sorry for the spoiler alert, but if you haven’t seen Clueless by now, you are clueless). If falling for your non-blood-related relative is good enough for Cher, then by golly, it should be good enough for anyone.
As I mentioned, the key here will be easing people into this information. Don’t immediately tell your friends that he’s your cousin. Let them meet the guy first, and don’t break the news until they really get to know him.
As for your family, that may be a bigger hurdle. But then again, they may understand that since the two of you wouldn’t have been related before your aunt’s new marriage, it’s not the same as dating a blood relative. If they do have a problem, they’ll likely get over it with time.
Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at firstname.lastname@example.org.