Two Names Enter, One Name Leaves

Is it the Thunderdome? Nope, it’s the ubiquitous name-change post. I guess I will just come out and say that I will not be changing my name after I get married.

I see my last name as part of my identity. When I think of myself in terms of my first name and Mr. C’s last name, I don’t see myself. That’s not me. That’s someone else. Actually it is literally someone else because Mr. C’s sister and I share the same first name. That means there would be two women with the same first and last names in the family. Talk about confusing! And weird. Imagine how that might make my future sister-in-law feel; suddenly a name that was originally uniquely hers is now someone else’s. If I were in her shoes, I have to admit it would make me feel a little weird.

Names

Secondly, I don’t really find it fair that a woman has to run around town (sometimes taking a day off of work) just to get the paperwork she needs to legally change her name. It involves changing your driver’s license, Social Security card, passport, and all financial documents. Then there’s the possibility that there are confusions or mix-ups in the future. Maybe you forgot to change your insurance documents and now you can’t be reimbursed for a doctor’s visit because they can’t verify your identity. No thanks.

On a more superficial level, I would be trading a very easy to spell and pronounce last name for one that people consistently have difficulty pronouncing. Both my first and last names are easy to spell and pronounce. I’ve never had to deal with my name being verbally butchered, and at nearly 30 years old, I don’t want to start.

A woman’s decision to change her last name is a very personal one. I would never judge a woman for choosing to take her husband’s last name. I understand why many women are excited to change their names after marriage. It certainly makes life a lot easier if you plan to have children, and I’m sure it cuts down on confusion later in life. More importantly, it represents a very real transition from being an individual to starting a family unit. Sadly, it doesn’t hold the same meaning for me. My mother has had three different last names in her lifetime. Mr. C’s mother (who is divorced) recently changed her last name back to her maiden name. I have watched as the women in my life have changed names due to divorce or remarriage. I don’t think I could shed what I see as my identity so easily.

In short, I guess I feel jaded by the whole name-change prospect. Not that I plan to get divorced or remarried, but I hate the fact that society expects me, as a woman, to change my name based on changes in my marital status. And so I won’t be changing my name.

Will you be keeping or changing your last name after marriage?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Camel

Location:
Athens, GA
Wedding Date:
May 2013

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  1. Member
    bat 285 posts, Helper bee @ 6:58 am

    Miss Camel, I really love that you posted this. The name change is something Batman and I have discussed a LOT, and I’m not planning on changing my last name, either. I definitely agree that it’s SUCH a personal decision, and often a very difficult one! It is ridden with so many expectations on both sides–my academic advisors who know I am continuing onto graduate school advise me to take my own name, as do those who know I’m going into a male career field, where my fiance grew up with the expectation that a women takes her man’s last name (not that he judges me for not doing so, but it was ingrained in him!). In the end, keeping my last name is what feels right for ME, just like it does for you :) Again, great post, and sorry for the ramble :P

  2. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 7:02 am

    I’m keeping my last name, while FH will be taking my last name as his own. :)

  3. Member
    parasol 2955 posts, Sugar bee @ 7:14 am

    Miss Camel, I resonate with this post so much! I, too, see my identity as being very much wrapped up in my name, and it’s not something I wanted to change, so I didn’t. At the end of the day, not sharing a last name doesn’t mean Mr. P and I are any less married or in love. And we are still very much our own little family, even if we don’t have the same last name.
    @shaynapunim: Your FH sounds awesome! :)

  4. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 7:25 am

    @Mrs. Parasol: He is!! :D

  5. Member
    jbarker09 382 posts, Helper bee @ 7:28 am

    I’ll be changing my last name and I can’t wait! I would feel weird not changing it, but it also does feel weird to have one name for almost 27 years and to change it to something else so I can completely understand where you are coming from!

  6. Member
    krislynn_sd 72 posts, Worker bee @ 7:49 am

    What a great post! It definitely sheds light on what I thought was a no-brainer for me. In my own opinion, I can’t wait to change my last name! But you’re soo right – it in no way makes you less married or in love. Thanks for the insight

  7. Member
    mswallaby 2069 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:51 am

    Lol I am waiting, very bored, in the DMV office waiting to change my name on my driver’s license right at this very moment. It’s definitely an annoying process. It felt right for Mr. W and I – but I 100% agree with you, every bride should do what’s best for her.

  8. Member
    Beltacular 51 posts, Worker bee @ 7:58 am

    I will not be changing my name. It is a really big part of my identity- and I can’t see myself without it. I thought about hyphenating, but both my fiance’s and my last names have the same last syllable, so it would be like jane bla- ha ja-ha. Not attractive. Maybe I’ll change my mind when we have kids and I don’t share the same last name as them, but maybe not.

  9. Member
    debeachgirl 536 posts, Busy bee @ 8:06 am

    I am keeping mine. And FI and I have very close first names. They can have the same nickname. (Something likeChristopher and Christina) My family and friends call me by that nick name (say Chris) and another nick name (Christy). FI only goes by the nick name (Chris) around his family. So yeah it could get confusing. Plus his Aunt (married into the family) goes by the one nick name fortunately she spells it different (Chrys) and lives in OK. But, yet I am still taking his name.

    Even though it means going from my very unique last name (as in if you have it you are related to me) to his very common last name. I wasn’t sure for a long time if I wanted to do it but as time passed changing grew on me. I can see why people wouldn’t want to change and I am not looking forward to the hassle. And I think people need to do what is right for them.

  10. Member
    croses79 4 posts, Wannabee @ 8:15 am

    @shaynapunim: My FI is taking mine as well! His is difficult to spell and pronounce and mine is way cooler :-)

  11. Member
    TwoNerds 180 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:26 am

    I’m struggling with the same decision. My FI is very traditional and says it’s important to him that i change – my initial reaction was “sure, that’s easy for you to say, it’s not YOUR name!” My main issue with giving it up is that I’m one of the last to carry my father’s name. He passed away when I was young, and I feel like if I give up the name I lose a piece of him. I still don’t know what I’m going to do.

  12. Member
    royalpurplebride 511 posts, Busy bee @ 8:45 am

    Im sure Im not making this easier.. but just so you know, your birth certificate never changes. And if you put it and your marriage certificate in a safe place, thats all the proof any insurance company would need to prove your identity after a name change. Just saying…
    Oh and you will have a different middle name than your sis in law.
    I love having my hubbys name. Its so special to me. Very hard to change my last name. But I love my new identity. Just my thoughts. Good luck

  13. Member
    sam2412 174 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:49 am

    My mom and my aunt (dads brothers wife) have the same Name (first and last)
    It has actually helped more than anything as my brother was able to live in US for 6 months and go to school as my aunt signed – aka no questioning as that was his mom. Would not have been able to happen had it not been for the same names

  14. Member
    shaynapunim 654 posts, Busy bee @ 8:53 am

    @croses79: Awesome!! I love when other couples make that decision. :)

  15. Member
    lobbyart 131 posts, Blushing bee @ 8:53 am

    @shaynapunim and @croses79 My DH took my name, too! I’m glad there are other folks on here who are considering the options.

  16. Member
    PolkaDotLaceBride 116 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:13 am

    I echo others’ thoughts that it is an intensely personal decision. I’m planning to keep mine. Partly because my mother kept hers, and actually gave me HER last name. My older brother has our dad’s last name, and we each have each other’s last name as our middle name. Confused? It’s not!
    I’m, say, Jane Aston Berry, and my brother is, say, John Berry Aston

    So, if anyone says to those planning to keep your last names, “Oh, but it will be confusing for your kids!” IGNORE THEM. I have the potentially most confusing arrangement with my name, and I’m telling you, it’s not confusing once you meet us and we tell you. People aren’t stupid, they get it right away.

    For me, there’s something modern and a bit heroic about having my mother’s last name, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

  17. Member
    proverbs131 221 posts, Helper bee @ 9:29 am

    This is a personal decision and I agree of he inconvenience of the woman changing her name, but I like traditional part of it since originally using the husband’s last name is a physical way for the woman to feel closer and connected to husband and marriage. I want everyone in my house to feel that we are a family and belong together. The last name of the husband puts a band around the family and house. “Hus-band” means “house band.” The origin is Old English, I believe.

    I like the idea of becoming apart of my husband’s family and sharing their last name because the man is supposed to be the head of the household “based on my Chrisitan worldview” and then we as a family start our own family with him as the leaader.
    That’s just my opinion, but I do understand why women choose to keep their maiden names

  18. Member
    farinw 38 posts, Newbee @ 10:00 am

    I’m excited to take his last name! And it’s not because it’s simpler (I’m a girl with a German name taking a Hispanic last name). It will definitely look weird on paper, and I will have to spell it over the phone all the time (but I do that now, anyways).

    BUT- I am starting a family with this man, and although I know that we will be one unit regardless, I feel like that’s the official ‘I give myself to you’ factor. Dedication, not possession. I could literally be Mrs. Fanny Featherbottom and go along with it because it’s a special gift I feel I can give him. Plus if I’m not a writer or artist, with no works to claim, I really don’t care what I’m named.

    Although, my one coworker would have adopted an Easily mispoken last name which sounded like a racial slur. So, then I would opt out. Maybe even ask if he wanted to jump on my last-name bandwagon :)

  19. Member
    primcess 209 posts, Helper bee @ 10:38 am

    I too am excited to change my name. My last name is a food and I HATE it. But I can definitely see where you are coming from — my mom is 100% Italian and she traded in her very Italian maiden name for a German last name (that is a FOOD!). If I would have been in her shoes, I would have kept the Italian name — like you said, it is part of your identity.

  20. Member
    bracelet 1419 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:46 am

    I decided to change my last name. I wasn’t emotional about it, but decided to because it made my life a lot easier. My maiden name included an Umlaut (which makes spelling in English a pain because of many mistakes), while Mr. B’s last name is also German and even starts with the same letter as my maiden name. Sold. :)
    The fun part is that it might lead to lots of confusion in the future. Mr. B has a cousin with the same name, and his wife’s name is super similar to mine (think “Anne” and “Anna”). :p

  21. Member
    angelwinged 127 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:17 pm

    My love and I are thinking about him changing his to mine instead of me to his

  22. Member
    mstreasure 1655 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:32 pm

    The sister-in-law thing is funny. That would be super weird. I am slowly changing my name. It’s a major pain to do, sure, but mostly, I’m kind of sad to lose my maiden name. I’m not even that attached to it, so it’s been harder than I thought. I like my new last name, but it’s hard to let go of my old one. I can definitely understand more why women choose to keep their names.

  23. Guest Icon Guest
    CoCo, Guest @ 2:10 pm

    I was 27 when I got married and changed my name because duh, that’s what tradition says you do. Immediately, afterwards I regretted it. Deeply regretted. Not because of the man I married or his last name but because I felt so much like I lost my identity. It sucked and was a MAJOR pain to change back but I did. Now we don’t feel any less like a family and I feel like ME.

    My advice is if you’re on the fence about changing your last name then wait. Most states don’t require you to change your name ASAP. Plus you can always legally keep your last name and socially be know as Mrs. HisLastName if it’s that important to him which luckily for me it is not to my Hubs.

  24. Member
    Ms_Maple 115 posts, Blushing bee @ 3:18 pm

    This is one of the reasons that I love the Bee. There are so many different thoughts. I find it interesting that I also come from a divorced family but ended up on the opposite side of the fence as you. I will be changing my name because my mom re-married when I was young and I was the odd man out with a different last name growing up. I am really looking forward to having the same last name as the person I am marrying.

  25. Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 4:46 pm

    @Ms_Maple: I agree! So many different perspectives on the same topic!

  26. Member
    camel 703 posts, Busy bee @ 5:27 pm

    @bat: @Mrs. Parasol: Hey it’s nice to hear from some other Bee Bloggers who have made similar decisions! Mrs. Parasol, do you feel like it has had any negative impact after marriage? I’m not on the fence at all about my decision, I’m just curious if you have any post-marriage thoughts on the issue.

  27. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 5:49 pm

    I am with you! My name is me, it’s part of my identity that I don’t want to give up. It doesn’t change my relationship or devotion to my husband and our new family. I know many of my friends and in laws don’t get it, but it is a personal decision and it works for us.

  28. Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 4:41 pm

    I changed my name, slowly. It took me three months to change my name at the DMV and another year plus to update my passport.

  29. Member
    cicijapan 263 posts, Helper bee @ 5:15 pm

    Good for you! I love that we live in a world where a woman has the choice to change her name or not.

  30. Member
    radishtime 316 posts, Helper bee @ 1:08 pm

    I am changing my name after marriage (I actually wrote a post about my reasons over on A Practical Wedding) but I totally understand your reasoning for not wanting to.

    In fact, one of the biggest struggles I had in making my decision was one you mentioned: why does the woman have to schlep around town to change all her legal documents and the man doesnt have to do anything. Thats why I was so glad when my FH recently announced he would like to add my name to his last name socially (he will continue to use his regular last name professionally) but that means he will be making the rounds at the DMV and records offices with me. That made me feel a lot more comfortable about the equality of it all

  31. Member
    Perfpersnickety 132 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:00 am

    While I am not torn on the decision to take my FH’s last name it does take a toll on certain days that I will no longer have my last name. I love my name in all of it’s glory. I got teased a lot as a kid for it, it’s Kitchens, and it took me a long time to come to appreciate it. I’m not so convinced that I’m ready to give it up. I feel much better that I have a little brother and he will carry the name on in to the future.

    My FH is insistent that I take his last name with no hyphenation. I don’t that I’d actually not take it but the hyphn was a major consideration. He’s very traditional in that sense. I love that there are so many of you who’s husbands took on your last name. That is awesome.

    @polkdotlacebride your parents are awesome too. I love the new twist they put on it.

  32. Member
    drmrscol 219 posts, Helper bee @ 8:40 am

    I, too, am not changing. I can understand the future simplicity of having everyone in the household having the same last name, but it just bothers me that it’s traditionally the woman because she becomes the property of her husband’s household. Dearest is in total agreement (and, given that this will be his third marriage and that his ex who abandoned him & the children STILL goes by his name, he recognizes that it will not make us any “less married”, as my mom says it will). In fact, we’ve talked about taking a name we have in common in our ancestries, but I do think that would be confusing. So I will be me with my name (which is a a nod to most of my ethnic origins), he will be his, and we will have a marriage based on equality in partnership. Should we have any children…I guess they’ll have his last name, but we’ve toyed with the idea that we should pay homage to my Spanish heritage and have two last names (not hyphenated). We shall see.

  33. Member
    justjade 782 posts, Busy bee @ 4:03 am

    I have a very very short and straightforward name. Both first and last names are four letters and I do not have a middle name. I myself am a twin so even though we are fraternal and have quite different first names with regards to the really personal attachment other bees have mentioned to their name being indicative of their personality/individuality/self definition I don’t feel that personally. I have always been referred to as ‘the twins’ or ‘the kids’ and while I didn’t like that when I was younger the sentiment that other bees have raised in saying there is something nice about grouping yourself with your husband via name resonates. I think I would keep my maiden name as a middle name and take a new surname.

  34. Guest Icon Guest
    Miss Dove, Guest @ 8:06 pm

    This is a hard one for me. I will be taking his last name(I want to have the same last name as my husband and children), but I wrote the new one the other day, and I agree–it doesn’t feel like me. I also realize that, given my desires, one of us needs to change, and there is no less reason for me to change than him, but it bothers me that he won’t even consider changing yet doesn’t consider what I’m doing much of a sacrifice.

  35. Member
    LadyJenks 53 posts, Worker bee @ 2:50 am

    I am so impressed that there are FOUR responders whose husbands are taking their name (whether fully changing last names, or adding a new last name to their full name). That is seriously cool.

    My FH won’t even consider it, and considers me changing my name important enough to throw down an ultimatum. :( I had always planned on taking his name…but I’m really becoming torn about the idea of losing my name. I like my name – it’s mine, it’s a name with some history, and my Dad is an only child that had only daughters, so we’re the last three of the family with that name. Sigh. Luckily I still have some months to think about it.

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