Freshly di­vorced, I’m al­ready in love again — with my cousin

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

Dear Abby: I am re­cently di­vorced af­ter a 19-year mar­riage, and to my great shock, I al­ready find my­self in love with an­other man. I didn’t come out of the mar­riage look­ing for any­one, nor did I think I’d ever marry again, but this man wants to marry me, and I’m se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing it.

We bonded when he con­tacted me to of­fer sup­port af­ter he heard about my di­vorce, and it was love at “sec­ond” sight. Why “sec­ond”? Be­cause we grew up to­gether — lit­er­ally next door — and he’s my first cousin.

De­spite the so­ci­etal taboo, it is le­gal in my state for first cousins to marry, and ge­netic is­sues with off­spring aren’t a con­cern. We’re both ster­ile and have no abil­ity (or de­sire) for more chil­dren. My sib­lings sus­pect and aren’t pleased with the sit­u­a­tion. His par­ents know and are happy for us.

Am I crazy to think I’m in love again this quickly? It doesn’t feel too fast be­cause we’ve al­ways known each other and been close; it’s just that the form of love has changed. How do we break it to the rest of the fam­ily? The world? Peo­ple can be so judg­men­tal, even though in many parts of the world it is per­fectly nor­mal to marry your cousin. Se­cret Love in the South

Dear Se­cret Love: You are not “crazy,” but you may be in an al­tered men­tal state, as many re­cently di­vorced peo­ple have found them­selves. They de­scribe it as a kind of high.

If you are wise — and I hope you are — you will slow this ro­mance down and al­low enough time for your fam­ily to be­come ac­cus­tomed to the changed cir­cum­stances of your re­la­tion­ship with your cousin. The “world” isn’t go­ing to care about this the way your fam­ily does, so don’t con­cern your­self with ex­plain­ing any­thing to the gen­eral pub­lic. (How of­ten have you asked cou­ples to ex­plain if they are re­lated in ad­di­tion to mar­riage? Not many, I’ll bet.)

My ad­vice is to let this new re­la­tion­ship evolve more slowly. If you do, the out­come may be more pos­i­tive than if you hur­tle to the al­tar.

Dear Abby: I have the best wife and daugh­ter ever, and here’s my dilemma. My daugh­ter lives in an­other state and would love us to build a sec­ond home nearby to be closer to their fam­ily.

My wife and I are nearly 80 and very ac­tive. I play ten­nis or pick­le­ball ev­ery day. My wife walks an hour to an hour and a half ev­ery morn­ing. We are hap­pi­est when we are ac­tive. Where my daugh­ter lives is not con­ducive to walk­ing, and my wife would be very un­happy.

Please don’t sug­gest a gym or a tread­mill — been there, done that. Plus, my wife has no de­sire to take on the added bur­den of a sec­ond house. We just down­sized five years ago. How do I keep the two women in my life happy? Fig­ur­ing It Out in Florida

Dear Fig­ur­ing: Rec­og­nize that it won’t be pos­si­ble to make both women happy. Your first loy­alty should be to your wife.

Ex­plain to your daugh­ter that you know she means well, but that at your ages (80), your rou­tine is ex­tremely im­por­tant. (It’s true.) That rou­tine may be what keeps you as healthy as you are. Back it up with the fact that two homes would be too much for you and her mother to man­age, which is why you have BOTH de­cided — as much as you love her — to keep things as they are. And stick to it. Your daugh­ter can visit you, and you can visit her, but stay where you are.

MY SIB­LINGS SUS­PECT AND AREN’T PLEASED WITH THE SIT­U­A­TION. HIS PAR­ENTS KNOW AND ARE HAPPY FOR US.

Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

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