Post # 32
I’m in the “if he won’t change his name then I’m not going to change my name” boat. My BF still thinks I’m going to change my mind and take his name. Not. Going. To. Happen. I really like my name, and I don’t want to change it. I’ll be married either way, and when I have kids, they’ll be mine regardless of what their last name is. I don’t think that a name defines a family, and I know plenty of children (in my family and that 2 families that I nannied for) that don’t have the same last name as their mother, and they’re not adversely affected by it. I wouldn’t feel guilty about it if I were you.
Post # 33
Ah, I see. Well if you’ve had rational discussions about it, and have agreed to disagree then I think you need to tell him to knock it off! 🙂 If you see his point of view, but haven’t changed your mind, and he sees your point of view, but hasn’t changed his mind, and you agree you’ve explored all your options (hyphenating, two middle names each, etc) and this is what’s going to make you as happy as either of you is going to get, then you both just need to drop it. Nothing productive comes from talking about it more, it’s just picking at a scab. He’s bummed – you know, but you’re not changing your mind. You’re bummed that he’s bummed – he knows, and that’s not going to change either. So acknowledge you’re both bummed for now, but be happy that you’re ultimately satisfied with the arrangement and will both get over it eventually. Then agree not to bring it up again unless something changes.
Post # 34
Have you discussed the reasons you don’t want to change your name? I think in a case where his feelings are hurt by your choice it’s important that he really understand all the complicated and deep feelings you have about this. I think it’s normal (if disapointing) that he wants you to aknowledge that his feeling are hurt that you’re not chaning and I think it’s critical that he aknowledge how upset you would be to change and how much thought you’ve given the issues. Other than that I would just give him time – in a little while you might be surprised to hear him sound all proud as he tells someone that his wife did not change her name thank you very much because x, y and z. Our SOs tend to be proud of the principled stands we take – even if they don’t necessarily agree.
Post # 35
My Fiance and I had a pretty long discussion about this. I’m attached to my name, he wants us to have the same name. I suggest my name, he doesn’t even consider it. We compremised. I will go from (names changed)
Sarah Jade Campell to Sarah Jade Campbell Wilson
And he will go from
Scott Robert Wilson to Scott Robert Campbell Wilson.
And children we have will be known as
First Middle Campbell Wilson
It works for us.
Post # 36
Seems like this has turned more into the pros/cons of name changing and who did what and why.
To the OP’s question – coping with your guy’s disappointment and reaction. From your thoughtful and emotional post, seems pretty clear that this is an important subject to you. I would deal with it by sitting down for another long conversation and just laying it out there: “I am firm in my decision to keep my name or hyphenate for both of us; and while I appreciate that you aren’t seriously pushing me to change my name, it still makes me feel guilty when you make adorable sad face.”
And then it might be helpful to talk together about (again, right?) why it’s important to him to change your name, and why it’s important to you NOT to, as well as your residual guilt — I think that piece is important, because it shows that you are thinking of him in your decision, and how it affects both of you. Maybe it will help him come to accept and respect your decision.
Post # 37
Thank you for all the advice. It’s really, really helpful to see everyone’s thoughts (from a whole range of viewpoints) here, because as ChiCat said, at this point we’re both okay if not ecstatic with our respective decisions, and it’s just picking at a scab to bring it up with him. I can understand rationally that it’s going to take a little time, but in the end, he doesn’t want me to do something that makes me unhappy and I’ll understand that he’s okay with me making that choice, even if it upsets me that he wouldn’t consider changing anything himself.
@Arachna – I’d like him to understand my reasoning more thoroughly and why I consider his stance (not name changes in particular, but how he has a double standard in what he wants me to do vs. what he would do himself i.e. he thinks it would be great if I added his last as a second middle but wouldn’t do the same himself) so offensive. But at this point it’s contentious and counterproductive to bring up. He supports my decision, though not enthusiastically. He’s generally pretty progressive, but there’s a little bit of male privilege he needs to unpack and examine… I’m just going to have to wait until another topic/occasion to bring that up, though, I think, for my own mental health.
Post # 38
I’m in the exact same boat, although my Fiance has had time now to get used to my opinion so he’s less inclined to negatively respond in situations where it comes up.
It was really hard getting to that point though and although you don’t want to have bad conversations that’s exactly what it took for US to get there. Lots of “If you won’t change your name, why do you think I should?” with pushing for REAL responses and investigation of what’s beneath that and, like you said, discussing male privilege.
Now he’s not so much “on board” as he understands my position and respects my right to make whatever choice I want regarding my name. Now we’re just dealing with his parents who are very much NOT on board and make it clear every time they can.
Post # 39
I feel much the same way as you do about my name – it’s part of my identity, and always has been – but I do have that same wish for a shared family name, like Rosie_Girl and pmerr mentioned; however, I totally disagree with the idea that our new family identity should just be his old identity. We’re starting a family together as partners and equals. I bring as much to the partnership as he does, and I really, passionately resent the patriarchical ideal whereby my identity should be subsumed into his. When it first came up in conversations between Fiance and I, I asked if he would consider taking my name. He laughed it off at first too, so I asked why he would expect me to do something he wouldn’t do himself. He’s since given it a lot more thought than I had expected, honestly; I’ve since told him that I’m happy to either 1) keep my name or 2) do what Roux did, and share a new, double-barreled last name with him, and he can decide. He quite enthusiastically decided to change his name too, and seems to take great delight in telling his friends of the decision – I guess, like Arachna said, maybe sometimes they’re secretly proud of our feminist principles.
Have you asked him why he laughs off the idea of changing his name, yet expects you too? There are plenty of traditions in the world, and many of them are downright awful – just because something is the norm, that’s no reason to do it! I don’t have any advice for coping with disappointment over his reaction, like you’d asked, because were I in your place, my gut response would be much like Chicagobride092010’s – and I can guarantee I’d hound him about his expectations on gender roles and equality in our relationship… but I think you should stick to your guns and not give up a middle name that is so meaningful, when he won’t even budge an inch. You’re not the one that should feel guilty – he should!
Post # 40
I wanted to give everyone a bit of an upate. We had a talk last night, no jokes or silly comments which is pretty hard for us. I told him it wasn’t what he wanted that bothered me, but the attitude behind it and the way he expressed it to me. That I felt like he was wallowing in his male privilege rather than examining why it might be better to break outside tradition. I acknowledged that a guy changing his name does sometimes get unusual or negative reactions to it, but that at heart I don’t want him to change his not because of that, but because he loves his name and the family it comes from. I also pointed out that women often face judgment no matter what they do, and that I’m trying really hard to be accepting of others’ choices – that at this point it’s really only particular circumstances when I feel like people are manipulated into a choice they don’t want that bothers me.
I also told him that if my middle name was not really important to me, I would take his last as my middle, to incorporate a part of his name into mine. He thought that was really sweet, but said that given how important my middle name is to me and my family (named after a relative who died in early childhood), he wouldn’t want me to. We both agreed that second middle names are kind of unwieldy and not worth the effort.
I also brought up the highly unlikely possibility of kids, and he’s really starting to get that I can and do share the same desire to carry on my family name and history that he has. That his being male doesn’t give him a monopoly on that right. I didn’t want to spend much time on the issue, since it’s only a hypothetical one, but he got that it’s very important to me for them to carry on my name, that in the event we do have children, if it happens, it’s a huge sacrifice for me (pregnancy + childbirth + really, really being against having them in the first place = ouch) and I will want to pass on my name to them *as a last name*, but can compromise and pass his on as well because I understand his desires. So on the off chance we do have kids, they’ll be little hyphen-children or something like that.
Anyway, that got long, but I wanted to thank everyone who chimed in… seeing others’ ideas and opinions really allowed me to bring it up one last time, no jokes, getting to what exactly it was that upset me and explaining why. As a guy who’s normally really cognizant of privilege and inequality, he was able to see what he did and why it made me so sad. We’re good now, and I don’t have a driving desire to keep bringing up the topic. We’re changing nothing, but I’m happy, he’s happy and I feel so excited at the prospect of marrying him!
Post # 41
I understand, I cringe every time I hear about someone taking their husband’s last name, especially if their FH somehow forced or pressured them into doing it.
Double standards kill me!
Post # 42
I am glad you two are working it out. None of my friends changed their last names when they wed, and I am not either. My Fiance actually wants to take my last name. I think it’s awesome!
Post # 43
My Fiance knew that I did not want to change my last name when I get married. He understands it and supports it. However, after we got engaged, my friends (who knew my decision on not changing) brought it up during our gathering. OMG… one of my guy friend was making such a big deal of it. The thing is… I was born and raised in Korea until I was 14 yrs old and they don’t take husband’s last name when they get married. Also, it would be such a pain in the a$$ to change it. I thought about hyphenate his last name… but it would sound weird and my mane would be very long.
However, you must know that you will have hard time with your children’s school and things… so I was told…
Post # 44
I’ve tried to work on the cringing… I definitely feel really uncomfortable when people feel pressured to do it. Now that I’ve had some time to ruminate over it, I’m even happier with the decision to keep my name simply because in our case I’d be bending to (albeit subtle) pressure from him. But overall I’ve come to realize that getting annoyed with someone else’s choice is ultimately making it harder on women overall.
That IS awesome! I was actually kind of surprised at first how many of my friends changed their name – not all but more than half. I think what it made me realize is that to a lot of people it’s not as big a deal as it is to me.
People will tell you anything to make you question your own decisions. Everyone already knows I don’t want to have kids, so I don’t get too much in that regard, though. Besides, kids often have different last names than their family (maternal grandparents, step-parents, etc). Though I have told my fiance that if HE ever gets knocked up, he can give the kid whatever name he wants.
Post # 44
I just wanted to add a new ripple into this thread. Not all cultures change last names. I was born and raised in the states and my mom took my dad’s last name. I will be marrying a puerto rican in january, and here there is no expectation to change my last name.
In Puerto Rico (and most Spanish speaking countries) people have two last names. For example my Fiance is Fiance Ramos Diaz. Ramos is his father’s first last name and Diaz would be his mother’s first last name. Lets say I am Julita Ortiz Flores. Our children would be Child Ramos Ortiz. And we would be considered the Ramos Ortiz Family. That way, each individual keeps their name, and chidlren take on both names. I feel that this represents a new family. I don’t feel that by marrying my Fiance I am marrying into his family and more than he is marrying into my family.
There is nothing wrong with following tradition, especially if that is what your heart and gut tells you to do. But at the same time, traditions are traditions, and many fallen by the wayside with the passage of time. Just because people have been taking on names, doesn’t mean that it HAS to be that way or that it is the RIGHT way. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t the whole name changing thing start because the father was giving his daughter away to the man and she was going to become his property?
Ultimately, each person should do what feels best for them, whatever the reason and respect other’s decisions!