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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
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Why people get dumped

Bad dates: Personal stories


Views of Other Family Members

While there are societies where dating a relative is perfectly acceptable, the Western world tends to frown down on such behavior feeling that is it incestuous in nature and very much a societal taboo. Depending on which relative is dating who, many family members are likely to feel uncomfortable dealing with the two people involved and wonder why they are not looking outside of their family unit to meet someone to date.

A cousin couple, which is simply cousins that become involved in a romantic way, are one of the most often talked about dating scenarios within a family and by far the most common of relatives to date each other. Back in history the practice of cousins dating and marrying one another was relatively common due to the type of society that individuals lived in. People lived in small communities and were not as mobile as people are today. Since individuals spent most of their lives living in the same small town or village, the pool of eligible singles was not large which meant that engaging in a romantic relationship with a cousin was extremely likely to occur. The practice of cousins marrying was also a means of keeping both property and land within a family, which was very important in early times.

Looking at cousin couples from a biblical point of view, the Old Testament documents a number of them. For example in the book of Genesis, Isaac wed his first cousin once removed, Rebekah (Genesis 24:12-14). Rachel and Leah according to Genesis 28-29 were both related to Jacob, in terms of being cousins of his. According to what is written in the Catholic Encyclopedia, Mary and Joseph were believed to be first cousins. Throughout the Bible there is no reference made regarding whether the practice of dating and marrying cousins is considered right or wrong. It is important to remember however that when the world began society was much different and there were a much smaller percentage of people than there is today.

Dating a relative within the nuclear family is prohibited in many places while many people find themselves attracted to people who enter the family by other means such as when a divorced parent marries someone new and the daughter of one parent and son of the other develop romantic feelings for each other. In this case the two people are not related by blood so most family members do not really consider this to be dating a relative at all. This is especially the case if the two people met as older teenagers or young adults and never lived under the same roof. If a stepbrother and stepsister were raised together in the same household from an early age then family members are more likely to disapprove then if they did not live together and were not raised as brother and sister. If your family’s opinion means a great deal to you then you will want to tread lightly and carefully when it comes to discussing what it means to other family members if you decide to date a relative.

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