I’m in love with a first cousin. We met for the first time a few months ago. I knew I was in trouble the second she spoke. She radiates warmth, passion, confidence. Things I deeply lack in myself. I didn’t want this to happen. She opened her heart to me and cracked mine wide open too. I had never felt closer to or more cared for by anyone. When we talk she gives me undivided, earnest attention that makes me feel like I’m the center of the universe…that I’m worth her time. And she has a lot going on in her own life. I fought my feelings for her, but pretending to be platonic is so painful. I feel like I violated my own moral code and in a way manipulated her trust in me because I didn’t tell her the truth. The truth is I have never felt like this about anyone. She makes me so happy. When I’m around her I feel so safe, I feel like I can be vulnerable, show my darkest side, and she would still love me the way she does. I feel like I can’t hold back anymore. It’s killing me carrying this secret in my heart every single day. Trying to act normal around her pushing back tears wanting to be with her knowing the truth will drive her away. She knows something is wrong because I’m distancing myself and avoiding contact. I’m hoping indifference will keep me from falling even harder. It hurts seeing her, it hurts not seeing her. She wants to talk to me and help me, and I’m dying to tell her, but I fear the consequences. Losing her, exposing me, breaking hearts all over again. It’s ironic that the only person I know who has overcome heartbreak and could guide me towards letting go and healing is her. I have never fallen so hard for someone, never thought of all people, it would be someone I’m not supposed to love. I might have idealized her, and think sometimes maybe it’s the idea of someone like her that I’m in love with. Maybe it’s not really her that I love. But either way, it comes back to her. I feel sick. I don’t know what is right. If I continue acting platonic, we still have each other. But our relationship is not completely honest because I’m hiding my secret from her. I also risk doing something stupid, shocking her, shocking everyone. Hurting her ;( Not to mention facing stigma, rejection, humiliation. If I confess, I destroy everything we had together. But it would be a release for me. I don’t like either option because both involve a world of hurt and pain. Why does it have to be her? Why can’t I just unlove her? What should I do?