Let your love be your guidance

I’m in a relationship with my cousin. We can’t stay away from each other. We met four years ago and fell in love. We both had abusive partners and are separated. The bond between us is so strong and today we have a child together.

We came out with our secret so our families know about it. I didn’t know he was my aunt’s son. We are first cousins but we do love each other very much.

We both are going through divorce with our partners, but before our relationship we were already separated. At the moment we only see each other now and then. We had been living together but due to financial difficulties we had to split up. What can we do? We really love each other.

You must be going through a very conflicted time by feeling such strong emotions for a man you did not know was family and then to feel that family members are putting pressure on you to leave him. I would advise you to not pay attention to the comments and negative talk of others. There will always be the critics, to anything we do.

People will cast stones based on their often limited perceptions and ideas of what is right and wrong.

There may historically have been cultural and religious proscriptions regarding family members having sexual relations. However, in your case you did not know that this was your cousin and you fell in love with a previously unknown person, as everyone else does, at the time. It would be unfair to expect you to just stop loving this man whom you later discovered was your cousin.

I know of many other similar cases where family members, unwittingly, married each other and it was not frowned upon by the community and, in fact, accepted as they really loved each other.

Take up your life and love. Although it may be very painful on the one hand, it is a good thing that it has been revealed, and now you can decide how you want to live your life. Your responsibility is also to the child of your union.

This child is your responsibility and deserves the love and availability of both parents.

Find work, do anything (except selling your soul) to earn an income. I am assuming that you are both young and healthy so you can find or create an income for yourself. Be creative, make things and sell them to your friends, family and neighbours.

This is how the owner of GrandWest started. He sold sweets at school fences. Earning your own money will give you more financial and material freedom and independence to make your own decisions and live your life authentically.

I read the response you sent my cousin. Yes, it’s true that we love each other and that she has a baby from me who is almost a year and two months old now. We have been struggling finding a place.

I sacrificed a good job by putting it on the line to help her and her other two kids while she was pregnant.

We lived with different people after I have lost my job because we had been on the streets for seven days back in 2015. But I have stood by them and now we only see each other whenever we get a chance. We are both on the waiting list for a house for over 10 years. I also have a child by my previous wife. She was the cause of everything falling apart even long before I have met my cousin/partner.

I’m currently living with my friend until I can find a place and a job. As for my parents, the child I have with my cousin doesn’t exist.

They want to make my choices by telling me my son needs me and he doesn’t want to live with his mom. My mom keeps on throwing my past in my face and saying that I have a child with my own cousin.

But we really love each other and I made a promise to her that no matter what I won’t give up on them. What can I do? Please help us.

I am not sure why you needed to stop working while your partner was pregnant. But be that as it may, to be able to get onto your feet again and find your own home for you, your partner and your children, you have to find a job as soon as possible. Whether it be in your line of training or not, just find work so that you can start to save a little bit at a time to be able to afford the initial deposit and rent.

Don’t wait on government to get their act together with housing allocation, as this might still take a very long time. Having your own money and eventually your own home, whether rented or otherwise, will give you a sense of financial and emotional freedom from your controlling and critical parents. You don’t need them anymore because you are an adult now with your own life, independent of them.

Additionally, listening to their negative and judgemental feedback is not helpful for you.

Jointly, you and your partner have to forge your own future together. Your love for each other will be the glue and guidance and support to get through this difficult time. Pay no attention to “the people” and their comments.

They always will judge and criticise but what they think and say about you should best be seen as ‘none of your business’. I wish both of you and your children a prosperous and happy future.

My ex had an affair and left a marriage of 14 years and two beautiful daughters for a 23 year old. She is staying in the house we bought together. I have spoken to Legal Wise and another place in town for help. I was married according to Muslim rites. The bank says he has to pay me out or I need to get a lawyer but they are too expensive and I’m a single mom. Please help.

I am really sorry to hear that your ex-husband has left you and in such a callous manner, without any thoughtfulness or respect for you or your marriage.

This is very difficult to get over but I hope that you will find the strength to weather the storm and see that there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if you don’t see it now.

May your Higher Power be your guide and inspiration. Legally, I am not able to help you but perhaps you can go to the Legal Aid clinics at UCT or UWC, which reduce their rates or give legal advice at a very low rate.

Carin-Lee Masters is a clinical psychologist in private practice. While she cannot enter into correspondence with individual readers, she will try to answer as many queries as possible through this column or refer you to organisations that can assist. You can write to her at helpmecarin@inl.co.za

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