Dear Nadine Khan,
I am a 30-year-old guy. I am from a well-off family and have a great job. My problem is that the niece of my best friend, has fallen in love with me. She is 21, and used to call me Chachu (uncle). Her uncle, K, and I have been friends since grade one, and I am treated like a family member in that house. About a year ago, D stopped calling me Chachu not only in private, but in front of her family members as well. Everyone noticed when she started calling me H sahab, and her mother scolded her in front of me for being disrespectful. Very soon, her family realised that I was no longer Chachu for her. K told me that it was just a passing fancy as D is quite immature. I stopped going to their house because it had become embarrassing for me. D tried to call me many times, but I did not talk to her. Then I received a call from her father late one night; D had tried to end her life. Professor, I am a human being only and D’s interest in me changed the way I used to look at her. I also fell in love with her, but did not encourage her; I thought marrying her would be almost like incest. Her suicide attempt shook everyone, K told me that D is not my niece, and she called me uncle out of respect. Her father called me and asked me to marry her.
As I told you, I also love her but if I marry her what would the people think about me? This relationship taboo - uncle and niece – is confusing me. I would appreciate your help to clarify my thoughts.
Dear Confused Man,
First of all, there is no ‘relationship taboo’, as you called it. There is no religious prohibition, as D is not your niece, so you can marry her without any misgivings. What is deeply concerning, however, is her suicide attempt. D is too emotional and unstable, and this may cause problems in the future. A mentally stable person does not attempt suicide, so you should try to get her professional help.
You both love each other, and there is no reason why you cannot get married and live a happy life.
Best of luck
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