Talking to Cousins

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    PBA, as always, you are correct. I defer to your superior intellect and knowledge.


    PBA: You’ve never responded to my Hesber, by the way. Attraction isn’t a relevant factor here.


    Cousin marriage -> defects is actually not that common. (My mother says that some random relative married a cousin and had a kid with a limb missing r”l but I won’t swear to the causality.) Sure, in some cases it may make it more likely for recessive traits to be passed on, but the risk only gets really bad after more than one generation of cousin marriage, statistically speaking.

    PBA: Why is it worse if the cousin is like a sibling? Doesn’t that add somewhat of a squickiness factor to the whole idea of a married relationship? The only people I know of personally who married cousins didn’t know their spouses well before marriage (one couple, my great-grandparents, grew up in two different villages and didn’t meet until the shidduch was made). Ask the average person (well, girl, I guess, as I can’t claim to understand boys) her opinion on marrying a close cousin and the answer would probab;y be a decided “ewww.”


    Oh, I don’t have anything against them actually getting married–I just think they shouldn’t have a romantic relationship if they aren’t planning to get married.

    So if they have a close relationship, it is more likely to become romantic.


    PBA: Completely disagree. From experience: if they start off as friends from childhood, playing together and all that kind of stuff, then I don’t think it turns out at all romantic if it stays friendly and brother-sistery. Take me and my cousin: we actually don’t really talk to each other anymore, but if someone told me that it would be normal for me to have romantic feelings for the guy I grew up with, who spent ten years refining the art of teasing me, thought the epitome of fun was throwing bubble gum at my head, and loved burping the ABCs, I would look at them like they were crazy- too much history. (Oh,boy, I hope too many more people don’t figure out who I am…) Depending on closeness of the cousinly relationship, you can possibly compare it to adopted siblings.

    Now, a cousin I’d barely see, maybe… I don’t even know about that.


    I’m curious whether he also feels that way. And if he started to give you attention and googley eyes, I’m betting you’d change your tune.

    And adopted siblings get married.



    Why does it matter if he is a cousin or stranger? And by the way there are stories where people who grew up as friends married each other later. You realize the childish stuff was just you both being kids. Once you are adults it’s very possible to have romantic feelings for each other especially because you know and like each other. Theres an old Klal and most non Jews (at least the men) will agree with this: Men and women can’t be “just friends.” Sorry but even if for some reason you can’t imagine him as anything more than a friend if he’s a healthy male and you are even moderately appealing romantically he will want more even if he keeps that only in his head and never acts on it. If he is married maybe there’s less room for concern that he will look at you that way but either way there is no hetter for opposite gender cousins to be chummy chummy. I’m not saying you can’t be friendly but it’s enough to chat for a few minutes. Shmoozing for a half hour or more is definitely out of line unless it’s an important and necessary discussion and not just small talk and chatting.


    PBA: Will not think about that, thanks, for reasons I’ve already mentioned.

    Yeah, they do, but it’s at most as popular as cousin marriage (read: not that popular at all).

    WIY: But once you see someone as a kid (especially when they behave obnoxiously) it colors your view of him/her. I’m sure that he remembers me as being a whiny little scaredy-cat as well (though I bow to your and Popa’s privileged views into the male psyche so feel free to correct me). I’m not saying that that kind of thing is impossible (my cousin married her brother’s best friend), but I don’t think it makes romantic feelings MORE likely- I’d think that the contrary would be true.

    For all I know you guys are right, because I don’t talk to my cousins at least partially because they don’t talk to me (another reason may be that we have nothing in common anymore besides grandparents).

    Whatever. This doesn’t turn into a big deal for me in daily life, unless you count my playing Boggle with them and being polite to them as being complete pritzus and inappropriateness. (Though, as far as one of them is concerned, I actually stopped playing Boggle with him, though only because I got tired of losing.)

    As I said, I admit naivete regarding the male mind for somewhat obvious reasons.


    It sounds too strange for cousins to get married. I mean, if youre close with your cousins, it’s because youre cousins not because you have this connection.I know it’s done especially in some families to keep the yichus within the family. I don’t think it’s naive but with family you should joke, laugh, hang out and it’s all really normal to be yourself and chill. I could see it more of a problem if you’re into (no boy-girl interaction)when your cousin friends hang out with you. Cousins are family and staying close making those get-togethers fun.


    Seeing as a cousin isn’t a sibling, I think the laws of yichud apply here; but, I honestly can’t believe that anyone here considers talking to your cousin is a big deal, especially if you’ve been close to them since birth! The concern (practically speaking, not halachically) should be if that cousin is like a stranger to you, and not if she’s close to you (studies in kibbutzim show this to be the case).

    It just seems so bizarre to me. This is anecdotal, but I’d never felt sexual attraction to any of my female cousins.


    Writersoul: romantic feelings? Men? As a rule, men have physical attractions that involve fewer emotions and more biology. Not to say physical attraction can’t lead to infatuation, but that is further down the road. In other words, men don’t need any meaningful relationship to feel strongly attracted to something. Women, as a rule, do.

    Take a look in the world when men and women don’t feel constrained by morality – who is trying to get what from whom sooner?

    Now the question is, what does a man who desires a woman-friend who has no feelings for him (yet) do? Answer: manipalatively act more romantic. It works. Often. Particularly on sheltered innocent girls. But no romantic feelings are involved on the man’s side.

    Point: men have biological drives that motivate them to fool women into physical relationships that women often later regret.

    The cousin question is a biological one for men. And I have heard many men openly discuss that they find their cousin attractive. Sister? Never.

    As always, exceptions to rules exist in every context, and my view thankfully would be vehemently disagreed with by modern feminists. That doesn’t prove the truth of what I’m saying, it just adds some points in its favor.


    frumnotyeshivish: As a teenager with two X chromosomes, as I’ve reiterated, I’ve been shooting my mouth off here from MY perspective. I completely disavow all claims to knowing anything about the male mind. Would it help if I just deleted all those other posts?

    Edited. I think the rest of what you wrote is okay.


    “As always, exceptions to rules exist in every context, and my view thankfully would be vehemently disagreed with by modern feminists. That doesn’t prove the truth of what I’m saying, it just adds some points in its favor.”

    Why, exactly? Modern feminists also vehemently disagree with Holocaust deniers, for example. Does that (chas v’shalom) “add some points” to the deniers’ argument?


    jfem2 –

    If your blanket statement hypothesis were true, and modern feminists had a higher percentage of anti-holocaust deniers than others, it likely would “add some points” [albeit far fewer] to the holocaust deniers argument. However, as I haven’t defined what “adding some points” means yet, allow me to elaborate:

    When I have a question, and I am unsure of the answer, I, like many others, look for clues. I don’t live my life with a constant need for absolute fact. When I see a group of misguided fools, who are organized for misguided foolery, having an outspoken opinion on the topic of which they have the least expertise and the most bias, I think “ding, ding ding, ding, a clue!” Now, the place I enter the discussion is with an opinion — the fools are likely wrong.

    Obviously, when I have no question (like on the issue of whether the holocaust happened or whether men have greater objectifying tendencies) I have no need for clues, and the opinions of related or unrelated fools have no significance.

    My point was that modern feminists are so clearly wrong (in my view) regarding their viewpoint on all differences between men and women, that them disagreeing with me on this, doesn’t make me right, but it helps me.

    An apt holocaust comparison (if such a thing is possible) would be as follows:

    If I say calling someone a “dirty Jew” is anti-Semitic, and Hitler vehemently disagrees with me, it doesn’t prove that I am right, but it sure helps a little, doesn’t it? Not on a logical scientific level, but on an intuitive level of truth.

    Hitler’s opinion on feminism would be far less relevant, but might add some points to the other side. If I had the question.


    I understand your logic; I just don’t understand how you come up with the “blanket statement hypothesis”, as you put it, that modern feminists are “misguided fools”. You refer to feminists’ viewpoints on the differences between men and women. Can you clarify what you mean by this, and/or bring a source? I think you will be surprised to learn that modern feminism (and I speak for myself and many of my friends when I say this) is not focused on making men and women the same people with the same abilities, but rather expanding opportunities for women according to their needs. Do we think that male-dominated fields should become 50/50? No; we understand that more men are attracted to these professions than women. But we do believe that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work (when the job is exactly the same, seniority is the same, performance is the same, etc.) And when a woman comes along who is different than most women, and who has abilities that most women don’t have and desires that most women don’t have– for instance, she wants to work in an army combat unit and is physically capable of doing so– we don’t think it’s fair for her to be turned away on the basis of “most women can’t or don’t want to do that”. I can give more examples if you like.


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    Jfem – The feminist idea that I was fighting has to do with whether the objectification of women by men evolved through male-dominated culture and behavior (the misguided foolish view) or whether hashem placed the yetzer hora in men, and a woman’s primary role is to take care of her husband (see parshas breishis).

    As far as whether women should have the RIGHT to equal pay? All things equal, of course!

    I was referring to the ideology of the secular feminists not religious ones that mistakenly (that’s dan lkaf zchus) call themselves by the same name.

    Much of the recent moral deterioration of society can be attributed whether directly or indirectly to feminism. Birth control for teenagers and abortions were the rallying causes of feminists.


    I made the mistake of marrying my second cousin- a true mental case. Chasdei HaShem he is out my life and back with Mommy. It’s okay to marry cousin if they are normal!


    FNY, your assertion that men do not have romantic feelings is obvious rubbish. It may (and I emphasize the word “may”) be that men are more physically driven than women, but every man who loves his wife gives the lie to to your statement. That’s “loves”, not “attracted to” or Infatuated with”. Anyway, this whole thread has gotten pretty far from the question of the OP.


    1) Yes, all things equal, as I said.

    2) Contraception and abortions are the rallying causes of liberals, not necessarily feminists.

    3) There really aren’t significant differences between secular feminists and religious feminists as groups.

    4) Can you clarify your first point? The first and second halves of the sentence have nothing to do with each other as far as I can tell.


    Redleg – I made no such assertion. I’d respond in more detail but I wouldn’t want to go off topic.

    Jfem – the two ideas in my first point directly contradict each other.

    As far as what feminists stand for, here’s wikipedia’s take:

    I hope you don’t stand for those things…


    No, they don’t directly contradict each other, they simply have nothing to do with each other, as I said.

    I do support women’s rights in contract law, property, and voting. “Bodily integrity” and “autonomy” are so generic as to be meaningless. As for reproductive rights, I think birth control pills need to be made more available to women. There is no reason why an examination and prescription should be necessary. If women could buy birth control pills over the counter, that would significantly cut down on the demand for abortions. While I wish elective abortions weren’t so common, I do not support banning abortion altogether because that would make it really difficult for those few women who really need them (e.g. a fetus with a permanent and serious defect, or when the mother’s health is endangered).

    I will also note that Wikipedia isn’t exactly the most reliable source of information.


    Jfem – the discovery and availability of bc is probably one of the worst things that ever happened in the history of the world (in terms of morality). Do you think that the world is a better place because of it? There might be a few more people who’d evilly choose abortions, but there’d be far, far, more decency in the world.

    I will not address your point regarding which fetuses it is okay to murder.

    Wikipedia is an excellent place to start looking when someone sanctimoniously questions what you took to be basic knowledge.

    If God created man and woman to do different things and told us what they are, then blaming men for those roles is a direct contradiction.

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