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2nd cousins dating ... acceptable or weird?

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#1 ~____~_(Guest)_~

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 09:41 AM

I am looking for unbiased opinions.

I recently connected with a 2nd cousin who I grew up with from birth to 9 years old. My cousin moved away and then we didn't see each other again until 16, then again at 25, and now at 30.

There was an attraction there that baffled me, and he admitted to feeling the same way. I feel like a love sick 16 year old and I am struggling with the morality of this. According to internet research, it would be legal and there is also biblical data of first cousins marrying (if that matters to anyone), but is it incest (second cousins I mean)?

I have no idea how my family would react either. Any thoughts?

#2 Servant


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Posted 10 September 2005 - 09:49 AM

I would not describe it as weird, but I would describe it as dangerous if you want offspring. There are often major birth deffects resulting from children sired by 1st and 2nd cousins. Once you get beyond that, chances of birth defect lessen dramatically. A lot also depends on what side of the family the 2nd cousin is on - meaning is he/she a blood relative or a once removed relative? If not a blodd relative, than no issues but personal ones with others will come up.

It is not unusual for second cousins to be attracted to each other. It is farely unusual for them to turn that attraction into a serious relationship. I certainly dont date every person I have an attraction to, nor should anyone else.

In the end, it is up to the two of you. Do be aware of the risks you are taking if you want children, and be aware that some people, including family members, may hold the relationship against you in the years to come. Good luck.

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Posted 10 September 2005 - 10:09 AM

According to webmd.com, there is a 2-3% chance of birth defects for offspring first cousins who share 2 grandparets. I can't find any data on 2nd cousins (who share a great grandmother).


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Posted 11 September 2005 - 07:34 AM

No, it is not incest. There is nothing wrong with dating your 2nd cousin. But keep this is mind. If you get married, and it does not work out for some reason. You can divorce your spouse. But you can't divorce your family. Your ex-mother in law will always be your aunt and your ex-father in law your uncle.

#5 shedoni



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Posted 11 September 2005 - 10:47 AM

Your ex-mother in law will always be your aunt and your ex-father in law your uncle.

Are you sure of this relationship? I thought that my aunt's and uncle's offspring would be my FIRST cousins. In other words, we share one set of grandparents. SECOND cousins (or so I thought) share one set of GREAT-GRANDPARENTS.

#6 SangyeDolma


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Posted 11 September 2005 - 01:37 PM

Second cousins are far enough removed DNA wise that birth defects is not an issue. Even with first cousins there is not high risk for birth defects compared to the average percentage of birth defects.

Although there may be some uncomfortable issues within the family, I would not say that dating a second cousin is "weird", and I don't believe it is incest.

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Posted 12 September 2005 - 02:11 AM

I think that the morality of this situation is subjective. Incest laws are taboos forced upon us by religion and "old country" culture.

Cultural values on pairing close family members has varied widely over the ages. In many royal lines, it was customary, or even mandatory, for brother and sister to marry to conserve the royal bloodline. We see evidence of this in the unfortunately common hemophilia that runs through some of Europe's royal families. Cultures in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa were also quite comfortable with cousins and/or siblings marrying... it wasn't until fairly recently in history that sibling marriage and first cousin marriage became distasteful in the general public's eye.

History (and books of moral values) are written by the winners. Look at ancient Greece and imagine. If they won over the Romans, something else might be taboo instead.

I say, "go ahead", and follow your heart. If you don't plan on reproducing, the only issue would be society's taboo against incest, which can be eliminated by moving away from the area you grew up in... fairly easy to do these days. If you do plan on having children, it might be a smart thing to seek genetic counseling to make certain you won't be passing along any reinforced recessive genes that could cause a child a lifetime of misery, or even a stillbirth.

Proceed with wisdom and caution if planning to have kids, otherwise, follow your heart.

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 08:55 PM

This was a confusing question for me. WE always thought we were 3rd cousins. One of his parents are a first cousin of one if my parents. Our grandparents were siblings.

I haven 't found anything authoritative on the web, but numerous sites concur we are 2nd cousins. Here is one of the links from genealogy.com:


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Posted 18 September 2005 - 08:59 PM

I just noticed that was a link, so yes, you are reading the chart correctly. We share a set of great grandparents, so his mom and dad are my first cousins once removed rather than aunt and uncle

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 01:41 PM

As a genealogist, I know how confussing relationships can be. Is he a first cousin once removed or a second cousin??

According to law, it's perfectly legal to mary any cousin past first.

In fact, in my own family we have many cases of second and third cousins marrying. We are such a very large family that it's pretty normal to find out that some of us and our spouses share a common ancestor somewhere down the line. :wink:

I think the question you need to ask yourself is "If things don't work out, then what?" Is your part of the family and his side close? Do the sides see each other often?

And lastly, you said that you've recently seen each other again at 30. Personally, does it matter what you family thinks?

Good luck!

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 05:02 PM

I can't see a problem with second cousins dating, living together etc. What gets more difficult is when you have been married for 31 years in a very rocky and unstable and unhappy marriage and you meet your first cousin that you have not seen for twenty years, and you realize that the feelings that you have for each other are more than what you have for your own spouse.

When that 1st cousin also has a very rocky and unstable marriage, do you deny those feelings because of what the family might think or do you just painfully walk away? Or do you think "To hell with what other people think, its my life!"

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 05:44 PM

I wouldn't recommend having children.

Too risky.

#13 ~__Anonymous__~_(Guest)_~

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Posted 18 March 2009 - 12:57 PM

I am dating my cousin's daughter, and we want to get married and have children together. I think this would make her my second cousin.

Her grandmother is my mothers sister. i don't feel this is wrong, I just want to find more information on percentages of birth defects on our offspring.

#14 Elena



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Posted 21 March 2009 - 02:41 PM


Until recently, good data on which to base an answer were lacking. As a result, great variation existed in the medical advice and screening services offered to consanguineous couples. In an effort at clarification, the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) convened a group of experts to review existing studies on risks to offspring and issue recommendations for clinical practice.

Their report concluded that the risks of a first-cousin union were generally much smaller than assumed — about 1.7%–2% above background risk for congenital defects and 4.4% for pre-reproductive mortality — and did not warrant any special preconception testing. In the authors' view, neither the stigma that attaches to such unions in North America nor the laws that bar them were scientifically well-grounded.

When dealing with worried clients, the authors advised genetic counselors to “normalize” such unions by discussing their high frequency in some parts of the world and providing examples of prominent cousin couples, such as Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood


#15 ~__Anonymous__~_(Guest)_~

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 10:47 PM

There are so many people populating the world, why would you want to be with your own family?

I'm just stating a personal opinion. Attraction is just attraction... but if you know the person you are attracted to person is close family, think of it this way. You get invited to a family reunion, and hey! You're cousins and all your family knows it. Is that not a little embarrassing?

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