(Closed) Name change options/opinions– what would you do?

posted 6 years ago in Traditions
Post # 16
Member
541 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

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robsbeach:  I don’t understand why people think that a woman’s last name is her father’s but that a man’s last name isn’t also his father’s? Makes no sense. 

Post # 17
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1453 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

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bettercallsaul:  I wasn’t saying that.

Post # 18
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19 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2016

I’ve been agonizing over this too — my fiance and I actually got in a big fight about it a few hours after we got engaged when he off-handedly said something about my new name and I said I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to change it, or I want to hyphenate or what, all of which he took great offense to at that point but at this point I think he’s come around to the idea that I can “add” his name to mine in some way, which I think I’m also fine with.  The problem I’m facing is how to do it.  I don’t think I want to hyphenate, and I want to continue to use my name professionally, but I’m wondering about the legality and potential administrative confusion of using only one last name or the other in certain contexts.  Would it be better to have my name as a second middle name but just continue to use that as my only last name in professional contexts (I imagine this could result in some annoying confusion though)?  Or have two (non-hyphenated) last names and choose which one (or both) I want to use in different contexts?  Or just have both as either middle and last name and always use both (like Hillary Rodham Clinton)?  I also am part Mexican and have thought about using Spanish naming conventions like “Marriedname de Maidenname” but I think that would probably result in even MORE confusion with the general population and also might seem pretentious or something…?

Post # 19
Member
1103 posts
Bumble bee

I sympathize with the struggle.

I think I’ve finally come to terms with the decision I want to make. I’m pulling a Hillary and taking my maiden as middle. 

I really like my middle name, but having it on legal forms isn’t as important to me as having my FULL identity on legal forms (which for me is made up of my past and my future). I love the idea of taking on his last name and the cohesiveness that it symoblizes (to me anyway), but I did not want to drop my maiden either. I don’t even think I’m particularly attached to my last name, it’s just the act of actually dropping it that bothers me, if that makes any sense. 

Post # 20
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4464 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

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robsbeach:  Just wanted to say that I actually relate to what you said about father/husbands last names. My maiden name was the name of my deadbeat dad. I never associated my identity with my maiden name. Yes it was MY name, but it always represented my father to me. I was happy to change it when I got married. Now I’m proud of my last name and I feel that I identify much more with it than I ever did with my maiden name. I get that it’s different for different people though, some people highly associate their identity with their name and others don’t. 

And for the people that mentioned that it’s NBD to have different last names in a family, sure, it’s becoming much more common, but it did always bother me that I had a different last name than everyone else in my family. So it’s not necessarily NBD for everyone either. 

Post # 21
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123 posts
Blushing bee

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ClaudiaKishi:  I also don’t get that argument at all! At what point does a woman ever get to claim her name as her own? I also strongly dislike the phrase “maiden name”, since it implies a woman’s birth name is just some temporary name given to a girl until she fufills her destiny as a wife. No, thank you! 

OP, I feel your struggle a lot. I’ve never wanted to change my name, and my Fiance totally supports that (his mom also never changed her name and still somehow managed to be recognized by society as his mother haha). But my FI’s last name is crazy long and very difficult to pronounce. A few months ago he asked me if I would mind if he took my last name. Honestly, I had to think about it. I don’t know how men can be so okay with it, without a moment of pause. To me, Mrs. X is my mom’s name and Mr. X was my dad. So we sat down and made a pro and con list of various family names, and in the end Fiance taking my last name just made the most sense for us. I’m actually so excited about it now. I will continue to use Ms. since I don’t think my marital status should have anything to do with my title, but I love that we made this choice together. 

So far reactions have been overhelmingly positive. My family was thrilled about it since they love Fiance so much already. Our friends all seem to love it. We haven’t told his family yet, but we’re not expecting it to be a big deal. Only one guy friend made a crack about me “wearing the pants” and it really wasn’t a big deal… I just now know that guy’s a bit of an ass, which I already sorta knew lol. 

I recommend sitting down and discussing it with your Fiance. Don’t worry about what friends or family will say. A name is about the most personal decision there is. Go for what makes the most sense for you guys as a family, whether that is one name or two or hypenated or a new name altogether. Good luck!

Post # 22
Member
275 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

I haven’t 100% decided yet. I’ll either keep my name entirely or add his to mine, no hyphen. So Eirlys Mylast Hislast. I don’t have a middle name, if I did I’d keep it regardless. He’s happy for me to add his to mine, I think he’d be a bit disappointed if I kept mine solely but I’ve told him from before we were a couple that I’d keep my name so it won’t be a surprise. His family will raise eyebrows, mine will be pleased. Both my parents are slightly more rebellious than their families so they enjoy me causing mini scandals  (I’m veggie for example which Mam’s family are still hiding from her Father).

In some ways taking his name would be easier. I have a reasonably common English surname. My Father, who has a very English first name and middle name has no trouble with our surname whatsoever. My Mother and I, who both have very Welsh names in England (where Welsh names are butchered by English people – none of my colleagues can say my name right) however have a lot of issues with our surname as it sounds similar to an Arabic surname. Our unusual names then prompt people to assume it’s the Arabic surname if they haven’t seen it written down. FI’s name is very English, more unusual than mine but very easy to spell and pronounce. My name flows nicely with hislast. I do use it socially sometimes – like when booking taxis or restaurants.

In your situation I’d keep your name, and have him keep his. I know loads of families where everyone’s got different last names (adoption, mum’s maiden, first child has their dad, second has mum’s DH’s name etc) and they’re all fine. You don’t all need the same name to be a unit. I can see your trepidation re: him taking yours. I’d feel the same.

It may be worth considering blending your names. Both mine and FI’s names could be blended to form two other reasonably well known English surnames. It may be worth playing with letters and seeing what you get.

Post # 23
Member
556 posts
Busy bee

Could you perhaps delve back a few generations and find a name you both like that way? It still has a history and a meaning that way, if people query it. 

Post # 25
Member
352 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2017

I feel your pain and I think you’d be better to keep your name until such time as hypothetical kids come about and then revisit the topic. Maybe by then you’ll want to change it or possibly have a more firm stance about absolutely keeping it.

Besides, most people who you know professionally will likely call you by your current name, friends and family will call you whatever you decide you want to be called, and though other people may assume his last name is yours, you get to decide to correct them or not so it’s kind of a win-win for you.

I took my soon/to-be ex-spouse’s last name and it took months before I ‘remembered’ that it was my name when I would introduce myself to someone. 2 years later, I still wasn’t spelling it correctly in certain instances (e.g. Spelling it out letter by letter over the phone). Plus, since it was slightly different than a common name it was constantly being misheard/spelled – like Callahan vs Callaham.

I didn’t realize how much my maiden name meant to me and how I felt represented by it until I gave it away in favor for someone else’s and then wanted desperately to have my name (and marital status) back! Like many PPs, my maiden name was MY name – the fact that my father has the same name is irrelevant and I don’t feel like it’s HIS name, I feel like it’s mine. Now that I’m soon to be divorced, getting my name back feels important to me. The fact that I’m already engaged to someone else (long story) makes me second guess having ANOTHER new last name. 

My mom changed her name for her previous husbands (the fathers of her kids) but never changed her last name to her current husband’s name. She was known in her career by her first name and my father’s last name. When my older sister was married she took her hubby’s name, so when my mom got remarried after her divorce from my dad, changing her name to her new husband’s would have meant changing it from the last name that she and I shared (along with her ex husband/my then estranged father). She decided to keep my dad’s last name because that’s how she was known, that’d been her name for 20 years and it was her unmarried daughter’s name (me). I think she didn’t want me to be ‘alone’ with a last name that no one else in my family had (again, because of the estrangement with my Dad). I will say that it is occasionally a point of contention in her current marriage but it’s been ten years now, so I think he’s mostly over it πŸ˜‰

Another example is a couple I know (two women) who are both dropping their father’s names and taking the last name of the stepfather who raised Friend #1 since she was a child. Friend #1 doesn’t feel attached to the name of her biological dad and Friend #2 isn’y attached to hers and is very much loved by Friend #1’s stepfather. They are both proud to take his name because it represents love and family to them.

I give all these examples to say that it’s 2015 – families are what you make them. Names are names and sharing a name with someone doesn’t make you any more or any less of a family (or team or unit) than having your own. If you want yours, keep it. If he wants to share one with you, he can take yours or you can use his whenever you’d like for personal reasons while still legally keeping your name. 

Post # 26
Member
13 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Sounds like he is more comfortable changing his name than you are, so I would let him ! 

Post # 27
Member
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

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NextMrsWeston:  I absolutely get where you are coming from. Making a decision was the hardest choice I had to make. What worked for me was to make a decision and live with it for a few weeks. Then I’d see how I felt. I flip flopped on both to see how I felt. My mn is unique and my family is the only one with it- plus established professionally etc. Ultimately I decided to make my maiden a second middle, and take his. I will use his personally and socially, and keep my maiden in all professional applications. So far, so good, but I only just changed my name with the SS office, going to DMV tomorrow. I signed with my new last name today and it was odd. The good thing is, in the end, it can be reversible. If you change your mind, it won’t change your marriage 

Post # 28
Member
3053 posts
Sugar bee

I’m struggling myself about taking my future husbands surname, I know one way or another I will be taking his name but keeping mine also!

Have you thought about the option of you taking his surname as a second middle name and him taking your surname as a second middle name?

Post # 29
Member
19 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2016

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PorcelainBelle:  This to me would be an ideal situation (especially in my relationship because my fiance doesn’t have a middle name!) but unfortunately he seems 100% not open to it…   I don’t really care if he takes my name to be honest, but it kind of irks me (as I think it does many of us) how little he seems to understand how weird the process of changing your name can be, especially if you’ve actually done quite a bit of living under that name and feel it to be an integral part of your identity.

There’s also a cultural component in it for me — my FH’s name is lovely, objectively I think it’s nicer sounding than mine, but besides the fact that  I am just attached to my own name as MY name anyway, there’s also an “ethnic heritage” aspect to it in that my name is Spanish and I like it that way, though as eirlys mentioned, I would certainly be cutting out a lot of mispronunciations and “spell that pleases” if I were to just take his.

Post # 30
Member
745 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2016

LOL I think about this ALL of the time πŸ™‚

I’ve been leaning towards doing maiden middle legally, then doing whatever works best for me professionally (my last name or both of our names) and socially (his last name, it is very cute with my first name). My Dad said something super sweet to me the other day when I asked him what he thought of my name.

His answer: I know who you are πŸ™‚

Super sweet.

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