In India, especially in the south, it's quite common for cousins to get married or have a relationship. I've always found that quite disturbing and wrong on so many levels. But fate liked to laugh on my face.
I have this cousin who I've briefly met on a few occasions as a kid but never really paid attention to. One unfortunate evening, he sent me a message on Facebook and since he was a cousin, I replied. Slowly he'd text me often and I replied just like I replied to all my other friends. Then one day he suddenly confessed to me that he found me enchanting and extremely beautiful. I said that since he was my cousin, it was very inappropriate for him to say that. And since I was a naive 15-year-old, I was easily manipulated by him and he convinced me that he had a right to me. He said he had the right to be with me.
A few months later, we met at the death of a relative and it was a perfect opportunity for him. And my oblivious parents trusted him to take care of me while the elders were busy. He started getting close to me, too close to my liking.
He'd hug me, touch me in a way that sent creepy chills down my spine. When I told him I was uncomfortable, he yet again successfully manipulated me into believing this is how it had to be. Soon enough, he started demanding nudes from me. And when I refused, he tried to guilt trip me, threatened to tell my parents things that weren't true. That's when I stood up for myself and cut off all ties with him. Because I know for a fact that my parents would never doubt me, not even for a heartbeat.
I endured all of it because he somehow manipulated me, all the while, I still knew what he wanted. But you know that feeling where you can't do what you want despite knowing that's the right thing? I was stuck there.
Fast forward 4 years, I met this really amazing guy who made me feel things I hadn't felt before. He wasn't my first boyfriend (not considering the cousin), but I knew I'd never regret falling for him. But as fate would want, he died about a year ago in an accident. An accident I can't seem to get over.
To this day I haven't found someone who makes me happy as he did. And that cousin, who somehow found out about all of these is trying really hard to get back into my life. I have no energy to fight him.
I wish my love were here with me. He always knew how to solve a problem... any problem.
My point being, love cannot be forced. And when it has to happen, it happens. Cousins having feelings might not be considered wrong for most of them, but not all of us follow it. And choices have to be respected, family or not.