Post # 1
In my fiancé’s family there has been a tradition of the first-born male taking his father’s middle name and using it as his first name. Now, we aren’t married yet and haven’t got any children but when we eventually do and if we have a boy then I know he wishes to carry on this tradition.
Now, personally his middle name is not one I would choose to name my son but if it means that much to him then I would do it. However, I have two close (as in relational distance not personal friendship) relatives who also have the same name – it is quite a common one. One of them is my brother-in-law, my sister’s husband and the other is a cousin whom I have not seen in years and sadly his father, my uncle, has not seen him either. So, for this reason I do not wish to use the name.
I understand that it is an important name for my fiancé – it is his uncle’s name on his mother’s side and he was killed whilst serving in the army – so it would mean a lot to his family but from my family side it isn’t really a viable option.
Of course, all my problems will fly out the window if my fiancé’s uncle and his wife have another baby, this time a son, and call it by the name in question (it was his brother who was killed so there is a good chance it could happen) then obviously our son could not be called thasanememe name.
Anyway, sorry for the long post and I know it’s a long way off, but I think it is something that we need to start discussing before any babies appear. So how would you go about discussing it sensibly and maturely? I don’t want us to have an argument of
him: we are doing it because it’s tradition in my family
(I want a personal reason from him – it means a lot to me to keep this tradition going, Id like to remember my uncle etc.)
me: but I’ve already got family members with that name
him: it is happening
and so on!
so suggestions for a way to handle this situation when and if it arises, gratefully appreciated.
Post # 3
Can you compromise and use it as a middle name?
Post # 4
@FromA2B2013: If this is a bit of a deal breaker I would take Regina Phalange‘s advice and try to see if he would compromise for the name being used as a middle name. It will be your child too! You get a say, after all you’re the one who has to HAVE the baby 😉
Post # 5
@FromA2B2013: How old is the tradition? My feeling is that these traditions aren’t iron-clad, especially since I’m guessing it is “only” 2 or so generations old.
I also find it a bit “off” that you should be in effect told by your parents-in-law what to name your child. I have no real objection to family tradition dictating the middle name (which is hardly ever used); but to be told what his first name must be, the name you call him at dinner time for the next 20 years – no, that is not your in-laws’ choice. I think that is a tradition which deserves to die, or at least be modified. Pass it on as a middle name instead.
Post # 6
I was thinking about asking it to be a middle name…or doing something which seems to be done on both sides of our family which is to give it as the Christian name but then use the middle name as the name used. Usually I don’t agree with doing that but in this situation I could make an acception! Both his mum and granny are known by their middle names and my grandparents were also known by their middle names.
I wouldn’t have a problem with it if it wasn’t for the fact that I feel it would be insensitive to my uncle…using the name of a son he never sees. I do also have close friends with the same name and, to me, it would be weird to use it.
Post # 7
@paula1248: my FPIL have never said anything about it, it is coming from my fiancé. Apparently it goes back at least 4 generations, if not more. My fiancé’s father has his mother’s maiden name as his middle name and that, with a letter dropped, is my fiancé’s first name. I suppose on this “tradition” I can use a derivative of my maiden name (current surname) for our child’s middle name!
As I said above, if it wasn’t for the fact that it could be a fairly sensitive topic in my family then it would not bother me as much.
Post # 8
@FromA2B2013: What I mean is that your fiance’s middle name was chosen by his parents, presumably as a name they like (and perhaps would like a grandson called that?). But there was no regard to whether his future wife (you) like the name and want to use it. To me, that is what is “off”. I don’t see why you should be bound to a name they chose.
Post # 9
@paula1248: ah, I see what you mean! I think that he was given the middle name in memory of his mother’s brother who was killed so I understand why he has it, but I completely agree that it should be a mutual decision on both our parts.
Or I could look at it this way and say “fine, you can name our son whatever you wish but if we have a daughter then Im choosing the name and you don’t get a say!” I think he would think again about that, I hope.
Post # 10
I feel you. My FH is a fourth… so obviously if we ever had a boy we’d basically have no choice or else ruin tradition entirely. We’re planning on not having any kids, which is probably gonna be just as bad as naming a boy something else… still results in no fifth.
We haven’t gotten any flack for this so far, but I have a feeling that that might change as the years go on.
Agreed with PP, it’s absurd that your in-laws basically get to dictate the name of your child because of what they picked. No way! I agree with PP, use it as a middle name instead. It’s a compromise.
Post # 11
My DH’s family has the opposte of this tradition. They take the dad’s name and make it the son’s middle name. And I even find that a little sad because I feel like I “have” to give our baby a middle name that I didn’t pick. I’m sure it’s even worse for you as a first name that you didn’t pick.
I really think that both parents should be 100% on board with a name before it’s given to their child. It seems very unfair that your inlaws got to pick the name that your first son will have.
If you want to talk to your FI about it, you could explain to him what you told us about your familiy’s connection to the name. Any reasonable person would understand you not wanting to use it in that case. If you do take issue with not getting to pick your son’s name though, I think you should talk about that too. Just because something is traditional doesn’t mean it’s fair or right.
Post # 12
@bunnymama: thanks for your advice. I would happily give my son all three of my fiancé’s names as long as he could have a different first name.
I think I could broach the subject like this:
me: So if we have a son and use your middle name as his first name then I think the next one should be called Andrew.
Him: no, I don’t think that’s appropriate
me: Why not? I like the name.
Him: well, it’s name of my sister’s boyfriend/fiancé/husband/ex (depending on where they are in their relationship!) and I don’t think it’s right.
Me: Ok…so we can use a name of one of my BILs but not yours…yep, sounds fair to me!
Post # 13
@Bebealways: no offence to your fiancé but I really don’t like using the same first name generation after generation. Lacks imagination I think. My father is named after his father but reversed – e.g. Henry James to James Henry. But his father was dying at the time so I think I can understand that one!
Post # 14
cross that bridge if you get there. It’s pointless to argue about something that may never happen. As a compromise maybe you could pick some variation of the name or one that starts with the same letter. This isn’t his decision to make alone.
Post # 15
Lets face it, even Kate and William (when naming the future heir of the commonwealth) would have had a say in the naming of their child. (while keeping within traditions). This is an unreasonable request, both on behalf of your FI and his family.
I think that if one or both people within the marriage don’t like a name, than they need to keep looking- Simple!
Post # 16
@FromA2B2013: Hahaha I don’t like it either! But it’s not like he chose it, and I don’t have to deal with the connection much because we don’t hang with his family often. But tbh I totally rolled my eyes when I found out. (Also can you believe he is the second “fourth” I have dated? And it’s not like I’ve had a lot of boyfriends. How weird.)
If we ever DID have a son I’d probably risk their wrath by breaking the trend. He’s not super attached to it or anything either.