cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-08-02 06:54 am
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Dear Abby:Wife Decries Kissing Cousin's Return to Family Gatherings

DEAR ABBY: When my husband and I were dating, he told me that he'd had a consensual sexual relationship with his cousin, "Irma." He said they were in their early 20s and very immature. They parted ways because they both knew it was wrong, and Irma moved to another state. He told me so one day I wouldn't be blindsided should we ever be married.

Well, we got married, and this cousin has kept her distance until recently. Irma has now started to attend their family events. We live too far away to go, but I dread the day when we do and she's there. Should I act like I don't know what went on before I was in the picture? Nobody in his family knows this ever happened between them.

I have told my husband it makes me very uncomfortable and that it almost seems she attends hoping to run into him. Why else would she? I would be very ashamed of having done this and would continue to keep my distance.

My husband says I have nothing to worry about because Irma means nothing to him. What do I do if I run into this woman at one of these family gatherings? -- NOT HAPPY IN THE USA

DEAR NOT HAPPY: I know it may be uncomfortable, but when your paths finally cross, be polite. You don't have to do anything but exchange the basic social amenities, and spend your time socializing with the other relatives.
fox: my left eye.  "ceci n'est pas une fox." (Default)

[personal profile] fox 2017-08-02 12:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Why else would a member of a family attend a family event? Hm, that's a stumper.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-08-02 12:19 pm (UTC)(link)
"Why else would she?" What? Attend gatherings of her family? Maybe she wants to see the people who actually do attend? I mean, LW says specifically that they don't normally attend.

I'm also not entirely clear if the LW feels that cousin/cousin relationships are incest (some places they are, and some places they aren't) or is this is entirely a 'Help! Ex-girlfriend!' panic. Abby's advice is actually decent in either case. Generally speaking, people who get married have had past relationships, and some of those people will turn up from time to time. I don't get the impression that the LW thinks the relationship damaged their husband.

And family connections are really, really tough. My husband's brother married a woman who had been my best friend but who lied to me deliberately with the intention that I'd believe her and pass that lie to the person she really wanted to have it go to. It's hard, but screaming at her or snubbing her or whatever wouldn't fix anything and would simply make things awful for everyone else at family gatherings. And I deal better with her twenty five years on because I've made the effort.
kutsuwamushi: (feminism)

[personal profile] kutsuwamushi 2017-08-02 12:27 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm a little disappointed that Abbey didn't call the wife on her obvious double standards. "Irma" attends family gatherings; she must be trying to run into her husband despite the fact that her husband isn't even at these gathering. If her husband goes...? She should be ashamed and stay away from the family. Her husband...?

I have sympathy for feelings of jealousy, I guess. I wouldn't expect her to be buddy-buddy with her husband's cousin. But I don't have sympathy when people channel that into blaming the "other" woman for everything.
Edited 2017-08-02 12:27 (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

[personal profile] kaberett 2017-08-02 01:11 pm (UTC)(link)
... I keep forgetting that the USA has weird hang-ups about first cousins. Which... very much does sound like it's what's going on here?

Dude pretty much sounds to me like he's accruing decently here, give or take his willingness to insist that a family member and ex "means nothing" to him - personally I'd likely find that a concerning level of callousness, but... shrug emoji.
jadelennox: Buffy's Dawn: bratty kid sisters (btvs: dawn bratty kid sisters)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-08-02 02:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Though it's legal non-incest in many states! We're just convinced it's incest.
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)

[personal profile] redbird 2017-08-02 04:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Some Americans have those hangups, and not just Americans.

My mother married her second cousin, and both the rabbi and whoever issued the license were "I'm sorry, I have to ask this, are you related?" and then relieved that "yes" was followed with "second cousins." From what she said, they weren't used to that "yes"; maybe the more usual thing in England would have been to skip "yes" and just say that they were cousins?

Otoh, the only first-cousin marriage I know of personally involved an American and a Canadian (this was a friend's mother and her second husband, and he kept referring to his not-exactly-stepfather as "Uncle Arnie"). A friend once told me that he and a cousin had been dissuaded from marrying by their parents; I don't know whether that was general "ick" or specific concern about known recessive genes.
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)

[personal profile] tielan 2017-08-02 10:11 pm (UTC)(link)
Not just Americans; I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea, although I think the genetic dangers can certainly be mitigated with our technology in this era, and I was pretty close to all my first cousins growing up, so it just seems a bit weird to me.

Although I don't think we have as many jokes about it.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)

[personal profile] liv 2017-08-03 10:41 am (UTC)(link)
I thought the phrase kissing cousin specifically meant a cousin who is distantly enough related that it's ok to kiss them? (Which assumes that the closest cousins are off-limits as potential partners.)