I'm in love with a distant in-law. Are we committing incest? - Evewoman

I'm in love with a distant in-law. Are we committing incest?

I am 20 years old and in a relationship with a guy aged 24 years. My boyfriend is a brother to my cousin’s husband so I consider him my in-law. My mother found out about the relationship and is not happy. I am not sure if we are committing incest or if we are going against taboo. We are not from the same clan and we are not blood relatives but everyone is against this. I love him and he loves me too but I need clarity on this. Please advise...


A brother to your cousin’s husband is not a close relative and that is not incest. Everyone is against it because they are basing their arguments on African traditions. The Bible is clear on who close relatives are in Leviticus 18:6-18. Involve parties on both sides to resolve the issue.

{Pastor Ben Shikuku, Bungoma County}

You may not be committing incest, but you need the approval of your family members, especially when the relationship is serious. I propose that you stop your relationship with this man and explain to him your family’s misgivings. Do this before things get more complicated.

{Oyoo Wycklife, Annex}

My mother once told me to be careful whenever I find myself the only one going north while everybody else is going south. It is a sign that something is amiss. Sit with your mother and do much of listening than talking. Understand her point of view and do not be in haste to judge or criticise everyone opposed to this. Listen to your parents and you will live long.

{Ouma Ragumo, Sifuyo School}

You already have the answer to your question. Your mother and everyone else may be against it, but you two have the final say. Seek advice from a counsellor.

{John Mogeni, Dadaab}

Since you neither share same blood or clan, your relationship does not amount to incest. However, if your parents are against it and that it is a taboo in your community, end your relationship before the community’s curses fall on you. Prevention is better than cure.

{Ojou Robert, Koyonzo}

I do not see incest in the relationship and I would have  loved to encourage you to carry on. However, if everyone is against it, there must be something that is probably hidden from you. Take some steps back and re-examine the relationship to see if you have made the right decision.

{Tasma Charles}

Marriage is an institution that is built on ‘a willing buyer willing seller basis’. Therefore, it should be a lifetime decision that leaves no room for regret. Starting a marriage without the blessings your family members may not be a good idea.

{Onyango Paul  Nabwoba, Mumias}

Your mum is an important person in your life and  if she is not happy with your relationship, you have to think twice. Maybe you are breaking a taboo. Consult with her and other elders before you decide on the next move.

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{Elvis Ogola, Seku}


As a matter of principle, there is no blood relationship between the two of you.

But technically this may cause some disharmony within the family which is evidenced by the way your mother feels about the whole issue.

Be warned early that this is likely to be the general mood within the family.

However, you are still young and I believe you will meet other interesting people along the way.

 I have sufficient reason to believe that this relationship is definitely not headed for marriage.

If you choose to go ahead with the relationship, it is important to know that it is likely to bring resentment within the family. The best thing to do is to terminate it before it gets complicated.

All the best.


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