Name Change – I am AGONIZING over this

posted 7 months ago in Names
Post # 16
538 posts
Busy bee

Do you feel like it’s the social pressure to change that is making it so agonizing? (Even f your partner isn’t pressuring you?)

Post # 17
468 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

personaperson :  Not the OP, but I absolutely think that social pressure is still really strong. Even my fellow rabid feminist academics change their name in some capacity (often adding his to the end), even if they still go by their birth name professionally. My Fiance is a bit of an anomaly, if these boards are any indication, because he couldn’t possibly care less what I do with my name, and if pushed, would probably say that in my shoes, he wouldn’t change at all due to the paperwork involved. In some ways, it makes trying to decide even harder when you don’t have the input of your partner.

Additionally, I do think it makes it harder when you identify as a feminist and have a working knowledge of feminist theory/history. Making a choice doesn’t mean that a choice is a feminist one. I don’t say that critically…I make non-feminist choices every day. But I do think it adds to the stress.

Post # 18
257 posts
Helper bee

I relate to your post SO hard! My wedding is next month and I still don’t know if I’m going to change my name. I figure I have time after the wedding and I’ll see how I feel then. But I think that if what feels most right to you is Yourfirstname Hislastname Yourlastname with your kids having Hislastname Yourlastname, then do it!!!! Screw what anyone else thinks. If anything, in the future people will probably be more confused by your husband’s name, not yours. If he wants to abdicate the decision, he can face the consequences! 

I’m also very feminist but also simultaneously feel invested in tradition. In particular, one of the primary things that makes marriage feel meaningful to me is that you’re declaring to the world that you’re making a new family together, so I’ve always really wanted my husband and I and our future kids to have the same last name. But I also identify very strongly with my name and feel it as a strong connection to my own family & heritage. My fiancé has also said that he doesn’t care if I change my name or not, so it feels like it’s on me to decide. 

I’ve been thinking that if I do change it, then I’ll probably go Myfirstname Mylastname Hislastname and our kids would have Theirfirstname Mylastname Hislastname. But this post is giving me a lot of good ideas! Maybe I’ll also take my husband’s name as my middle name instead of my last name. Even if my kids and I have two last names that are in a different order, at least they’d still be the same names and I feel like everyone would clearly be able to tell that. 

Post # 19
307 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2025 - City, State

Have you considered having two middle names?  You could be First Middle His Yours, which gives the option of using both last names at once (His Yours) in situations where you don’t mind the extra length, or just Yours when that feels too unwieldy.  He could be First Middle Yours His and the kids could have both last names, in either order.

Post # 20
46 posts

We had kids before marriage so our first son has my last name as his middle name. I want the same last name when we get married but my issue isn’t feminism it’s LAZINESS lol. It’s a huge effort to change your last name on everything. I’m so not looking forward to it. It will probably take me years to get there lol. I think you should just hyphenate your last name. Yours first his second. Even if it’s long who cares 

Post # 21
1237 posts
Bumble bee

I also debated this but I am attached to my maiden name.  I have lived in many places and had worked for the same company for a long time & people knew me by my unique name.  The only bad thing is when we had a daughter and she was born in the UK.  I don’t know if it was tradition but my husband said everyone chooses two middle names so my poor daughter has 2 middle and 2 last names.  Good thing my husband’s last name was short.  My daughter actually likes having the two names and I see that many kids in her school do too.  The funny thing is the woman I have met in recent years all seem to have kept their maiden name. I would double barrel as other’s have suggested.  I use my married name in my small business DBA now even though it is not my legal name.  It gives me choices….

Post # 22
100 posts
Blushing bee

My fiance and I will be adding each others surnames.

In our particular culture it is normal to have two separate (non-hyphenated) surnames, so we are currently FirstName FirstSurname LastSurname. Neither of us have middle names.

We both use only one of our surnames for work/e-mail/social purposes (he uses his second surname, I use my first), so we are each dropping the one we don’t use and swapping it for the other’s.

So I will be FirstName MySurname HisSurname and he will be FirstName MySurname HisSurname. And, since the order matches, our kids will follow the same trend and all be FirstName MySurname HisSurname.

Post # 23
151 posts
Blushing bee

My parents are Portuguese but I was born and raised in Australia and honestly when I realised people simply “changed” their name I was rather shocked. Portuguese custom is that you just simple add it on. So I will be first name my two last names his last name and If we have any children they will be first name my last name his last name. All names double barreled. I think it had to do with the importance of knowing which two families you were from, not just the one. I honestly can’t imagine all of a sudden not having my last name anymore. It’s part of who I am! I will definitely be double barreling but I guess a name is not important to everyone and what’s important is what makes you feel comfortable. If you double barrel like a previous bee said, you don’t have to always use both names! So the aspect of how long the name is won’t be so daunting! Good luck with your choice 🙂 

Post # 24
1254 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

I kept my name and I considered it from the feminist angle as well as from the “being a united family” angle but the main thing was that the idea of being called by my first name and his last name just sounded alien and not like me. It just didn’t feel right so I went with my gut.

Post # 25
3446 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

I didn’t want to change my name either. I kept my name and added Dh’s to mine. So my SS card and passport say first, middle, maiden, married. My driver’s license and all other documents say first, maiden, married because they couldn’t fit all 4 names. 

You can’t make a wrong choice here. It’s whatever you want to do with your name. 

Post # 26
7901 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

dianaj17 :  I think it varies a lot by your circles – most of my friends and family are very liberal and feminist and some of them gave me crap for changing my name. I dropped my maiden name completely and caught a lot of flack for not dropping my middle and moving my maiden to the middle.  In fact my husband’s aunts would refer to me by my initials on social media and knowingly subsitute in my maiden for the middle even though I told them several times that it’s not my name and those aren’t my initials. They’d even use my maiden name as our dog’s middle name even though that wasn’t true either!  I eventually stopped engaging with them at all until they used the proper names and they finally got the hint. 

Post # 27
1985 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

justforkeeps :  make a decision when you’re married. Someone will call you Mrs HisName and it’ll be the decider for you. You’ll be ok with it or you won’t. There’s a lot going on before the wedding, a lot to get your head round but you don’t need to make a decision straight away. You can also change your mind too! If you think people are going to give you a cheque as a wedding gift – subtly mention it to them that you’re unsure so they don’t write Mr and Mrs HisName on the cheque and you can’t cash it.

I was really torn about the name change. My husband wanted me to but I just didn’t feel it. Before the wedding I made the decision that I would change it. We got introduced at the reception as Mr and Mrs HisName and I thought ‘ohh… I don’t like it! Maybe it’s because it’s new though’. I went to fill out the forms to change my name on my drivers licence, signed it and just couldn’t bring myself to send it off. We had a discussion again and I just didn’t want to change so I didn’t. It’s a bit confusing because I didn’t let people know my thoughts at the time and so people refer to me as Mrs HisName all the time. But people would do that anyway. Just put a Facebook post out which says you’re unsure about the decision, you aren’t looking for opinions but if you change your name on Facebook then you’ve taken his name and are Mrs HisName, if after years your name is still as it is now, then can people address you as Mrs/Ms YourName and you haven’t changed your name.

Post # 28
2081 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

“Additionally, I do think it makes it harder when you identify as a feminist and have a working knowledge of feminist theory/history. Making a choice doesn’t mean that a choice is a feminist one.”

I agree. Of course it’s a choice, but there are responsible and feminist choices and choices that are neither. As feminists, we do have responsibilities to uphold those values and try to live lives consist with our beliefs — so yes I do think being a feminist should be a factor in your decision, otherwise what does it mean to be a feminist? That said, I don’t think changing your name is a necessarily  “non-feminist” act, though others may disagree. I would sleep on it. You can change your name at any time, so there’s no rush to jump up and do it immediately if you are torn. Give yourself some time and you may more strongly come out on one side or another.

Post # 29
6 posts

I fell hard for society pressure with my first marriage. I changed my name to his and our kids have his name. I HATED having no idea where the name came from or any real connection to it, people would comment and Id say, “I dont know, I married in to it”. So after the divorce I ran hard and fast to get my maiden name back, so my kids have their dads name, I have my maiden name, and my new husband has his name. Im keeping my name this time. Its what I want.

And a slight annoyance, his ex wife from 20 years ago kept his name after their divorce so, there is that.

Post # 30
128 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2019

I agonized over this too.

I like my name.  I’ve had it almost 34 years, after all.  So, at first I was going to keep my name, or possibly tack his last name onto the end of my full name.

But then I started to acknowledge that I kind of like the idea of the ol’ take the groom’s last name tradition.  I am also raising my (future) stepson with my fiance as he has custody…and it would be kind of cool to all have one single last name.  And we plan to have/adopt a child together.

The way I see it now is with my “old name” I went through a ton.  I learned a lot about myself on the journey from girl to woman, and what I stand for.  For me, my new name will represent this stronger and wiser woman I have become through all of the trials and tribulations.  That has helped me get excited about it. 


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