Ask Shan Tell'emJET Love

I’m In Love With My Boyfriend’s Cousin

Dear Shan Tell’em,

Okay so here goes nothing. I’ve been with my boyfriend on and off for two years and we have our ups and downs but love each other. Before we got together, I dated his cousin for not even a month, but that eventually fell off because he didn’t want anything serious. It was basically just sex, but I wanted more. Recently, his cousin confessed that he wants me back. He said that he never really gave me a chance and wants to see where things could go. My boyfriend knows that we went out a few times, but I never told him that we actually had sex. I don’t know what to do because I love both of them, but I really want his cousin. Help!


In Between Love

Dear In Between Love,

Okay. You’re definitely wrapped up in a hell of a situation. As a rule, I do not recommend dating family members or people that my friends have been involved with. With that being said, I do understand that things happen, especially if you told your boyfriend that things weren’t serious with his cousin. Lying to him about having sex with him is another story. Why did you feel the need to lie? Were you afraid that he wouldn’t want to date you? I understand that you may have felt that your interaction with his cousin was nothing at the time that you got together. But the omission robbed him of the chance to decide if he wanted to proceed with you knowing the full story.

Being honest about your feelings would’ve given your boyfriend the opportunity to either proceed with caution, or leave the situation alone. Now, he doesn’t have that chance. Also, the fact that after two years, his cousin can still come back into the picture and shake things up speaks volumes. It’s interesting that no matter how great your relationship is with your man, just a few words from his cousin have you confused. Just because he is ready doesn’t mean that you should go running to him. Two years is not an eternity to be with someone, but I’m guessing that you are known by your mate’s family, your boyfriend knows your family and bonds have been established. It would look pretty damn trifling if you rolled up to the next gathering on his cousin’s arm. I’m all about living live the way that you want to, but this is something to consider.

Personally, I think you should let your boyfriend go if you’re not in love with him. I just feel that life is wayyy too short to settle. You may love him, but clearly your heart lies with someone else. If you’re not going to let him go, at least be selfless enough to tell him what is going on. It sounds like you have sorted out your feelings, so he deserves to know. As for the cousin that you’re in love with, I wouldn’t give him the time of day. Some people want you back simply because they see you with someone else. I’d also question if my feelings for the cousin were real if I were you. How deep could it really be if you guys just dated for less than a month and it wasn’t serious? Was it really dating or was it just sex? Are you just curious about the possibilities? Does he even want to date you exclusively? “Seeing where things go” is very vague.

There is a lot of potential for quite a few people to end up hurt, especially your boyfriend who is the most innocent one of all in the scenario. I highly suggest that you really take some time to think about what you really want and what is best for all parties involved. I will leave you with this to think about: would you want to be with someone who was in love with someone else? Consider that when thinking about your boyfriend.

Good luck and I wish you the best.

love pic

Got a question for Shan Tell’em? Email us at or simply comment in the section below!

Shantell E. Jamison is a Chicago-based writer, radio personality, and cultural critic. She’s also JET Magazine’s Digital Content Editor. She’s been featured on WBEZ 91.5FM, “The Monique Caradine Show,” Vocalo 91.1FM, KDKA Newsradio 1020AM, WBGX 1570AM, WYCA 102.3FM, Chicago Now, The Grio, The Black Youth Project, The Gate Newspaper and “Launching Chicago with Lenny McAllister.” Her debut book, “Drive Yourself in the Right Direction: Simple Quotes on How to Achieve Your Best Self” is available now at