Social Question

Jadey's avatar

Is it wrong to be in a relationship with a cousin?

Asked by Jadey (475 points ) December 30th, 2009

After seeing a related advice seeking question here, and reflecting on my friend’s secret relationship with her 3rd cousin, I wonder – is it wrong?

My view is no, not really. Where it becomes perhaps selfish is where it impacts negatively on the family. I don’t think it is ethically wrong, or disgusting, in itself though. How about you?

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52 Answers

JustPlainBarb's avatar

I don’t think it’s right to have a relationship with a first cousin… but 3rd cousin??? That is probably not horrible—maybe not the best idea though.

Haffi112's avatar

I don’t think it’s wrong at all.

But think about if you break up or something happens to your relationship. It’s kind of awkward because it could break up the family bonds too.

Then there’s also the gene factor. You risk having children with bad DNA (e.g. there is a higher rate for having children with down’s syndrome if you’re related).

CMaz's avatar

No not at all.

Eventually dogs and cats will be sleeping together.

oratio's avatar

Third cousin is not very close. It could be questioned if it’s still family. They are not really more related to each other than you and the people in this thread.

CaRbOnPrOdUcTwo's avatar

It’s a plus here in the Deep South.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

First cousin may have genetic consequences. Biologically there is no basis for avoiding a relationship with a third cousin.

lynfromnm's avatar

The taboo on cousin relationships comes from the increased likelihood of genetic anomalies, should the two reproduce. This is of course less likely as the distance from the common ancestor increases. Clearly, cousins could have a relationship without having offspring, this eliminating the objectionable element.

That said, the moral rule about relationships is one phrase: “consenting adults”.

veronasgirl's avatar

Third cousins, no. There really won’t be any genetic consequences from that distant of a relationship. I know people who have gotten married and had kids and then found out they were distantly related. However, first cousins and closer relations can cause some problems for their offspring and it is serious for that reason. Totally disregarding the whole issue of incest being a little creepy.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were second cousins.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It’s not wrong, imo.

Janka's avatar

Third cousin is quite far. I don’t think most people would question second cousins, and even first cousins marrying happens too.

So I would have to say, if the relationship is wrong, it is wrong for some other reason than them being 3rd cousins. ;)

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I would avoid it for purely social reasons. The relationship could so easily cause problems with family members who may not approve of the relationship and just make it awkward for everyone. Genetically there shouldn’t be a problem, but they should probably consult a geneticist before considering children.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh well what does it matter if family members have a problem with it? do we choose who we love to make them happy?

sliceswiththings's avatar

1. Even first cousins are fine in terms of genetic consequences, so third definitely are
2. In my opinion it’s fine. My third cousins are strangers to me, I could know them without even knowing. Go for it.
3. Check out this question from last week

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You’re already in a relationship: you’re cousins!

If you have a more specific question, then ask it.

JesusWasAJewbot's avatar

Its kinda strange.

daemonelson's avatar

3rd cousin? It’s quite likely that this happens frequently without people knowing.

I see no issue with it.

sakura's avatar

My aunty is married to her 3rd cousin and they have 3 beautiful children! I went out woth my 3rd cousin for a while, it didn’t last but he was my first true lurve :)

Yetanotheruser's avatar

If I’m not mistaken, third cousins have great-great grandparents in common. Think of what would happen in small isolated communities before there was an ease of travel. I grew up in a small town in the fifties, and there were 4 families that had been there for 5 generations. There was much intermarriage between the families, and the family trees were intertwined, but there were no noticeable negative results.

CMaz's avatar

It seems to be one of those, “shit happens”, moments.

I just see for the most part, too many other possibilities before my cousins ever got on the radar.

sandystrachan's avatar

Just don’t have kids together , after all we all came from the same seed . Well some will say that anyway , and if you listen to them ’ God made us ’ crap then we are ALL related .
Never have sex with anyone , well don’t make babies with em anyhoooo

mass_pike4's avatar

You live in the south don’t you? Perhaps Alabama?

DrMC's avatar

Relationships with close relatives are great. Thats where we get to see such excellent genetic defects.

Party on dude. Call me when your kid has 2 heads and 8 fingers.

DrMC's avatar

Sex is only wrong if its illegal. So says society anyway. Hurry and do everything you want until society declares it wrong.

U’m hmm my logic seems wrong.

A third cousin is not incest. Just interesting. Lack of mutation observed is not the same as risk of. This is the greatest societal concern.

Risk at 3rd cousin is probably low. Besides, you never know what the mailman’s been up to.

lovemypits86's avatar

kinda weird, not my cup of tea but to each their own

antimatter's avatar

Will make family reunions more interesting. It is a bit weird.

stemnyjones's avatar

It’s kind of annoying, all these comments about the south. I live in Louisiana, and I don’t know anyone whose related who has slept together, and I don’t know anyone who would think that it was a fine thing to do either.

CMaz's avatar

Yea, what @stemnyjones said.

Sampson's avatar

Where I’m from, it’d be impossible to not date a distant relative.

phil196662's avatar

I have several 2nd and 1st cousins and they are fantastic Woman. I dated my second cousin when I first met her because she lived in my neighborhood and we had met at a coffee shop after her workout at the Gym (a Gym rat). I was introduced by a friend of the family that had forgotten so we ended up dating for several years. She came to my family gatherings the first Christmas and my sister said “how is it being Close to family” – she had been traveling abroad for a while and didn’t know we were together and later freaked when she found out! We discussed it and decided we were Ok and continued until I met my Wife, we still meet for Coffee 2X’s a month and at 42 she is Hott!

smack's avatar

well… seeing as @le_inferno and I are in an open relationship on Facebook…

phil196662's avatar

@smack ; How is it working? the Wife and I have been Open for 15+ years- Fun isn’t it!

phillis's avatar

The stereotype of southerners is somewhat annoying, but not worth fighting about. As a native Atlantan, I am very familiar with US southern history. It IS true that we used to marry our cousins, but that practice fell by the wayside when we had our asses handed to us at the close of the Civil War, and lost nearly all of our young men….....about 250 years ago. Try to keep up, folks.

phil196662's avatar

@phillis ; true, but the possibility of a Sixth cousin could happen? Could it…

phillis's avatar

We’re talking 6 degrees of blind separation. That could happen anywhere.

smack's avatar

@phil196662 well ours is a joke. but good for you…...

denidowi's avatar

NO! Not the leastLOL!
Go ahead and have fun you twoLOL!! ;)
One of my 2nd Cuzzies and I had an interest when younger. Nothing in it – this gene stuff.
But in those days, it was just a holding hands or kiss’n’cuddle affair ;)
It was nice.

Kelly_Obrien's avatar

No, kissin’ cousins are the greatest!
Especially if you live in one of the “A” States, like Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona…

Response moderated
FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I just don’t like the idea of having to see an ex at family reunions, Christmas parties etc. especially after a messy breakup.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh a very good point. then again many people can’t stand their family members and they’ve never slept iwth ‘em.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir That is true, but such situations should be avoided if possible. Of course when you get bitten by the love bug, you don’t really have a choice any more and all these complicating factors fade to apparent irrelevance.

Response moderated
augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Personal attacks are not permitted, and have been removed.

CMaz's avatar

Yea, what @augustlan said.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I don’t think that third cousins would be a big problem….but I would do a genetic workup, just in case.

oratio's avatar

I suggest that some people read up on basic genetics.

It all depends on the gene pool. If first cousins have married for several generations there is an increased risk.

Everyone have damage to their genes. The reason why one shouldn’t have children with close family is the possibility that the damaged genes match, and the offspring will develop a disease or syndrome. However, a third cousin is related through your great-great-grandparents (Graphic), where they on every step on the way (supposedly) met unrelated mates, whose dna make up half of every childs genetic make up.

If you look at it mathematically, it is exponential in nature.

This cousin stigma is quite american I might add. In Europe there is no prohibition against first cousin marriage, though it’s not encouraged. In most countries in the world this is not an issue.

Arguing that one should refrain cause of genetic reasons, shows only that one is uninformed. A third cousin is just as perfectly suited to be a spouse as anyone else.

phil196662's avatar

Thanks @smack – Communication is what makes it work…

DrMC's avatar

The problem with oratio, is that he has neglected to mention the magikal mailman factor. The probability is as high as 30%. Sorry folks. That’s where communtiy is these days. Same odds as with wild monkeys.

So have a good time, I love the cases.

suzanna28's avatar

what is a 3rd cousin ?

Yetanotheruser's avatar

3rd cousins are related by having great-great grand parents in common; in other words they have to go back 4 generations to find common ancestors.

raven860's avatar

When you have kids with a normal spouse chances of retardation is at 3%
When you have kids with a first cousin, chances of retardation is around 5%

Therefore genetic abnormalities aren’t that big of an issue if one wants to marry their first cousin.

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