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Dating a Relative

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Why Some People Date a Relative

In today’s society people are very mobile in that we relocate more and change jobs more often than in early times. For that reason meeting new people is much simpler than it used to be when people basically were born and raised in a community and remained in that town for the majority of their adult lives. Today people also travel more and have a much broader view of the world because they see more of it. As well, the Internet has brought a whole new dimension to the dating scheme of things. People can now sit from their comfort of their own homes or offices and connect with other eligible singles in their own communities or anywhere in the world.

The reasons for dating a relative back in history included keeping property and land in the family which were both very important elements, especially for families who had little in terms of monetary means. The practice of dating and marrying cousins was extremely popular back in history and still happens today. Cousins often share a great deal in common but they are not as biologically close as are brothers and sisters and they often do not live under the same roof and therefore are not raised together.

At the present time there is no European country that forbids first cousins to marry one another. In both Canada and Mexico it is not against the law to marry a cousin. In the United States there are some restrictions put on cousins marrying each other. At the present time it is permissible to wed your first cousin in 26 states. In 30 out of the 50 states a person can marry their second or third cousin but not their first cousin.

Cousins marrying cousins is prohibited in certain cultures because it is viewed as incestuous whereas other cultures have no qualms about it at all. Currently the frequency with which cousins marry in the United States is an average of 1 in 1,000 while in Japan it is currently 4 in 1,000. It is estimated that approximately 20 percent of all married couples around the globe are first cousins. It is also believed that from a historical perspective, 80 percent of all the marriages that took place occurred between individuals who were first cousins. Interestingly enough two great minds from history, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, both married their first cousins. The president to serve the longest term in United States history, Franklin D. Roosevelt married a cousin of his although she was not a first cousin, although she did have the exact same last name as him. The very first prime minister of Canada , Sir John A. MacDonald also married his first cousin.

Why the people listed above married their cousins is not for us to know but it was probably related to the fact that the opportunity to get out and socialize with other people was minimal and these individuals probably spent a great deal of time working. Their cousins were already in their lives and likely lived close and therefore it is understandable that romance would blossom.

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