My Boyfriend & I Found Out We’re Distantly Related But We’re Still Together

When my boyfriend and I decided to take DNA tests, we had no idea that it would turn our lives upside down and nearly destroy our relationship. Through the tests, we discovered that we were related (though very distantly) and it sent us into a total panic. Here’s what happened.

  1. We’d been together awhile when we found out. If we’d just met each other, it probably wouldn’t have been so shocking, but we’d been dating for over six months and our relationship was getting serious. It was the last thing we were expecting, and I’m pretty sure we were both close to puking when we realized what we’d discovered.
  2. I instantly took a pregnancy test. I was terrified that I was going to live out some horror story from a previous century of having a child with a disability because of my horrible choice in boyfriends and ruin the lives of everyone in my family and my unborn child. Luckily, I’d been on birth control since I was 15 and was definitely not pregnant.
  3. We were extremely embarrassed. I think it took us a few hours before we could even get close enough to touch each other again. We were mortified and didn’t have anyone to blame. It was hard to even look at each other, and even now, when I think about that moment, I cringe a little inside. It was one of the most uncomfortable and surreal moments of my life.
  4. We still haven’t told either of our parents. We’d met each other’s parents early on and we’re pretty close to them, and it was probably because of this that we simply can’t bring ourselves to tell them what happened even now. Not only are we terrified of their response, but we’re also worried that they’ll misunderstand the whole situation and blow it way out of proportion.
  5. It feels like a dirty secret that we’re both disgusted by. The thing is, we don’t actually have anything to feel guilty about. Neither of us did anything wrong, it was just one of those weird coincidences that life throws at you sometimes, albeit an embarrassing and slightly disturbing one. But the longer we keep it to ourselves, the worse we feel. We’ll have to tell our parents at some point and they’ll probably not think it’s a big deal, but neither of us are ready yet.
  6. We’re not even that closely related. The bottom line is that it turned out that we’re very distantly related. Like, not even enough for it to matter at all if we had kids or wanted to get married or decided to make a family tree. If tracking your ancestry with DNA tests wasn’t a thing, like it wasn’t only a little while ago, we never would’ve found out.
  7. We almost broke up over it. Even though it’s not a huge deal that way, way back our families merged, the initial shock of it nearly broke us up. We were both afraid of what other people would think, and we felt like we were doing something wrong. Even after we’d decided that it wasn’t the worst thing ever, we had a hard time getting things back to normal.
  8. Telling our friends actually helped. When we’d come to terms with what we’d found out and couldn’t keep the news to ourselves any longer, we told a few of our friends in as casual a way as we could. To our surprise and intense relief, they didn’t think it was a big deal at all. They laughed, of course, and still make jokes about it, but mostly they’re just glad it didn’t happen to them. A lot of them don’t even seem to remember it now.
  9. It took us a while to feel okay with sex again. Even after we’d decided it wasn’t a big deal and that we could laugh it off and stay together, getting comfortable having sex again was a battle unto itself. We even considered getting couples therapy but didn’t want to go through the hassle of telling yet another person what had happened. In the end, we made it work out of sheer will, and I’m happy to report that everything is just as fulfilling between us as it used to be. But it was really challenging for a while.
  10. The whole situation forced us to be better together. The ordeal that we went through was kind of a nightmare and I’m still amazed we stayed together. It would’ve been so easy to break up, but some part of us knew that we wanted to stay together and that in the end, the whole thing wouldn’t be an issue for us or for anyone else. The entire thing forced us to reevaluate our relationship and decide if it was really worth saving. In the end, it’s made us stronger.
Rose Nolan is a writer and editor from Austin, TX who focuses on all things female and fabulous. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Surrey and a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Law. She’s been writing professional since 2015 and, in addition to her work for Bolde, she’s also written for Ranker and Mashed. She's published articles on topics ranging from travel, higher education, women's lifestyle, law, food, celebrities, and more.