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Ask Amy: Is it OK to marry my cousin? Empty Ask Amy: Is it OK to marry my cousin?

on Tue 28 May - 15:24

Although the couple in question are not biological cousins, Amy Dickinson affirms that the laws in some states against marrying one’s cousin are antiquated.

“Confused Almost-Cousin” would be welcome to join KS when she reaches the age of 18. Smile

ASK AMY: ADVICE FOR THE REAL WORLD MAY 26, 2019 wrote:Dear Amy: I am a 16-year-old girl in high school. I met a guy through a church event six months ago. We started talking, and then a month later he came to my house to hang out during the weekend.

His uncle was with him when he came over, and met my mom.

I started dating the guy, and my mom started dating my boyfriend’s uncle!

Now my mom is going to marry his uncle, a person she’s only known for four months.

I plan on being with my boyfriend and marrying him; I truly love him.

Since my mom is marrying his uncle that would make my boyfriend and me cousins by marriage.

It is not legal where I live to marry my cousin.

What should I do?

— Confused Almost-Cousin

Dear Confused: Let’s clear this up: First of all, even though (according to a report from the Journal of Genetic Counseling) there is an extremely small genetic risk to marrying a biological cousin, various states still have somewhat antiquated laws on the books discouraging unions between first cousins. There is still something of a taboo regarding marrying cousins.

However, you and this boyfriend of yours are not — and never will be — biological cousins. So — your cousin-problem is not a problem. There is no biological risk, and it is not illegal to marry.

I do believe that you should continue to behave as if it is illegal, however. I only wish there were laws preventing teenagers from making huge decisions (marrying, having children) that will impact the rest of their lives in such profound ways.

Here is my advice to you moving forward:

Finish high school. Set out individual and personal goals (college, career, creative fulfillment), and do your very best to meet these goals.

Your reaction to this domestic awkwardness is to over-dramatize it and see it only through your own somewhat narrow lens. This tells me that you are a completely normal 16-year-old.

You are distressed by your mother’s bold and premature choice, but you are doing the same thing. Of course, you can’t control what your mother does, but you can take charge of your own life.

Enjoy this first love. But shelve all plans to marry until you are much older and know more clearly who you are and what you really want.


Every now and then, an ally can say a few words, the right words, and change someone’s life for the better.
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