Dating a Relative

Family views
How close?
Is it healthy?
Medical consequences


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Blind dating
Dating a co-worker
Dating a relative
Dating a younger man
Dating after divorce
Dating after sixty
Dating an older man
Internet dating
Inter-racial dating

Why people get dumped

Bad dates: Personal stories


How Close of a Relative Can You Date to Not Have Any Health Issues?

In many societies, including the United States, dating and marriages between members of a nuclear family is strongly sanctioned. Who a person can marry in the United States is left up to the discretion of the individual state and not all states subscribe to the exact same philosophies and regulations. The variations from state to state falls into two different ideologically and geographically distinct modes, which include the “biblical” outlook and the “western” outlook (Farber 1968:25-45). Some states follow the biblical outlook completely while others follow the western one and yet other states have found a way to incorporate the two policies to work in harmony. There are several American states that place no restrictions on marriages whatsoever other than prohibiting members of a nuclear family (such as sisters and brothers) from marrying as well as disallowing uncles and nieces from marrying and aunts and nephews.

The biblical model of thinking is rooted in the prohibitions against incest that can be found in the 18 th chapter of Leviticus. There are extensive restrictions put on affinal relatives but there is no restriction placed on marriages between cousins. The legislation of laws comes from the Church of England canon law that prohibits marriages within a family such as a married person getting involved with his or her spouse’s children or parents. Specifically the dating and marriage relationships that are not allowed include those between mothers-in-law and sons-in-law, fathers-in law and daughters-in-law and stepparents and their stepchildren. The New England states adopted the biblical model, as did many of the southern states.

The western model does not look so much at restrictions for affinal relations but instead consanguineal kinds of relationships. In this instance in-laws are allowed to marry under the law but first cousins are prohibited from doing so. Most of the western and mid-western states follow this model.

People who are of the first-generation of inbreeders run much higher risks of being born with birth defects and of having many problems throughout their lives. Many of these individuals do not live to a very old age and many do not survive their childhood or teen years. People who are second-generation inbreeders do not tend to be saddled with the same health worries in terms of both physical and mental concerns, as do first generation individuals. The recessive genes become fewer and fewer with every subsequent generation.

Cousin couples have been studied the most widely of all family member relationships and present studies point to the fact that miscarriages are less likely to take place when cousins produce children with one another. The reason this is believed to be the case is that the body chemistry of both individuals is more similar than the body chemistry of strangers who meet and fall in love and then marry. Whether this will become documented fact only time will tell. One thing that is known is that the closer you are biologically to a family member, the worst it is in terms of health issues.

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