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Inmate worried about romance with distant cousin

DEAR AMY: I'm an inmate, incarcerated for financial crimes. I have been down for three years (this time). I'm expected to be released in a few months. During this time, a distant cousin and I have become very close (she is either my fourth or fifth cousin). In the past year, our relationship has become romantic. She has started to speak of us being married and having children when I get out. While I care very much for her and would even enjoy spending my life with her, I can't get over the fact that we are distant cousins. Is there anything wrong with us being romantically involved and having a sexual relationship? I'm creeped out at the thought of intermarriage. The worst part is this would actually be a healthy person for me to associate with once I'm released. I'm just confused about it.

-- Unsigned

DEAR UNSIGNED: There are some women who are attracted to incarcerated men, and I think in rare cases these relationships can work out, but to me it seems basically foolhardy. But hey -- it's her (and your) life.

If you're worried about distant cousins marrying, think of the English royal family. They've been doing this for generations. Genetically speaking, you two have nothing to worry about, though genetic testing before having children would be a good idea.

DEAR AMY: I was interested in your letter from "Concerned Mom," the woman who worried because her daughter and her classmates were being supervised in the locker room by a lesbian gym teacher. I guess your advice was good enough when you said that this person is a lesbian, not a pedophile, but how is this situation any different from a heterosexual man supervising these girls?

-- Wondering Reader

DEAR READER: Several people posed this question. My answer is: I don't know how it's different. But it is.

Maybe readers can help to answer this question. I welcome your replies.

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