Post # 1
My husband and I got married just about a month and a half ago! I decided a long time ago, because of my feminist politics, that I would not change my name when I got married. My husband fully supports this decision, we’ve never fought over it. However, now that we’re married, I’m feeling this weird sense of regret that maybe I SHOULD have taken his name… Mostly this is stemming from me wanting to share a family name. However, when I think of the name change process and being known by his last name, it doesn’t feel right.
What I think I want to do is to socially go by a hypenated name Mylastname-Hislastname. I don’t want to legally change it to a hypen because that, frankly, seems like a pain in the ass for the rest of my life dealing with that damn hypen. I’ve considered changing my middle name to my maiden name, his last name to mine… But I’m a teacher and I go by my last name all the time and I really love it!
Anyone in a similar situation? Also, what should I do??
Oh, also, him hypenating as well won’t work–he hates hypenating!
Post # 3
Have you thought about keeping your name and going by his family name socially? To me that would be better than hyphenating (even unofficially) because you can have the shared family name you’re looking for. Or, have you thought about creating a new last name for both of you?
Post # 4
You’re going to get quite skewed results here. I’ve noticed people on here can be very conservative/traditional about things, so most people are going to recommend you take his name because it’s their preference for themselves/how they think it should be done.
I like the idea of making a new name for the pair of you! But otherwise I’d stick with what you’ve always wanted. I think if you’ve always had an opinion unswayed by circumstances, then that’s generally the right one for you and one you’re less likely to regret later. Especially when you’re in a profession where your surname is such a big part of your identity.
You can still refer to you and your husband as “The Smiths” socially if you want. You don’t HAVE to share a surname to be part of a clan! My sister married so has a different surname, but she wouldn’t be pedantic and correct us if we introduced our family as the Smiths, or someone saw a group of us and said “You must be the Smiths!”.
Post # 5
@Ms.GoodEarth: I see nothing wrong with you keeping your name legally and hyphenating it socially. I have the same conviction as you – I just can’t get past the idea that society dictates that the woman should change her name to her spouse’s name. If I had kids (but I won’t) I would want to be known as Mrs. HisLastName for anything involving the kids (school, doctors visits, soccer mom-ing, etc). But for work, bank, credit cards, etc I love seeing ladies keep their names for that stuff. The only time I use his last name is for wedding thank you cards and for any repairman who comes to our house because I don’t want them to be confused and think he is Mr. MyLastName.
Post # 6
@Ms.GoodEarth: @AlwaysSunny: What does taking a name socially mean? I don’t quite understand the concept.
Does it mean legally being Ms. Maidenname but saying, “Oh you can call me Mrs. Hislastname” when introducing yourself to people?
Because if that’s what it is, then what’s the point? I don’t get it.
Save for your children’s friends, your children’s teachers, and wedding invitations, people will probably not call you Mrs. Hislastname, because I assume that adults who know you well will refer to you by your first name.
When you do come across situations where you will be referred to by your last name, those most likely will not be social situations, because that will happen when people from work are calling to contact you, telemarketers are calling for you, you’re talking to the credit card company/cable company/internet company/etc, you’re filling out forms, etc etc.
If that’s the case, I don’t understand the point of being known by Hislastname “socially” at all, because you won’t be referred to that way in the vast majority of social interactions.
Post # 7
FWIW, I’m coming at this from the perspective that my mom hyphenates her name, and I’ve always know that she didn’t have the same last name, even though people would call her Mrs. Mydadslastname socially if they didn’t know her well. When she introduces herself to adults, she generally asks them to call her by her first name.
My mom doesn’t correct people, and therefore I guess goes by my father’s name “socially,” but I always found myself thinking “Well that’s not her real last name, her last name is hyphenated” as a child.
Post # 8
I’m afraid that this is something that only you can decide. There are no wrong answers, and the only person who can tell if something is right is you. (Plus, as PP alluded, I think that the poll might skew toward what people are doing themselves, which may or may not be the right decision for you.)
Perhaps it would help you to try out using different names and see how they work for you. Since you think you might like to go by a hyphenated name socially, try that out for a while and see how you like it. You don’t need to tell people at work until you’ve decided one way or the other, but maybe try it on the mechanic when you get your oil changed or a new aquaintance or such.
P.S. If it helps, remember also that what’s feminist is the choice you have regarding your name; we’re able to choose for ourselves how we want to live our lives and how we want to identify ourselves instead of being told by others what we must do (and that applies to changing or keeping a name). Your reasons for whatever you choose will be perfectly valid, just as are my sister’s reasons for changing her name and my reasons for keeping mine.
Post # 9
@AmyJCardiff: @MietzMietz: I figured the poll results would be skewed, but I like seeing results, almost as a social experiment 🙂 Also, I never intended on using the feedback here to make a decision, just wanted to hear what other women have done in a similar situation. And I agree, all decisions women make can be feminist, I didn’t mean to convey otherwise 🙂
@goodasitgets: Going by it socially would mean when we have kids, writing that name on forms, etc., writing it on facebook, signing it on emails, etc. but not actually changing it legally.
Post # 10
Wow… I’m amazed at those poll results, seeing as OP has clearly said she doesn’t want to change her name legally….
Post # 11
I think we get too hung up on names.
If Wentworth Marries Elliot and becomes Wentworth-Elliot. – have a daughter
Darcy marries Bennett and becomes Darcy-Bennett – have a son
Both children love their names, full of heritage etc. and want to keep them what are you going to have.
Mr and Mrs Wentworth-Elliot-Darcy-Bennett……etc. etc. if not which names out of that mouthful do you drop. Your mothers line, your fathers, both, none.
When it comes down to it you are who you are and a name is just a name. You cant have endlessly long ones, something has to go at some time, so bite the bullet, choose which ever of your two choices you like best or make a new one up……which makes even more of a nonsense of the whole thing.
Well, that’s how I’m trying to reason myself into accepting giving up my much loved family name and taking FI’s
Post # 12
Stick to your guns! If you want to keep your name, keep it. It’s yours, after all. I admit that since I am a graduate student an incredibly high percentage of the women I work with have kept their last names. None of them, even the ones with kids, regret it at all.
Growing up, a friend’s mom had never changed her name. In elementary school and into middle school we called her Mrs. X (her husband and childrens’ last name). She never corrected us, but by the time we got into high school we learned that she had kept her last name and we transitioned to calling her Ms. Y or by her first name. Would a situation like that work for you?
Post # 13
@Ms.GoodEarth: as a feminist, are your kids going to have your last name? or is that tradition too hard to break? (just curious!)
Post # 14
My mother never changed her name. It wasn’t a big deal for me growing up, and it was never once weird. No one ever questioned it and there was never any confusion. And that was in the 80’s. If you feel strongly about it, keep your legal name and just go by Mrs. Husband socially if you want.
I actually got a lot of heat FOR changing my name. That surprised me.
Post # 15
@AmyJCardiff: +1 the poll results reflect this. Hm.
If you have kids there’s no reason they can’t have your last name. I’m planning on either keeping my or having a second middle name. (I love my middle name as much as I love my last name!) I voted the first option though for you 🙂
Post # 16
@Dogsbody92: Yep, bizarre isn’t it? A poster can make it clear that they’ve never wanted to change their name and still don’t really want to now, but apparently a slight waver means OMG she should change it because it’s clearly what she wanted all along, she just never knew it.
It’s like the choice to have kids- 20 years of knowing you absolutely don’t want them for myriad good, logical reasons is somehow completely invalidated if a woman has a slight emotional twinge the day after playing with a newborn.