Hypothetical: If you married your cousin

Periodically there’s threads mentioning ancient Egyptian incest or all them kissing cousins in Jane Austen’s books, but rather few addressing the hypothetical situation of you (yes, you) falling in love with and marrying your cousin, and how your family and society would react.

For the sake of the thread, pretend that you are single (if you aren’t) and that you have a single and hot first cousin (if you don’t) and that y’all fall madly in love (if you aren’t already) and elope.

What is the fallout like? What do your parents do? Raised eyebrows? Hissyfits? Will you be disowned? Or would it be an ain’t no thang? Can you legally marry where you are? Would you change your facebook status to “cousins” and “married to___”? Would either of you have to change your last name?

My cousins are all dweebs.

But on the offchance that I happened to fancy one, I imagine the family would be horrified and would chuck a hissyfit (on both sides). As I understand it, cousin-marriage is legal here in Australia. I wouldn’t mention it on FB and I would have to change my last-name (all maternal cousins).

But may I reiterate, all of my cousins are dead-set-morons. Ain’t no way I’m gonna be getting all romantic wid one of dem!


All my first cousins are on my mother’s side. Genetically incest would be a disaster. If non procreative marriage were an option, I still wouldn’t be interested. Several have severe addictions, behavioral problems, or just aren’t that bright.

Others are as much as 25 years younger than I am.

TLDR version: No way, too icky.

Assuming this is true, then the “eww, gross” factor wouldn’t come into play, presumably. So, playing along…

Fallout: major for her side of the family, and I’d essentially be disowned by my aunt, uncle, and other cousins. Very conservative Christians, and there’s already a lot of tension because she’s become a liberal free spirited hippie kind of woman. My older male cousin would probably physically confront me (and he’s into MMA), we’d both be subjected to a lot of angry fire-and-brimstone stuff, and we’d also get a lot of flak over our unrelated-to-the-situation liberal leanings. My side of the family no longer exists outside of myself so no issues on my end.

Not sure how friends would react. Probably a few raised eyebrows, but nothing more. My guy friends would be jealous, because several have asked me to hook them up with her for a date. My female friends would probably roll their eyes, but they do at any woman I date, so hey.

Legal marriage: Neither my state nor hers (though apparently if one of us was unable to have kids, it would be legal there). Both states also consider such marriages void, so we’d have to move elsewhere. Luckily, much of the east coast and California seems amenable to our situation… not bothering to look at the south or southwest, though.

Facebook: I think that listing ourselves as cousins and in a relationship/married would cause more issues than just friends finding out, honestly. Opens it up to distant family, acquaintances, and coworkers figuring things out and harassing us.

Changing names: Knowing her, she wouldn’t take my name, and after the expected vitriol, I wouldn’t be keen on taking hers. I guess we could assume new names or just keep what we have if she’s not too pissed at her family to jettison their name.

Overall: Not seeing too many upsides even if it was “true love.” She’d lose her family, and we’d both have to uproot, change careers and universities, and lose our social circles. It’d practically be like we’d have to assume new identities and start our lives over from scratch.

What is the fallout like? What do your parents do? Raised eyebrows? Hissyfits? Will you be disowned? Or would it be an ain’t no thang? Can you legally marry where you are? Would you change your facebook status to “cousins” and “married to___”? Would either of you have to change your last name?

It’d be very hard to do that. In my family, the first cousins usually spent a lot of time together, (not just a few times a year at family reunions). Due to age differences and family visits, I saw about half of my cousins more often than my siblings when I was growing up. Attraction doesn’t happen when you consider your cousins to be as close to you as your siblings.

Now, if he were a second or third cousin, then… nothing really would happen. Not many eyebrows raised, except (if it is from the cancer-getting side of the family) a reminder that our kids may have a higher chance than we do.

First cousins can marry in PR under certain conditions, I think, but it is not common (second and third cousin marriages are OK). Changing last names is NOT done in my culture, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

God, our babies would be so colorblind they’d be like those cave fish that have evolved beyond eyes.

And we’d have to move away. (Which is funny, because my great-aunt Ruby married a cousin so close she didn’t have to change her name. WHICH THE PREACHER MENTIONED AT THE FUNERAL. But things were different then.)

ETA - I would not have to change my name to marry most of my cousins. I would, however, have to pretend to care a lot more about techno music.

They wouldn’t disown me but they certainly wouldn’t just be cool with it. Beyond that I don’t know exactly how they would react. All I’ve heard about it from my mom was that she once dated a guy whose parents were first cousins and for that reason he and his sister both had a genetic condition that made them blind. I’m sure she’d be concerned about something like that.

On the plus side they’d be happy I was dating a white guy for once :eek:

In your hypothetical, I think my family would strongly warn me against it, but they’re not the hissy fit sort. There would be a lot of disapproval.

In real life, I find it incredibly icky, because I grew up close with my cousins, there’s not many of them and they feel like extra brothers/sisters. However, a friend of mine goes out with his cousin, and it’s interesting to learn about it. They met very much later in life, aged about 22 or so I think. They’ll get married, I have no doubt. They have seen a genetic counsellor to discuss options for children. Their families are OK with it (sort of) and they’ve been together so long now most of the friendship group has stopped making cruel and occasionally funny jokes. I do think it’s a bit weird when I see stuff on Facebook about them visiting family and it’s obvious that his/her parents are already related. But best of luck to them, they’re nice good people.

At best I think there’d be deep disapproval and a fairly significant rift in the family.

At worst, well, one of my cousins is 12 years younger than me and probably sees me more as one of the “adults” than a peer, so it’d be incredibly creepy. I doubt that I’d ever see my family again, and quite rightly.

Now HERE’s a perfect correlation of user-name with OP.

I grew up far away from all of my cousins and would not know them if I ran into them by accident. For that reason I doubt there would be an inherent icky factor. My cousins are strangers to me.

My parents never stayed in close contact with their siblings so I doubt there would be a huge uproar.

I’ve never aspired to having biological children but I could be our genetic counselor if needed.

This as well - only it’d be mostly silent disapproval. My family’ll talk hell about you behind your back and be perfectly nice to your face. ( note that this is why my family no longer meets anyone I’m dating unless it’s really serious.)

A lot depends on the culture that you are part of. In my family’s background, it was normal for cousins to marry each other, so there are diagonals in my family tree. It is legal where I live now, but not common.

My parents are dead. Were my mom still alive, she’d still love me but would disapprove, wouldn’t disown me though. My dad is n/a, he couldn’t be bothered to raise me so he wouldn’t get to have an opinion in this.

Extended family would be grossed out and some would probably refuse to associate with me and Mr. PandaCousin. Can’t legally marry 1st cousins where I live now or in my home state (BOTH southern states, thankyouverymuch). Facebook status, no I wouldn’t advertise that my new husband was my cousin. Would have to change my last name.

The concept of marrying any cousin - 1st, 2nd or 3rd … is just gross to me.

3rd cousins is gross?

Hope you don’t think my statement earlier about southern states was meant as an insult or slam against the south. When doing the hypothetical, I looked at regions where it was legal, and the southern east coast states, in addition to Tennessee and Alabama, were one of the regions. I just wouldn’t want to live anywhere I consider too hot, so I removed that area (as well as the southwest) from consideration.

If one knew them while growing up, I could see why it’d be gross. I have non-related friends whom I’d never consider as a partner because we grew up knowing each other. OTOH, a cousin-in-law and I first met when we were 14, and we had a mutual puppy-love/crush thing going on until we were in our 20s and met our respective (now ex) spouses. Weirded our combined family out to some degree, but we never felt like it was gross to date each other.

Interesting question. Cousin marriage is legal in NZ, and I even several cousins who would fit the hypothetical. :slight_smile:

In the case of two of my cousins they’re adoptees so consanguinity wouldn’t have been an issue, and in all cases while we saw each other at Christmas gatherings and the like we grew up many miles apart and were not really any more familiar than the children of friends of my parents.

I’m really not sure what the family reaction would have been, I suspect some attempt at dissuasion, perhaps some displeasure… but if we’d both been keen and aware of the issues… don’t really know.

I have a first cousin I would marry, if we were both single. He’s in his 50’s and I’m in my 40’s so there wouldn’t be any children to worry about. We didn’t really grow up together as he’s 13 yrs older than me, but I always had a crush on him. Since becoming adults and having children somewhat close in age, we’ve become good friends. If something happened to both our spouses, I could see things moving toward a romantic relationship.

I think the response of our families would be that is was no big deal given our ages and circumstances. Now, if we had run off together when I was 20 and he was 33, I’m pretty sure there would have been an uproar at first. But eventually it would have died down and our families would have dealt with it. You can legally marry your first cousin in California, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Our mothers are sisters so we have different last names (plus I have my husband’s last name now). I think if I married him now, I would just keep my current name.

The situation is similar where I come from. Cousin marriage aren’t allowed in society.

I have 6 cousins. One of my cousins and I have been attracted to each other. She is almost my age(I am 2 months older). This was about 7 years ago. We were both about 20. Both of us were doing Engineering. She lived in a different city and had come to our home for summer internship. We were both working on the same project. So we sent lot of time together. When the project got over, she was to catch the train next morning, we made out in the evening. It was spontaneous as we had spent around 6-7 weeks and we got along pretty well and we knew we were going to miss each other.

Next time I met her an year later when we(my family) went to meet all our relatives in her city. There again, we made out but her mother(My dad’s sister) saw us though we didnt notice. Next morning we left for Delhi. Her mother scolded her, wept in front of her and gave her a lecture on how she will ruin her family if she got involved with her cousin.

When I reached Delhi and called her, she told me about it. Both of us decided to move on. She got married last year. She looks alot like Thailand’s PM btw. When she went to Thailand for her honeymoon, she tells people thought she was a local.

My maternal family wouldn’t raise an eyebrow; in fact, one of my mother’s second-cousins is the daughter of two first-cousins and married a first-cousin of hers.

My paternal family considers even second cousins off-bounds and would look askew at a third-cousins marriage. I once met a guy I thought seemed interesting (very good looking, our senses of humor clicked like nobody’s business); he’d also gotten interested in me. It was all off the next morning, when we discovered we were second cousins :smack:

Both from Spain, but very different areas (Barcelona for the first, Pamplona for the second).