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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 5th 2017, 02:03 PM

Ok so this is a bit of a long story but I will try to keep it short. On my Dad's side of the family I have 2 Aunts and 2 Uncles and between them all I have 18 cousin's. Some of my cousin's I used to get along with pretty well but I haven't seen or heard from any of them in 6 years. The reason is because My Dad's family are verbally and sometimes physically abusive, my Grandpa and uncles are sexist and racist and my Grandparents are always picking favourites with their kids and Grandkids. My one uncle (the youngest) has always been my Grandparents favorite and him, his wife and their 5 kids have been living with my Grandparents. The reason I havent seen or heard from any of them in 6 years is because my Dad disowned his family and vice versa and me and my cousin's were just little kids so we had to go along with it. Anyways today one of my cousin's showed up on my Facebook as one of my suggested friends and I was curious to see how she was doing so I checked out her profile. By doing that I found that all 3 of my uncle's daughters (the ones that live with my Grandparents) have come out as lesbians at different times over the last 3 years or so. They are 18, 16 & 15 years old and all 3 of them have a lot of depressing Facebook posts, seem to have no support from any friends or family and seem so miserable. I'm worried what their life at home must be like and I wish I could reach out to them and do something to help. But I haven't been a part of the family for 6 years and I honestly have no idea what I would even do and they live 5 hours away. Is there anything I could possibly do for them, I don't even really know the whole situation. How do you talk to family that you've been estranged from for so long? I know it probably sounds weird after 6 years but I'm just really worried about them.
   
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Re: Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 7th 2017, 12:05 PM

Hi,

It must have been difficult to go without speaking to your cousins for so long, especially since you got along well with a few of them. Something to remember if you reach out to them, though, is that your families disowned each other as a result of the adults in the situation; everyone else was young and had to go along with it.

Maybe you could try to become friends with your cousins before you speak to them. If they accept your friend request, you'll get a good idea of how they're feeling about the idea of speaking with you. If you try to talk to them, you could start by saying you miss them, or that you've been thinking of them and wanted to start talking again if they're okay with that.

It is awesome of you to want to be supportive of them and it must be rough because it seems like they don't currently have a lot of support. Should you decide to support them, remember to take good care of yourself as well.

Best of luck.


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Re: Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 8th 2017, 01:36 PM

It's true that it's because of the adults we haven't seen or talked for so long. I am hoping they have missed me too. I sent them friend requests on Facebook yesterday and I'm waiting to see if any of them will accept it. I feel guilty because I have had Facebook for 3 years already and I never tried talking to them before. I was afraid of getting into trouble with my Dad for talking to them but I guess since I'm already on bad terms with my Dad I don't care about that anymore. If they don't accept my friend request, does that mean I shouldn't try to talk to them do you think?
   
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Re: Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 10th 2017, 12:28 AM

Update: one of my cousin's, the one that's the same age as me, has accepted my friend request but hasn't said anything to me. I guess that should be me who says something first since I am the one who sent the request. I'm trying right now to figure out what to say and feeling nervous about how she will react after I send it. Her sisters have not accepted my requests yet, I'm not sure if they will.
   
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Re: Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 10th 2017, 12:28 PM

You can definitely still try to talk to them if they don't accept your friend requests. Sending the friend requests first could be a good way to "test the waters" so to speak.

The fact that you've had a Facebook for three years and haven't tried to speak to your cousins until now is not your fault. Your dad and your other older family members are the ones that fought, and you were only trying to protect yourself from your dad's possible negative reactions he'd experience if you tried to speak to your cousins earlier.

It is good that one of your cousins accepted your request. You could start out simple and thank her for accepting your request, then let her know you've missed speaking to her throughout these last few years. Perhaps something like that could get the ball rolling.


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Re: Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 10th 2017, 01:57 PM

Hey there,
Hoping I don't sound too rough by cutting straight to the "what should I say?" question. Just wanted go let you know that I did read through the thread till now. Just don't have much to add in that regards. I can relate very much as my father and his brother have argued back in 2011 abs still don't talk to each other even when both of them went through some serious life changes and what that meant for us kids was that we grew up with life changing circumstances and changed as people and the memories of us together are becoming fewer compared to how many memories we have with other people. That doesn't mean you should or shouldn't reach out. But because you want to reach out, keep in mind that both you and them have changed since you were younger. So maybe take it slow, almost like you're getting to know them.

That goes into your question of what to say. For me, I would start with
"Hey (insert name),
Thank you for the add. It's been a while since we last spoke. How have you been? What are you up to these days? I hope we can catch up sometime"
Or something along those lines. I like what Cassado had said about mentioning you've missed her.

I would treat it casual like I'm getting reacquainted with a friend. The fights among adults were their business but you're your own person and you're not your parents, neither are your cousins their parents.

Keep us updated if you'd like! I hope things go well for you.
   
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Re: Is there anything I can do for my cousin's? - June 10th 2017, 10:29 PM

Hey guys, thank you all for your helpful suggestions. I noticed her online and messaged her saying: Hey, I noticed your profile as a friend suggestion on my Facebook so I thought I'd send you a request, thank you for accepting it by the way. I know we haven't talked in years but I've missed you and wanted to ask how you've been? Hopefully we can catch up. She replied saying thanks for adding her, it's been ages and that she was really surprised but that it's good to hear from me. Anyways were talking now still an catching up. Her sisters have still not accepted my friend requests and I still don't know if they will but I'm hopeful. For now I'm just really happy to get to talk to one of my cousin's again, her and I were really close like sisters until we were 11.
   
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