- 2 weeks ago
I saw a couple of posts about names but I felt like mine was a little different so I went ahead and wrote my own post/thread, I hope that’s okay.
I’m getting married in a couple of weeks, and I don’t know what to do with my name. I’m at kind of a transition point in my career too, so I could either choose to keep my current name or change to a new name without much confusion among my colleagues/patients.
(To preface, I truly don’t mean to be offensive to anyone who made any naming decisions any way or another, I fully acknowledge that some of my pre-conceived notions and stereotypes are NOT accurate or based in reality, and I am trying hard to actively fight those subconscious thought processes. I think there are myriad reasons why someone would or wouldn’t change their name, and I think everyone ultimately does what’s best for them and that doesn’t make anyone better or worse than anyone else! I just don’t know what’s best for me or what I truly want.)
Here’s my dilemma: I wish I wanted to keep my last name. I love hearing about how women feel fiercely connected to their maiden names and how it’s an integral part of their identity, and I wish I had that. But I don’t. My last name is in the top 10 most common last names in the US (Jones, Brown, Smith, Johnson…), so I’ve just never felt a strong connection to it. I’ve met more than a few people with my exact same first and last name over the years. BUT, I’ve worked really hard to get where I am with this name. It’s on my college diploma and medical school diploma. Almost all the female physicians I’ve met have kept their maiden names after marriage, and to me that’s really cool and special. I just love the sentimentality and feminism of women deciding that they worked hard to get higher education and establish professional and academic careers so they are keeping their name in honor of that.
I quite like my fiance’s last name, and it sounds good with my first name. It also sounds good hyphenated with my current last name and isn’t too long, but I’ve never been a big fan of hyphenated names and it seems like it could be difficult (for email addresses, legal documentation, filing purposes, etc). I like the idea of sharing my last name with the future kids, either in part or in whole (we wouldn’t give them the hyphenated name, just his last name). My fiance does not have any preference for what I do, other than that he doesn’t love hyphenated names (but would support me if this were my decision) and he doesn’t really want to take on my name instead being as it is much more common than his and we both like his name better. Neither of us are super jazzed about the idea of coming up with a unique name just for us.
I would happily change my last name to his if it weren’t for this desire I have to WANT to make a feminist decision (and I know, feminism is the right to choose — but I do feel like “bucking the trend” in this situation is inherently a more feminist option than changing my name to the man’s name). I had always planned on changing my last name, until I suddenly realized somewhat recently that I subconsciously think of women who keep their maiden names as somehow more liberal and progressive and independent and ambitious — which are all things I am and want to be thought of as! But that seems dumb, because if I want to change my last name to his, I should just do it, that’s traditional anyway, right? It just makes me feel squirmy and guilty inside like I’m betraying my education and career that way, and becoming more of the passive traditional role within the marriage instead of the high-achieving breadwinning partner.
Help talk some sense into me either way! I’m probably making this way harder than it has to be.