Missing My Cousin

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I am 20 year old male and i have a 12 year old cousin and we used to be really close, more like friends but things changed. I had some serious medical illness and our families have some problem with each other (so we are not talking). Me and my cousin were like best buddies, he used to hang around me, take me to places, just two of us all time when i went to his house but he never contacted me after that even when i had accident. I remember him so much and i wonder how can he forget me? No call nothing and i guess 12 year old is mature enough. Sometimes i feel all the fun and time just two of us spent together was fake, he was never my friend. I had even seen him in dream, two of us hanging around. Really sad. Please help. thanks

A: I’m sorry you’ve been through a hard time and that you miss your cousin. But your reaction is troubling. You talk as if this kid is older or the same age as you, not substantially younger. With an eight year age difference, it’s unrealistic and probably inappropriate for you to be longing for contact like this. What did you mean, “take you to places”? That’s a reversal of roles. If anyone is doing the “taking to places,” it would normally be an older relative indulging a youngster. It would make sense to me if you missed contact with his whole family but that’s not what I’m sensing in your letter.

I have a guess that making friends is hard for you. Rather than finding people your own age and stage to hang with, you are seeking companionship and good times with a child. If that’s the case, you need to be working on finding people at your college to spend time with. If you are shy, a great way to begin to get to know people is by joining in some kind of charity or project or club. When the focus in on the project more than on each other. It allows a slow and non-threatening way to begin to relate.

Even if your families reconcile, I hope you will take some distance from your cousin until you can establish a more appropriate role with him. You should think of him as a cute kid, not as a peer.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Nov 2013

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2013). Missing My Cousin. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/11/16/missing-my-cousin/