I am in a dilemma and feeling depressed right now. Next month, my first love is getting married.

We are cousins but according to our customs, we can marry each other. I have liked him since I was six and fell in love with him when I was 15 years old.

He is the type of guy who listens to what his parents tell him to do and does whatever they ask for. Now he has agreed to marry a girl they have found for him. Due to strict family traditions, he didn’t look for a wife himself but allowed his family to arrange the marriage.

No one in my family knows that I have deep feelings for him and that is my problem. Everyone is forcing me to attend his wedding and my mum has even booked my flight tickets since the ceremony will be overseas.

I didn’t realise that he would marry so soon because he told me it would be a few years before he would tie the knot. This is hurting me so much as I thought I could wait and propose to him later.

After his engagement, I called him and told him how I felt about him. He asked me why I didn’t let him know sooner as it was now too late and nothing could be done.

I’m feeling so sad and really depressed. I have been crying alone all night, trying to get over the fact that he is getting married. He even told me that he is not interested in marrying the woman his parents chose.

In fact, he doesn’t want to get married at all and wants to remain single all his life. But now that he had agreed to get married, he had to go through with it because it was his own mistake.

I don’t know what I am supposed to do. His wedding cards are being distributed, the wedding shopping is over and the date is getting nearer. I am worried that if I attend the wedding, I wouldn’t be cheerful and happy and people might suspect how I feel for him. I don’t want to do anything to stop this marriage because I don’t want to hurt anyone, especially his poor fiancee.

Should I attend his wedding? How can I forget and let go of him? He is in my family. I cannot avoid him at all. He will be there at every family occasion. I cannot marry another guy one day because I love my cousin so much and my feelings are very pure and true.

Please help me to decide what I should do. Thank you.


Dear Alex

Marriage is a serious commitment that you must enter with at least good faith and preferably with all your heart and soul.

If both you and your cousin realise that you’re in love, then he should consider speaking to his fiancee and the family people who set up this wedding and tell them that he cannot in good conscience go through with the wedding.

It will be a bit difficult and the people involved will have some hurt feelings. However, your cousin has to ask himself what is worse: a temporary embarrassment or a lifetime of knowing he’s committed himself to the wrong person?

Also, there is the comfort that plenty of people learn they’ve made a mistake and break off an engagement. Your cousin would not be the first person to back out, nor will he be the last.

If he does break it off, there will be a period when he has to resolve the issues that follow. That will be a strain for him. However, when people realise it’s because he wants to marry you, you can expect lots of censure.

People love to point fingers and ascribe blame, so you can expect screaming matches where they say you should have spoken up earlier, that it’s all your fault, etc, etc. That may be difficult for you to handle. I suggest you try and see it as the price you have to pay for happiness. Also, get your support network in place early.

But before you get your hopes up, do consider that as it is his engagement, it is his choice whether to break it off or not. You may love him but it’s his contract, not yours. If he says he wants to break it off and have you at his side while he does it, okay. But if he decides it’s easier not to back out, you will have to respect his choice.

In that case, you go to the wedding, you smile politely and you wish him and his bride happiness. Don’t show your true feelings – spoiling someone else’s wedding is rude and selfish. Leave early if you can.

If the idea of going makes you feel sick, then pretend at the last minute you have a tummy ache and stay home. Whatever happens, do not make a spectacle of yourself. It won’t change the situation and it will only make you feel worse.

If he doesn’t step up, please consider that the idea of there being One True Love is the stuff of films and novels. In real life, there are plenty of partners whom you could find happiness with. Happiness is out there, if you give yourself permission to take it.

So, mourn a lost opportunity for a little while, and then get out there and find a partner who has the qualities that you love in your cousin. Build a relationship together and live a long and happy life. Because you deserve to be happy.

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