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Married, 25 years old with two kids and having an affair with my 2nd cousin! Any advice?

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Question - (18 April 2007) 4 Answers - (Newest, 19 April 2007)
A female United Kingdom age 36-40, anonymous writes:

im a 25yr old with two kids. i have been with my partner for 5yrs, the thing is ive been having a affair for a year now with my second cousin. we both wanna be together im thinking of moving to be with him, my partner drinks alot and dont care about the kids pls help this is doing my head in..........

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A female reader, DrPsych United Kingdom +, writes (19 April 2007):

DrPsych agony auntAs you will be aware, relationships between cousins is ok in law in the UK but not medically recommended (family genes). It also makes things very tricky if you come from a close family as if you split up you still have to see each other. These things apart, you are married with children. If you are unhappy in your marriage, leave or get counselling. Having an affair behind your husband's back is just unnecessary complication. If you leave him and as a separated woman have a relationship with your cousin then it will be easier on everyone concerned. You can then work out if you really want to be with him or if he is just a distraction in a failing marriage.

If you decide to stay with your husband, ditch the cousin and focus on mending your relationship. If you don't sort it out for yourself, think of the mess you are dragging your children into. If you do pursue a relationship with the cousin then you need to find yourself some independent housing away from husband and cousin. At least that way if things don't work out your kids are not uprooted twice.

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A male reader, Dr. Mark Canada +, writes (19 April 2007):

Taboos about cousins getting married are cultural. It is legal in Canada and the UK, although it is not extremely common. In the United States, laws vary from state to state, but in the majority of states, it is legal. For a summary listing of USA state laws, see: From what I understand, cousin marriage is very common in some Islamic countries.

Apparently the Roman Catholic Church used to prohibit second cousins, but from what I understand, they do not any longer, but still have prohibitions on first cousins. This is actually odd, because the Biblical character Isaac married his first cousin once removed, and there are no Biblical incest laws that prohibit cousin marriage. Isaac's son Jacob also married his first cousin.

As far as genetic problems go, first, not all marriages or sexual unions result in the birth of children. If there is no possibility of children, then there is no possibility of birth defects. Secondly, there would only be a problem if both parents already carry genes that can cause birth defect, or increase the risk of certain diseases. As the anonymous writer pointed out, genetic counseling can be available to determine ahead of time if a problem will be likely. Having said this, genetic problems among cousins is not as common as many people believe them to be. Note that according to Robin L. Bennett, a genetic counselor at the University of Washington and the president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors there is only an increased risk of 1.7% to 2.8% of cousins producing birth defects over non-cousins. Mind you, if it went on for several generations, the risk could increase, but multi-generational cousin marriage is unlikely to happen in today's western world. This slight increase is about the same as 40 year old women having children, but no one is ready to make it illegal for 40 year old women to marry or have sex!

Some people just think of it as simply repulsive to them. But they likely have in their mind a picture of one of their own cousins, with whom they could never ever imagine themselves to be attracted to. Those people should not project their thoughts or likes/dislikes onto others, and make their thoughts requirements for others to follow.

I hope this helps!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (19 April 2007):

What rhythmandblues2 is saying is not quiet true, maybe in the states it is, but in the UK a relationship with your cousin first or second is legal and you can get married, I know, I have been married to my first cousin now for 29 years, about birth defects, well if you do want a family with him have some genetic counselling, cousins can and do have healthy children, so my advice to you if you feel that it is right and you do really love each other then go for it and sod what other people may think, you don't have to tell strangers about being related to each other after all do you.

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A reader, anonymous, writes (19 April 2007):

Second cousins are too closely related genetically to have children together due to possibility of birth defects and is one of the reasons that it is socially taboo to date someone so closely related to you.

The answer is not to move in with your cousin. If your current partner drinks too much and is abusive to you and the kids, you need to pack up and move out on your own, not look for another man to take care of you.

Seriously, it is inappropriate on so many levels what you and your cousin are doing.

Think about your kids, and how they will be affected by this and how confused they will be if you replace one man for another so quickly....they deserve better, they get attached too, and need stability in their lives, and bouncing from one man to another is very detrimental to their well being.

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