Home > Personal > Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

I have tried so hard and so desperately to maintain contact with my paternal cousins. And except for the few that I was able to reconnect with in August, the majority of them don’t seem to want to have anything to do with me.

It’s tough because I’m an only child and since my father passed away in 2001, I’ve desperately wanted to connect with my cousins on an adult level and build a friendship with them. But they are in a totally different place than I am. And being around them feels like being back in high school with the popular cliques.

(Did I mention I hated high school so much I passed up getting a yearbook?)

Unfortunately, the cousins I feel shut out by are the cousins I’m most likely to encounter. I feel like nothing I ever do is right. Nothing I do is ever good enough and by all accounts, I’m a completely loser in their eyes.

I don’t know why I need their approval so much. That’s a lie; I do.

Because if I let the connection with my paternal cousins die, it will force me to accept that the family member who bonded us together is gone.

Because I have this Daddy Complex and I just can’t let my father die. I keep trying to find ways to keep him alive even though December will have been 10 years since he passed away. I’m hoping to reconnect with my last living paternal uncle this summer who was nicknamed after my father. He seems really nice.

Everyone who talks to me knows how miserable I feel around my paternal family. I can’t enjoy weddings. I could go on and on about how my wedding was a hot disaster to my family because I was a strict fundamentalist and wouldn’t pay for other people to have alcohol. I had a DJ and I didn’t even want that. I didn’t get to eat the dinner I paid for that night. The appetizer I did have triggered an allergic reaction that almost made me throw up. I got sick with a bad cold the next morning. My wedding, in my eyes, was a failure and a terrible mess. I barely remember the highlights. (In retrospect, I wished I had hired a videographer because I remember almost nothing from the reception.)

Although I thank GOD that my marriage has turned out to be better than I could have ever dreamed.

I’m caught in this odd place because I want to know how to love my cousins as God would want me to. Does it mean shutting them out of my life by not going to the events they invite me to? I’m not sure. I’ve invited people to visit me but they haven’t. I’ve been to their homes and they’ve never been to mine. I keep wanting to make one last attempt to reach out to them for my 30th birthday party but I probably won’t pay for people to have alcohol there either. (I’m not averse to it anymore, but I’m poor and not well stocked.) And of course, if they’re there, I’ll have more anxiety about impressing them rather than just simply having a good time with people I’m mostly comfortable with. It’s my birthday and for the past several years, I’ve had lousy birthdays. I want this one to be fun and fabulous.

As I look forward to my 30th birthday coming up in February, I want to work on two things:

  1. Obsessing less about what people (who don’t care about me) think
  2. Eliminating energy-sucking people and their negative attitudes from my life

For me, my cousins are energy suckers and they don’t even know they’re doing this to me. I’m not sure I can broach the subject with them without sounding like a whiny child. The fault doesn’t lie entirely with them though, of course; I let them do this to me.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. —Eleanor Roosevelt

My maternal female cousin (and Maid of Honor) challenged me to cut them out of my life as much as I could. And after giving it some thought, I agree with her. I get such agita when I think of being at a function with all of them. (Except for the one that’s coming up in the summer since it involves the paternal cousins I like.) It’s time for me to stop waiting for an excuse to land in my lap and start learning to say no right now.

It’s also probably worth mentioning that these particular cousins and I have next to nothing in common other than being related. As far as I know, they’re not practicing Christians; they’re single; frown upon brothas and sistas dating Caucasians; love to go to bars and clubs; drink tons of alcohol; and are into entertainment, fashion, and pop culture trends.

I’m an evangelical (mostly orthodox) Christian; married to a white guy; feel out of place at bars and clubs; drink beer or wine once a week; and is lucky to even know who Snooki is. I’m boring: I read books, write blog posts, revise a novel, listen to music, like board games, and have an occasional beer or wine. I don’t watch TV (or have cable anymore) and watch movies rarely (although this action-packed blockbuster summer might throw me for a few migraine doozies).

I just keep looking for love in all the wrong places.

Categories: Personal Tags: , ,
  1. estreitta
    April 26, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    I totally understand your dilemma. I to find it difficult to really relate to my immediate paternal cousins. I get along with my 2nd and 3rd cousins a lot better on my fathers side. do you live in close proximity to your family?

    My brother and I grew up in TX when they were all in PA. I think most of my older cousins thought I was spoiled brat so they didn’t like me as much, but the all fell all over themselves for my little brother.

    After my Dad passed away in 2004, there was a big blow up because they wanted us to bury him in PA and we said no… Then my Grandpa Died a week later and thats when everything hit the fan. Needless to say I really haven’t talked much to my first cousins except for being fb friends LOL.

    I decided a long time ago that I would invest in reciprocal relationships no matter if it is family or friends. Yes I need to walk in continual forgiveness and love them, but that doesn’t mean I need to be buddy buddy with them either… just my two cents

    • Kassi
      April 26, 2011 at 7:22 PM

      I don’t live close to my paternal family but they live near my mom so when I see her and go to church with her, they’re around. Holidays are usually when I see them. And I rarely look forward to it.

      I decided a long time ago that I would invest in reciprocal relationships no matter if it is family or friends. Yes I need to walk in continual forgiveness and love them, but that doesn’t mean I need to be buddy buddy with them either… just my two cents

      I like your two cents. 🙂 I really struggle in this area. And yes, learning how to love them as Jesus would have me to isn’t easy. I’m very challenged by selfless giving.

  2. silverneurotic
    April 26, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    I don’t have a relationship with my maternal family, except of course, my mother. It’s complicated, and when we did have contact it was full of the kind of drama that a child (me) just shouldn’t have to deal with. Currently I have one maternal cousin as a friend on Facebook but we don’t really talk. And that is fine. Still, family is family and there should be some kind of relationship there.

  3. Ren
    April 27, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    I can empathize with you “but I need them to like me” struggle. It’s something I struggle with, too. With the help of God and wise mentors/friends, I’m in a place where it doesn’t control me so much, where I can see that reaction surfacing and deal with it before it takes hold. It can be difficult, though, since wanting people you care about to like you doesn’t seem like a bad thing. And you have the added dimension of trying to maintain ties to your dad through them. But your other cousin is right: it’s not pleasant to hang on to relationships that you’re the only one hanging on to. You will receive much greater blessings and much greater affirmation from relationships with those with whom you connect, with those who want to relate back on your terms rather then just have you fit in to theirs alone. And for your birthday, you just need to invite the people who will make it a joyful, natural, blessed time for you. 🙂

    • Kassi
      April 27, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      for your birthday, you just need to invite the people who will make it a joyful, natural, blessed time for you.

      Agreed. And that’s what I plan on doing.

      I’m just trying to figure out what is most Christlike. Even Jesus had Judas around until it was time for Judas to betray him, you know…

  4. Ren
    April 27, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    True, but I’ve always had the impression that Judas was on board for the most part as long as he imagined Jesus would be a political revolutionary. And even Jesus had the three who were his closest friends, who sought to know Him and cared for Him actively.

  5. Marieann
    October 9, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    No one Love us more than Jesus Loves us.I really enjoy reading this,I am Going through this right now with my brother.But I am praying God open his eyes and let him wake up and be a change person in jesus.

  1. January 19, 2012 at 6:41 AM

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