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Gravesite issue

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by avatar Morecoffeeplease 5 months ago.

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  • #681756 Reply
    Northern Star

    This will probably be ridiculed as a jealousy-induced non-issue, but I’m having trouble dealing. Someone who has a little experience might be able to help.

    My husband was a young widower, and we just got married late last year, after dating for about 2 years. We met a few months after his wife passed from a long battle with cancer (I didn’t know either of them at all during their marriage, so have no history to relate there). Just last month, while thumbing through Facebook photos, I came across a photo he posted of his deceased wife’s gravestone—which was actually placed in the ground months after we met (when we were very much involved). Much to my surprise, my husband’s name was on it as well, along with their marriage date.

    I got very upset and asked my husband about it; he said he did indeed have the gravesite next to his wife, but he had talked to his in-laws when the site was purchased and if he wasn’t going to use it himself, they would be buried next to their daughter. The stone was ordered when she passed, months before he met me. And he seems to think his name will stay there indefinitely because, of course, he’s not going to march up to his in-laws and ask them to remove it (well, obviously. His in-laws are great, and I wouldn’t want to do that to them, either).

    My problem is that I wonder if what I believed—that he grieved early, and was ready to move on—is really true. I wonder if he kept the gravestone from me on purpose (well, I know he did). And it’s not helpful when he says, “When we have kids, that seems like a good time to change it.” Makes me feel like I’m still in testing mode until/if I have a baby. My follow-up question was: “If you died tomorrow, where should I bury you?” It took a long time for him to figure out an answer, because he kept talking about time.

    I feel thrown because his opinion is that the longer the marriage lasts, the more solidly he feels about NOT being buried next to his first wife. Part of me wonders if I would have married him knowing I was still in the “wait and see” stage. It’s not something I thought to ask.

    Obviously my husband treats me beautifully, is attentive, thoughtful, loving, kind, etc. In our day-to-day, I couldn’t ask for more. BUT: I don’t want to think about having to “outlast” the other wife to take first position.

    So what is the right thing to do, here? Obviously getting the stone changed is a nonstarter. Talking it out hasn’t worked altogether, really. It’s just uncovered some unpleasant assumptions I shouldn’t have made. How can I look at this situation to feel comfortable with the fact that my husband’s name is on that gravesite? What would you do?

    #681768 Reply

    I would let it go. You met him a few *months* after she passed. Did you think he had moved through all five stages of grief and completely moved on?

    #681769 Reply

    What did you want him to do? Scratch his name off the tombstone?

    #681772 Reply

    It sounds like he may have started dating you too soon after his wife’s death. It also sounds like you are being very petty. The two names on the head stone is likely balm to the breaking hearts of your husband’s in-laws. They probably have at least mixed feelings about what they likely see as a too-quick remarriage.

    You also don’t know what promises your husband made to his deceased wife and her parents. It’s fair that he wants to keep those promises or at least not rush to break them because he remarried.

    You may think you are ‘just on trial’ but it is not unusual to be buried next to wife number one, because head stone arrangements and plot purchase arrangements are made at that time. It is also not uncommon for the final arrangements to be made on what will be best for the kids. That doesn’t mean you are on trial, it means your husband is saying he will certainly do what is best for any kids the two of you have in the future. I think he’s also telling you that making a change is an easier issue after wife number one’s parents pass.

    Jealousy is never a good look. Displaying such strong jealousy towards a dead first wife is an especially bad look.

    You say your husband treats you very well and the two of you are happy together. Why do you want to risk your marital happiness over this non-issue? You are behaving foolishly.

    #681775 Reply

    Do you seriously feel like you’re in testing mode until you have a baby?? I am 90% sure that’s in YOUR head.

    #681776 Reply

    You are choosing to take it to this level. Choose to stop that right now.
    You aren’t in “test” mode, you are his wife and he loves you, and he’s married you. He plans to be buried with you.
    At the time of his first wife’s death, what was he supposed to do? Tell his parents in law-no way?

    Let this go. Really. It is that simple. He’s not dying anytime soon, and neither are you.

    #681781 Reply

    Honestly? It amazes me how some people seemingly just sit around dreaming up vapid, silly things to fight over…

    Keep it up and you most definitely WON’T outlast wife #1. Your behaviour here has surely already given your husband pause… If nothing else, he is left thinking WTF?!?

    #681786 Reply

    Christ, what? Why on earth are you angry about the headstone? It just tells it how it was, when your husband’s first wife died he was her husband and he married her on the date mentioned. He presumably loved her, moving on later doesn’t change that and trying to erase that history is far more disrespectful to him/her than whatever you think is happening to you.

    I get the feeling that your husband is trying to placate you because if you’re this stirred up about someone just acknowledging their deceased spouse no wonder he has to pretend he’ll be ready to change headstones etc when some arbitrary event happens. Can he still not grieve what he lost even though he’s happy with you? If you allowed that he probably wouldn’t need to deflect with silly answers designed to push back the timeline. Grief and loss are a permanent thing. They ebb and flow and certainly after time will fade but they never entirely go away. You can’t force his wife out of the picture and the more you do the more it will hurt your marriage. Realistically being on his case about this certainly doesn’t help and it’s not likely to sway him more to your side.

    #681789 Reply

    I think if you were having other problems with him that indicated that he wasn’t committed to you, then this might be something important to think about. But if everything is fine, then I don’t think that anything needs to be done. It sounds like your big question is whether you two got together before he was done processing her death. A few things about that. One, the grief process is very complex, and it’s not something you can say, “OK, now it’s done.” Two, at this point, why does it matter? The only way it would be matter would be if it were affecting your relationship right now, and it’s not.

    I know this isn’t the same type of loss, but my friend was asked out by her now-husband literally a week after being dumped by this guy she was totally in love with. If anyone had asked me or her or anyone who knew her if she was ready to start another relationship, we’d say no. But she had had a crush on him previously (like 10 years prior), so they went out and he pursued her more (she was wary, but still spent time with him). Eventually, she was all in, they’re married, and now they are having children. It probably was TOO soon, in theory, but it all worked out.

    I don’t think the “outlasting” think is all that bad, honestly. I think that a person who is married for 20 years and then meets someone new and is married for 1 year to them is in a much different situation than someone who is married for, say, 2 years and then meets someone else and is married to them for 10 years. Even with my parents’ divorce, my stepmom has been married to my dad for longer than my parents were married, meaning she knows more of his great-nieces and great-nephews, she knows some of his niece/nephews spouses that my mom didn’t, etc. It’s a different dynamic.

    I’d also agree with that I’m sure at the time the headstone was made, he was in a different space. Some people when their spouse dies, do feel like they’ll never meet anyone else, or at least don’t consider it, until much later. If this is really upsetting you, it might be helpful to talk about it with a therapist and sort out the feelings that are being brought up.

    #681790 Reply

    I don’t think he HID anything from you. Just didn’t bring it up. Did you really think his name wouldn’t be on his wife’s headstone??? They didn’t have some bad break up. She died. You are in fact being very petty and wasting energy. A man (or woman) who has loved and had a good relationship with another is a far better partner than one who didn’t. You should be happy he loved his wife so much….ya know so he will likely love you just as much!

    #681793 Reply

    I’ve read this post several times now, trying to put myself in the poster’s position and think through how I’d feel in her situation.

    I’m just not getting it. The headstone wouldn’t bother me in the least. Not for a second. I would assume that by the time he and I had lived a long, full life together, he’d be wanting to be buried with me, and I wouldn’t give it a second thought, let alone mention it to him. Actually, I prefer cremation, so I won’t be buried with anybody, anyway.

    The bigger issue is that you seem to see yourself as being in a competition with his dead wife. That he has to pick one of you to be in “first position.” That he has to prove he loves you more than her. That you have to replace her in his heart. If you really do feel that way, please save yourself time and stress and start the divorce now, because the marriage won’t survive that.

    She will always be his first wife. She will always have a place in his heart. But you ARE his wife, today, now, and hopefully for the rest of your lives. Stop competing.

    #681804 Reply

    You should talk to a counselor about this. I know we encourage that a lot, but I don’t think this is about the headstone, it’s about “first in his heart.”

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