The incest taboo is one of the most widespread cultural taboos in the world. However, relationships between cousins are kind of a gray area because the degree of social acceptance varies depending on the culture/religion/law etc. Is having a crush on your cousin bad? What should you do if you fell in love with your cousin?
Relationships between cousins are different in every family. In some families cousins treat each other like siblings, while in other families they act more like friends. Sometimes cousins don't interact much and don't even perceive each other as relatives. If you and your cousin are really close, having a crush on them would probably feel like incest. If you are not close, it would be just like falling in love with any other girl or guy.
Be that as it may, having a crush on your cousin doesn't make you a bad person. You are not a freak, you are not mentally ill. It is actually pretty normal, especially for teenagers who have just started developing feelings for the opposite (or same) sex. It is OK to crush on a person that you are close to. However, that doesn't mean that you need to act on these feelings.
Don't beat yourself up for having a crush on your cousin but don't encourage these feelings either. Give yourself time to get over your crush. Take as much time as you need to move on. If you can't get rid of these feelings yourself, consider seeing a therapist. And don't even think about hooking up with your cousin!
What if you have strong feelings for your cousin and these feelings are reciprocated? Should you try being together? It is a very tough question, and you need to consider a lot of things before making a decision.
Firstly, think about social acceptance. Are relationships between cousins considered a taboo in your society/religion or are they viewed as a norm? For example, first-cousin marriage acceptance in the U.S. states ranges from being legal to a criminal offense.
Secondly, think how your relationship is going to affect your family. Will other members of your family support your decision or will they cut you off? What happens if you decide to break up? A romantic and sexual relationship between cousins will inevitably change the entire family dynamics.
If you decide to proceed with this relationship, you need to be ready to handle awkward questions and deal with judgment from people, it is inevitable. Of course, other people's opinions don't matter as long as you both are happy, but they can still hurt.
If you decide to get married (and you must approach this decision really seriously), your family supports you and cousin marriage is allowed where you live, consult a doctor for genetic counseling. Being relatives you carry similar genes, which increases the risk of genetic disorders and congenital defects. It might not be safe for you to have children.
The bottom line is that having a crush on your cousin is perfectly normal but acting on it is not the wisest decision. So crush to your heart's content but don't do anything that might make things weird. We strongly recommend that you consult a psychologist who will help you sort your feelings out.
- How to Get Over an Unrequited Crush, What to Do If Your Mom Hates Your Boyfriend?