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.
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?