Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
Three years ago, I met my mother’s sister in a reunion. We are aware of the existence of each other but like the other siblings of my mother, we are not really close because of distance.
When I met her during the reunion, we kicked it off—I felt like she’s a cool person and she thought I was cool too. Just normal reactions when you get to know somebody the first time, I guess.
Facebook Messenger happened and it got to the point where we were talking every day. And after about a year, I kind of developed feelings for her romantically—I felt it was mutual, but I did not dare ask. And then somebody from the family got sick and she decided to visit, she said she wanted to see our place, too.
I can’t recall what happened but at some point during her stay, we kissed each other. And it was the best kiss I have had in my life. It sort of put the feelings we had for each other on the spotlight. We talked about it and said this may possibly be wrong, etc. and decided to stop talking to each other, evaluate things, and talk about it maybe a year after.
It was so hard, we blocked each other on all means of communication but my feelings were still the same. I see her recent pictures in my other family’s social media and I just want to hug her. I miss her so much.
Now, it has been a year and eight months since we last talked. I found out just last week that she will be visiting the Philippines for a convention. We saw each other, we talked, and a few days later—we had sex.
I am 30 and she is 38 years old. There’s no problem about someone being too young to just chalk off things to hormones. We both had healthy relationships, she used to have a boyfriend and I did too. But we both broke it off with them even before we met.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes with my life and whenever I do, I always get anxious carrying that guilt. I cannot relax but with this one, I don’t feel guilty. My negative feelings about it is that I worry about the possible backlash from other people, especially when our family finds out.
Some thoughts, please?
Holy mother, E!
I read your letter the minute it arrived on my e-mail. I must admit, there were a lot of “Oh, dear Gods” involved as I was reading the letter. At first, I was like, “I cannot with this.” But then, I realized that who the eff am I to be the judge of your incestuous affair?
At the core, that’s where your problem lies, E—you’re sleeping with your tita. Last time I checked, parang incest is still considered a taboo in pretty much the majority of the entire world. I mean, yeah, sure, it still happens all around the world, but people never really talk about it. In the US, not a single state allows incest especially if it’s in the first degree. That sh*t amounts to half your life in prison and the penalties varies from state to state. In the Philippines, they won’t allow you to get married if you’re blood-related up to the fourth civil degree.
There’s usually an uproar when an incestuous relationship is revealed to be true. People are just not that accustomed to the thought of boning someone who is blood-related to you. I did a bit of online sleuthing and I found out about Genetic Sexual Attraction (GSA), a term not at all recognized by the American Psychological Association, but here we are. GSA was coined by Barbara Gonyo after reuniting with her estranged son for many years. She wrote the book I’m His Mother But He’s Not My Son which recounts her intense love for her adult son.
You know how at the end of the Twilight series, that pretty boy werewolf was all like, “Damn, she mine,” when Bella and Edward’s daughter was born. Homeboy imprinted her, or whatever the hell that Stephenie Meyer wrote, making the baby pretty much his b*tch for life. It’s creepy because, dude, you wanted to bone the mother of that child and now you want to bone said child, but I think it’s just one of the things that made Twilight such a huge hit among the dumb teenager demographic.
Anyway, the complete opposite of that is what is known as the Westermarck Effect. In his book The History of Human Marriage, Edvard Westermarck basically theorizes that people are sexually desensitized to those who have been with them in the early stages of their lives. During the first few years of a person’s life, you are introduced to these roles: you’re the kid, she’s the mother. You’re the brother, and she’s the sister. Now, these roles are drilled down on you as you grow up. You end up loving instead of lusting.
This is how the Westermarck Effect ties up with your whole incest thing: you did not grow up with your tita because she lived far away. You know of her, but you never really knew her-knew her. And then, here you are meeting for the first time as you’re fast approaching thirties and she’s just a couple of years ahead of you. You didn’t really feel that she’s your tita because when you started knowing her, she’s already this fully-formed being who was mostly absent during your formative years. So there are no established roles, and she’s just a really hot tita.
It’s like Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, in which a man is held captive for many years. After being freed, he vows to seek revenge and finds help through a young girl. Of course Oldboy ends up falling in love with that girl… who is really his daughter pala. Sorry for the spoiler, but anyway the reason why he’s locked up is because he ratted out on this dude who was having an incestuous relationship with his sister. The sister ended up dead and the brother wanted his revenge against the one who ratted them out. It’s his sick way of getting his revenge—those Korean villains are bonkers.
Another way to look at it is that you just found her really attractive because she’s more than familiar―she’s family. They call it Assortative Mating or some other science-y sh*t, but what they’re saying is that people have a tendency to fall in love with someone who have similar physical and mental traits. Having the same blood running through yours and your tita’s veins makes the attraction even stronger. Those fancy schmansy scientists can’t find a term for it, but we all know it as lukso ng dugo, or that sudden jolt or fuzzy feeling you get when you know that you’re related to someone. You know this because it’s such a teleserye staple.
Even with all these scientific bullsh*t backing you up or tearing you down, you can’t deny one thing: it’s love. You’re both adults who have been through a lot after all these years dealing with those men (ugh). I know it’s selfish, but I always strive to be happy even though it’s at the expense of someone else’s feelings. It’s not a bad thing; I’m not ashamed of it. I’m an Aries, so I would usually chase anything and everything that would make me happy. It’s either a brand new watch or eating at an expensive restaurant even though I haven’t been cashing any checks. I thrive in my own happiness.
E, you and your tita are fully-aware about these things. It’s between you two if you’re going to spend a life of repression or spend a life of being judged, but in love. IDK about these readers reading this sh*t, but I’m all about personal joy. It’s going to ruin you and your entire family if they know. I mean, buti na lang she’s your tita and there’s no malisya if you start living together,diba?
If your love is real then just f*ck with all the hate that will surround you. I really don’t want to bring you down, E, so here’s Mariah Carey’s beautiful music video for “Through the Rain.”
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Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.