Intense feelings towards a family member

Postby sapphirerain » Fri Jun 30, 2017 12:53 pm

Hi, I'm a 23 year old female. Before I begin, I hope that someone here can respond to my post in a mature and understanding way. Okay, here goes. For about seven or eight years, I have felt a strong attraction towards a certain family member. If this offends you already, then don't keep reading. This person is my uncle (blood related). The feelings began when I was about 15. We're not even very close. I only see him around four to five times each year at family gatherings.

The attraction I feel is physical and emotional. I feel an emotional connection with him that I just don't feel with other family members - it's like there's a mutual understanding and respect between us. There is a kind of recognition, a familiarity, and a sense of 'being home' with him that I don't even feel with my own parents or siblings. To be honest, I love him unconditionally. I would die for him. Sometimes I miss him so much that it truly hurts, and there have been nights when I've become emotional and have cried about it. If I hear that he's sick or unhappy, it breaks my heart. The strangest thing about this is that... I am a lesbian. I'm very sure of my sexuality, and am comfortable with it, yet he's honestly the only man I've ever felt this strongly towards. Confusing, I know. This will sound crazy, but sometimes I feel that I've known him in a previous life (even though I don't believe in that sort of thing).

He has never done anything to me and has never encouraged these feelings at all. He's a hardworking, kind, brave and corageous person with his own family. I feel terribly guilty and shameful for having these feelings and it has haunted me for so long. I've tried to 'accept' the feelings, like my therapist suggested, but it's so hard. Sometimes I find it hard to even look at him. There are times when I can barely meet his eyes due to the fear of giving away my feelings. Sometimes he also looks down or away if our eyes meet. If he's standing near, I feel magnetically drawn to him and just long to be closer to him. Once I saw his own daughter (my cousin) hugging him, and I felt quite jealous.

Attached to my feelings is a heavy sadness upon knowing I can never tell him I love him. I just don't know how to deal with this anymore. Sometimes I really think I must be a bad person, as I don't feel this kind of love or deep care towards my own siblings. Seeing him at gatherings can be hard, as I wish we could just sit and talk, but we can't. I actually have to see him tomorrow for a dinner - part of me doesn't want to, and the other part of me is desperate to. Geez, I am so messed up.
New Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jun 30, 2017 11:56 am
Likes Received: 0


Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Fri Jun 30, 2017 2:16 pm

sapphirerain wrote: Geez, I am so messed up.

We all go through feelings of guilt or shame based on the rules created by culture/society. When you stop believing in those rules, you will stop feeling shame. Don't allow rules created by someone else have power over you.
User avatar
Posts: 9787
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:25 am
Likes Received: 985


Postby Livetowin » Fri Jun 30, 2017 4:13 pm

Sometimes the biggest problem we have in life is understanding what we feel and then believing that BECAUSE we feel it, we must DO something about it. From a naturalistic perspective finding your uncle handsome and charming is a very normal point of view. But why does that point of view have to mean anything more than that? I think sometimes we place SO MUCH emphasis on social labels we tend to forget why they exist.

You indicated you have a natural attraction to women and comfortably live a lesbian lifestyle. Okay then how would your circumstances be different if this man wasn't your uncle? You would STILL find him attractive and charming so why does the label change that dynamic? Should it change that dynamic? No it shouldn't. I've been married to my wife for 25 years and I'm completely faithful. But does that mean I am being unfaithful if I recognize beauty in another woman? I didn't die when I got married, but it doesn't mean I gawk like an idiot either and disrespect my wife.

So maybe you should say, " Hey uncle. Not trying to be too personal but I just want you to know you're an attractive and charming man. I'm glad you're a part of my family." It's not like you're committing incest by acknowledging beauty anymore than you have to turn in your lesbian card for saying a man is attractive.

I think you've just built up this misplaced notion for so long that you're not "allowed" to feel this way that it's manifested itself into this kind of emotional obsession that you feel a need to recognize. Well, recognize it. It's completely okay and does not in any way reflect something abnormal or otherwise inconsistent about the person you are. Finding beauty and attraction in another person can be a completely innocent AND harmless assessment. It in no way means there's something actionable needed just because you possess that opinion. Go share that opinion with your uncle and just let him know you think the world of him. You might find it very liberating and completely natural. If nothing else I bet you will feel very relieved. And I bet he will appreciate the compliment.
Preferred Member
Posts: 977
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:18 pm
Likes Received: 81


Postby Infinite » Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:52 pm

I had few feelings toward your post and I will share them with you randomly.

The fact you are associating so much shame, hurt, sadness to loving your uncle is a problem. A love feeling should not be shaming, or hurting or bring up so much that alone, how do you cope when you feel those things around this issue or any other issue that bring up these similar feelings?

You must have some feeling about how you can move on? You did not share so I can understand but if you have some feelings that would bring this feeling to alignment with your other life, what is that? What are the consequences? and what will it look like? and maybe you can run that scenario by your therapist.

This feeling is not unusual obviously. People have crushes all the time and one way this usually goes away the crusher gets a life and finds real attachment. How is your dating life? Are you feeling lonely? rejected?

I see few others dealt with the labelling aspect of your feeling but I think you need a therapist who can slowly go through this with you, break it down with you, talk about it until you are red in the face and sick of it or hopefully until you find true love and move on.

This is not any different than any other unrequited love. Just because he is your uncle means nothing here. He has a family. You are lesbian. There is no chance ever regardless of the blood. You need to focus on that no chance and find the answer within your heart.
Junior Member
Posts: 45
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:44 pm
Likes Received: 3

Return to Psychology