Post # 1
So I have been married a week and two days! Everyone has been asking me if I’m taking my new husbands name. The reason many ask is because in my profession, clinical psychology, many women either keep their maiden name or hyphenate. I believe this is true for many Ph.D’s but I know it depends a lot on published works, time in profession and all that. I am still in school, have three published works, and lots of past conferences and presentations all done in my maiden name. So I am wrestling with on formal documents if I want to hyphenate my name (e.g. Wilkins-Caldwell) or simply keep my last name (e.g. Wilkins). What have other bees done? I would also like to know why you made the decision you did if you don’t mind sharing 🙂
Post # 3
I’m an older bee, and this is my second marriage, and I chose to hypenate. Even with that decision, I’ve yet to make it official (e.g., going to DMV and Social Security office). Since my divorce was finalized in 2001, I’ve been known by my maiden name and, also, I like my last name. If I had to do it over again, and I would have kept my maiden name the first time. In my husband’s culture, keeping one’s family name is the norm, so I’m bucking that trend simply by hyphenating. For the record, if I had advanced degrees and was published in my field, I would keep my name as well. Good luck, I know it’s a big decision!
Post # 4
I’m 21, the only degree I have with my birth name on it is my high school diploma, I’m not known in my field since I’m an undergrad… so the only reason I have not to change my name is “I don’t want to and you can’t make me.” My parents didn’t give me my first and last names assuming I was going to change them, why would that not be true for my last name, when my FH wouldn’t be changing his name either? Why is changing his name to mine not an acceptable option? Why is the only acceptable option for me hyphenating or moving my last name? Why do I have to continue to shape my life around a sexist tradition I want no part of?
Post # 5
I’m also an older and was previously married. I kept my married name when I got divorced as my daughter was fairly young at the time and I wanted for her and I to have the same last name. As a result, I’ve been known my previous husbands last name for 37 years. Basically most of my life and my entre professional life.
I have gone back and forth about this and know I need to make a decision soon. Most likely at work, I will hypenate my name. Right now I’m leaning towards taking my FI’s name, though the thought of changing all of my accounts and documents to a new name is enough to give me heartburn. I applaud bees like the PP who want no part of the name changing. That really wasn’t an option my first time around.
Post # 6
FH and I are both changing our last name to the original, ancient form of his last name. We liked it better and hated the fairly recent Americanized spelling.
I struggled with whether or not to change my name. My family is extremely patriarichal, and I’ve hated it my entire life. I did not want to keep my father’s name, but I also did not want to feel like my marriage was an “exchange of property.” After living on my own and spending more time with my FH, I became less sensitive to some of these traditions and reformed my ideas about marriage and being a wife.
I am happy with the fact that I’ve grown enough to realize that I have a choice. I didn’t have to take my husband’s name, but I am choosing to because I love him and want to create a new family with him. I’m proud of his heritage and to pass that on to our children, unified. My FH was so understanding and brought up the spelling change on his own. I was sold immediately.
@kittyfinn: Be careful not to make a decision this big and personal in protest of something. The big, bad patriarchical system will not care what decision you make. You’ve already beat it by acknowledging that you have a choice, and choosing whatever you please.
Post # 7
@imanw: My BFF got married this weekend. She’s a PhD as well and she’s hyphenating.
Personally, my name is already hyphenated and my SO’s is one of those “de la Blah” names. I could probably drop mom’s name, keep dad’s and hyphenate, but it would look totally weird. I love his name, though, so I plan to just take it.
Post # 8
I voted other. Closest option would be “Feeling closer as a family” except reversed, I wanted us to have the same name because we felt so close and were becoming our own family. Us against the world seemed easier with the same name.
I’m 37, DH left it completely up to me. He has family middle and last names for generations and wouldn’t change his. I jokingly offered to buy him a ring and have him change his name… knowing he wouldn’t… his name is too important to him and so was buying me a ring. So even though he would like it if I did change mine, he didn’t feel he had any say because he wouldn’t change his.
Having a middle name I never used and maybe 15 people in my life have even known (only because they asked), I did First Maiden HusbandsLast. That way I kept my maiden which means something to me (dad is awesome) and go by First HusbandsLast normally, but full new name anywhere to connect the dots for people (my maiden is very unique too). And for icing on the cake my middle and maiden were the same initial, so my middle initial hasn’t changed :).
I did waffle about it pretty much until about a month before the wedding, but I’m happy with the choice I made.
It was kind of a pain at work but several other women have done the same in the years I’ve been there so no one said boo about it. One woman shortly after I started got divorced, then a few months later married, and changed her name both times. It’s a largish company and pretty stuffy so no one talks about things, or gets very friendly, especially to new people. I actually just sent an email to my regular contacts informing them my name had changed, I figured if they weren’t close enough to me after two years to know I was getting married, I wasn’t going to bother them with it :). May sound harsh but to give you an idea about the average person there, the managers and supervisors got a card passed around to them RE my getting married and contributed a couple hundred total. Three of them who signed it said at one point “I didn’t know you got married”. :/. THEY signed it (I know their signatures).
Post # 9
It’s just a matter of personal preference. It’s definitely a hassle to change, but for me it’s worth it. FWIW, I hold a professional degree.
Post # 10
I kept my full name and added DH’s last name to the end (with a space, not a hyphen) so I basically now have two last names. I’m a newly-minted Ph.D. and a bit part of why I did it was so that my publication record to-date wouldn’t get separated from future publications.
Post # 11
I have no idea what I’m doing. I have a long, hard to pronounce French last name and he has a very Polish/Austrian hard to pronounce last name. I feel like hyphenating is just asking for trouble.
Post # 12
I just kept my full name and added my husband’s last name to the end, so now I technically have two middle names. I just didn’t feel “right” using my maiden name as my last name when I was speaking or introducing myself, and it sounded stupid hyphenated.
However, I thought about it for a while, and didn’t change my name officially with the SSA for a few months (and I still need to change my license, haha).
Post # 13
@MlleDarcy: I still simply don’t want to. I’m not doing it just to protest anything, I really do not want to.
And I wonder how it’s been beaten when 86% of women still change their names because “babies! family! tradition1!!!” while very few men do. Sure, I have the choice, but only legally.
Post # 14
@kittyfinn: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You should do what you want. I’m not sure what you mean by you only have the choice legally. I didn’t necessarily mean that you beat the entire system, just that in this instance you have power over the way it affects your life by making a decision based on your own wants and desires and not sexist values or expectations. For a long time, women did not have a choice. I don’t know where you got that statistic, but are those really terrible reasons to change your name? There is nothing wrong with making family a priority. Some women want to make raising a family and caring for a homestead their life, not because that is their only option, but because that is where they feel most fulfilled. I would never encourage a woman to follow these traditions if she did not genuinely want to, but many do. Men don’t typically change their name, but I don’t find that that has much bearing on my decisions and I guess I don’t understand why it does yours. I’m not being argumentative, I’m just trying to engage as I want to understand and enhance/correct my perspective.
ETA: I don’t mean that all women who change their name intend to be homemakers or to follow traditional gender roles.
Post # 15
I want both names but don’t want to hyphenate because FI’s name is soooo long all by itself. I’m an only child so I feel like if I change my name it is going to disappear forever! But I will probably end up with his last name alone. I just like how it feels to be Mrs. so and so.
Post # 16
@MlleDarcy: I got the statistics from various articles and studies I’ve seen; the 86% figure came from The Knot. And in my mind, family and tradition aren’t the best reasons to change one’s name when men don’t change their names, period, family or not. Even if every woman in the US kept her name, very few men would still change their names. It’s fine if you want to be an SAHM and feel most fulfilled by taking care of your family. I really have no problem with that. I just don’t see the point of changing your identity because of family. We live in a culture where women aren’t defined by their achievements but by relationships, especially familial ones. How many female politicians get criticized for not spending enough time with their kids? How many men with kids the same age get criticized for the same thing? How many headlines and news articles highlight a woman’s maternal status before mentioning anything else about her?
So regarding legal matters, yes I have the choice. I am not legally required to change my name or keep it. Socially, however, I am expected to change it somehow and keeping it as is, even for women who are way ahead of me academically and career-wise, is Not An Option.