Monday, August 2, 2010

An Aunt and Nephew Ponder Coming Out

Someone reached out for help on in dealing with a family issue.

What is the best way to tell the family that me and my Dad’s youngest sister are dating?

She was a late child, she’s 27, I am 24. We are dating for a few months now, and decided to tell the family soon, you can’t keep it a secret forever. What is the best way to tell the family(especially my Dad) about this?

Most of the responses were not helpful. In addition to that old stand-by of prejudice, “ew,” there was:

You do know that this is called incest don’t you there is no way that your family will accept this

You are dating your aunt? Stop seeing her and find someone else who is not related.

wow… she must be really dumb to date a nephew

Unless you left out part of the story that is incest. Incest is bad. There is no good way to tell them without someone getting upset.

you DON’t date her. She’s your aunt.

So these people know who this person should and shouldn’t love? The people in this relationship are consenting adults, and shouldn’t be judged by others, who are just like the people who used to say "women don't date women" or "whites don't date Negroes" or that a woman should stand by her abusive husband.

These responses below tried to be helpful, though they were less than supportive:

I’m assuming your Muslim or Mormon (the two religions that kinda don’t include incest). So if you are, try to bring it up as a rhetorical question to your dad. If he reacts negatively then telling him probably won’t be a good idea. Still, it might be wise to find someone else that interests you instead.


Well, even though she’s near your age, might be really hot, and may be the best woman in the world, she’s still your aunt and you’re still blood related, so this isn’t going to go over well no matter how your break it.

I don’t think you should say anything unless you plan on getting married (if that’s legal in Canada). If you two want to get married or live together, that’s your choice, you’re free to do that if you legally can, but technically, it’s still incest. So be prepared for some yelling, screaming, and your family not talking to you for awhile, so think about whether this relationship is really worth that, or if you both should move on to less controversial partners.

This one was the only supportive one:

Honestly, I do not think that there will be any good time to tell this to your family.

What you have to think is, do you see yourself marrying this woman? Is this ‘relationship’ really that good? You need to find out the answer to that.

If the answer is no, you may be able to keep it secret.

If the answer is yes, well you just have to maybe have a family dinner etc. and tell them all then.

Best of luck to you!

This very much like something that so many people go through when bringing home a same-sex partner or someone of a different race. My advice to someone in this situation:

Those around you probably see what’s going on already, even if they haven’t said anything to you. It is important to consider if you are heading for a lasting relationship or if this is mostly something that is for fun and experience. Are both of you ready to settle down? Are you thinking there’s a real possibility you’ll want to settle down with each other? If so, then you do need to discuss it with your family unless you’re willing to move somewhere else and cut off all ties with them. Let your family see how good you are for each other, how much you enjoy being around each other; let them see this is going to strengthen the family, not weaken it. She should be the one to talk with your father about it. She should talk about how happy she is, how much she loves you, how well you treat her, ask for his help and support. If he is rejecting, then you might need to go to your mother and appeal to her sense of protection. Point out that she picked one sibling, and you picked another from the same family for some of the same qualities.

They don’t need to like it. They just need to accept it continue loving you.

On the other hand, if you’re likely just together for now, I would let it go unspoken. You can refrain from displays of affection in front of the rest of the family. In some families, that is the norm anyway for all relationships.

Part of the objection to the relationship might be that where you live, the two of you can’t marry. Ask your family for support in changing this, and do some research to find somewhere that you might be able to get legally married if you took a trip there.
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  1. It is legal in Canada and Australia for an aunt and a nephew to marry.

  2. Thanks, Osiris. I have consulted your map many times, but I didn't check to see that time.

    I know your map must have been enough trouble to make already, but I'd sure like see a map that also showed polygamy rights and same-sex marriage rights in addition to the rights to marry or at least live without criminal prosecution for close relatives.

  3. I'll see what I can do. Obviously most of the Muslim countries will fall into the "polygamy" (or at least "polygyny") category, but I can pretty much guarantee that none of them will uphold same-sex marriage rights.

    Polygamy is illegal in every Western country, including every state of the United States. Polyamory, however, of course is not. Nor, in most states, is multiple cohabitation.

    Little Rhode Island seems to be the best bet on all fronts. Same-sex marriage is recognized, consanguinity is not prosecuted, and an uncle can even marry his niece.

    As long as they're Jewish.

    1. Yes, I do know this is a 6 year late reply because this is the 1st time I have (or remember seeing) this comment. Do I think I will get a reply back? Nope, I mean this comment was made 6 years ago, but still want to reply. For the Rhode Island part of the comment, did osiris mean Jewish people are more accepting of lgbt marriages and so it's recognized (pre-Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling of course)? That Jewish people are also more accepting of consanguinity and supportive of uncle-niece marriages?

  4. Aside from the actual moral implications of dating your own blood relatives, it's illegal in many countries and if someone finds out and reports you, you could be arrested.

    Also, have you ever considered the genetic implications of having children with your blood aunt? Its not just a story, your children could have defects.

  5. Anonymous, thank you for your opinion.

    What moral implications are those?

    It shouldn't be illegal anywhere. That is one of my basic points.

    The asker didn't mention having children. You do know that most sex does not produce children, right?

    Some bigots try to justify their prejudice against consanguineous sex and marriage by being part-time eugenicists and saying that such relationships inevitably lead to “mutant” or “deformed” babies. This argument can be refuted on several fronts. Not all mixed-gender relationships birth biological children. Most births to consanguineous parents do not produce children with significant birth defects or other genetic problems; while births to other parents do sometimes have birth defects. We don’t prevent other people from marrying or deny them their reproductive rights based on increased odds of passing along a genetic problem or inherited disease. It is true that in general, children born to consanguineous parents have an increased chance of these problems than those born to nonconsanguineous parents, but the odds are still minimal. Siblings and parent-child parents can and do have healthy children.

    But there are increased odds of problem with births to older parents, too. There's no stigma assigned to that. These days, older women having children is actually especially celebrated, at least in the US. There is certainly no law against it.

    Unless someone is willing to deny reproductive rights and medical privacy to others and force everyone to take genetic tests and bar carriers and the congenitally disabled and women over 35 from having children, then equal protection principles prevent this from being a justification to bar this freedom of association and freedom to marry.

    Anyone concerned about these things should have genetic testing and counseling. People who are not close relatives can pass along health problems, too.

  6. GO FOR IT!! Wish i had your balls bc i would marry 2 of mine asap

    1. Marriage Equality, I take issue with the support you provided for your rebuttal against Anonymous from June 16, 2011.

      Speaking as someone who knows at least a bit about both genetics and logical reasoning, let me tell you, you cannot logically dismiss the increased risk of producing an unfavorable phenotype in children born of an consanguineous relationship. Anyone who has ever taken a genetics class can explain to you, in very clear language, the math behind the trouble with incest. And that math has serious teeth.

      Going so far as to tout the fact that children born to non-consanguineous parents can also have genetic defects undermines your argument in the eyes of every thinking reader to come across this page. You have taken your argument beyond the logical extreme. It's like saying that condoms are meaningless, because they don't protect everyone who uses them from unwanted pregnancy. Just because you can still get pregnant if you use a condom (mostly because of improper usage) doesn't mean that the risk of pregnancy has not been statistically significantly reduced. Children born of consanguineous parents have a statistically significant increase in the likelihood of phenotypic manifestation of genetic disorders, relative to children born of non-consanguineous parents. You are making it look like you can't support your position unless you hold onto a logical fallacy.

    2. Ali, dating, having sex, and marrying do not have to mean having children. There ARE also ways to have and raise children that are not biologically theirs.

      But let's discuss them having biological children.

      Let's grant that there is an increased risk to the child.

      Even with an increased risk, their child is overwhelmingly likely to be healthy.

      Do you know what Huntington's Disease is? If not, look it up. There is no law against something with Huntington's Disease having children, despite the fact that the risk to the child is much greater than it is between the average aunt and nephew.

      Where is the line drawn? Do you want to prevent two people with dwarfism from having children?

      Most children I know of born to close relatives are healthy. Very, very few cases I have heard of involve children with significant problems.

      Finally, I know people with birth defects and disabilities who are great people and contribute much to society.

      This simply isn't a good reason to outlaw or shun these relationships, unless we're going to genetically screen everyone who wants to be together and outlawing their relationship if there is high risk.

  7. I know what you are going through. I have being in love with my nephew since I can remember. I am 39 years of age and he is 41. His dad and I are half brother and sister same dad different mom.
    when we were teens my parents sent me to spent the summer at his house. That summer we fell in love. but we continue with our separate lives I got married so did he. over the years we kept in contact and saw each other when ever we could. He is my best friend my soulmate. we are still very much in love but we decided to never say or tell our families. they would never understand our bond.

    1. Anonymous, thank you for sharing with us. It is sad that this has had to be secret. Are you both still married?

    2. my soul mate is also related to me in a similar way. one of his parents is my half sibling but we didnt grow up together, we fell in love as adults. we were in relationships where we were not happy so we left them and now we are the happiest we've ever been. though we do not tell our families, they can only speculate... there is no way to tell people, they would never understand. but we love each other so much we will go through anything.

  8. Hi, I'm a different "anonymous" from the other 4 that posted. Just like the people you were talking about in the original post, I am an aunt that was born much later than my siblings, and I have a nephew close to my age. I'm 22 and my nephew is 20, and he's the son of my half-brother.

    My nephew and I have spent most of our lives together since we were toddlers, and we're best friends. As we were growing up, I started to develop feelings for him, but I was in denial. No one in our family has been in a similar situation, and I don't know anyone that's approving of this type of relationship. I was always in denial about my feelings and found excuses to explain it away until about a year ago, when I finally took some time to seriously think about it. And I realized, no matter how strange it is, I do in fact love him. And I can honestly say, looking back now, that even as young as between 10 to 13 years old, I had a childish crush on him, and in reality, I've always liked him a little.

    But unlike all the other aunts and nephews in love on this page, despite the fact I've been sure of my feelings about a year now, I haven't even told my nephew about my feelings, and haven't told anyone else either. I'm afraid to tell him, and I'm sure that even if he had feelings for me, too, he would also be afraid.

    This is the only site I have found that has had any support for an aunt/ nephew relationship, after digging through pages of search results. The only other results I can find are stupid things about aunts/ nephews seducing each other, or the occasional link to questions at the "ask yahoo" site.

    The only other site I've been able to find that's about love relationships with family members is "Cousin Couples", which is a site for cousins that are in a relationship. I recently posted on there looking for someone to discuss this with. So far, only one person has replied to me. Though they were understanding, they said that despite us being close in age, aunts and nephews being together was different from cousins being together, and that basically, I should try to let go of my feelings for him, and not do anything unless my nephew makes it apparent that he has feelings for me first. Which again, I'm sure he'd be afraid, maybe more afraid than me.

    I want to note that I do NOT want to have kids with him if only for how weird it would be for the child. I am NOT just some sex addict horn dog that would take anyone I could get. I do NOT just like him for some stupid reason, like what he looks like. He is my best friend, and I genuinely love him, and I love him for who he is. I love him more than I've ever loved another person.

    I can't help it if the one person I love was born related to me. And I can't help that he couldn't at least be born as my cousin. And why is this any worse than cousins being together? Just because it's through my dad, then brother, instead of dad, then uncle. I can't say that it would work out, or if he even has feelings for me. But why should I have to be afraid to even take the chance?

    I know this is a really weird situation, but it feels really messed up to me that I have to be afraid of even telling him my feelings.

    There is absolutely nowhere to turn. I would really appreciate it if there was even one person that could be supportive, anybody, help!

    1. Anonymous, I'm glad you found this blog and have spoken up. I can put you in touch with more supportive people. Please contact me at fullmarriageequality at yahoo dot com


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