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26 August 2008

I'm having cold feet. [More:]No, not about the wedding (which is less than 5 weeks away, omg). About changing my last name. All of a sudden I feel like I'm going to miss it. I don't want to hyphenate because both of our names are long, and people have enough trouble spelling either one as it is. We aren't going to have kids so we don't have to worry about what last name they're going to use. I'm not in a career where my last name is important to keep. Yet I just feel this weird twinge.
Could the two of you swap?
posted by lysdexic 26 August | 09:00
Why change your last name at all? This is just my opinion, but it seems kind of ... unnecessary and maybe a little bit old-fashioned. If you don't want to do it, you don't have to. Is it important to your betrothed that you do?
posted by brina 26 August | 09:08
Could the two of you swap?

Apologies if I'm missing a joke...how would that help? Do people really do that?
posted by danostuporstar 26 August | 09:10
Was changing your name something you agreed to do? Is it important to your fiance? Or is it just "doing what (not) everybody else does? If the latter, then just leave it alone.

Also, you don't have to change it immediately anyway. Maybe if you're still on the fence, let it sit for a few months until the wedding bit dies down and then try it on for size? Maybe use it informally and see how it goes then do the legal changes? You have lots of options.
posted by gaspode 26 August | 09:16
Certainly you don't have to take his name if you don't want to. My fiancÚ has always said it was completely and totally up to me. That said, I'm changing my middle name to my maiden (in 18 days for me!), so I can take his last name without creating some hideous hyphenated monster. Other people keep their middle name and add their maiden name as a second-middle. Or have two not-hyphenated last names.

My last name is long and Polish and difficult to spell and pronounce. I always looked forward to getting rid of it. Yet... the "kaz" in misskaz comes from my last name, and everyone online and in real life call me kaz as my nickname. So when push came to shove I decided I didn't want to lose it entirely after all. But taking his short and sweet 5-letter last name was still appealing (for other reasons too, not just the length) and the maiden name as middle name seemed the way to do it.

Good luck, it's a difficult decision - and not one you necessarily have to make immediately, although in many states changing your name with newly minted marriage certificate is easier than doing it years later. You could do a trial run where you don't officially change your name but ask your colleagues and friends address to you with his last name, and see how you like it.

posted by misskaz 26 August | 09:19
My wife hyphenated her last name for the first year of our marriage. It was important to her to retain that bit of herself. But then, when it came time to reorder our checks, she unceremoniously dropped it. I guess her laziness won out.
posted by ColdChef 26 August | 09:31
If 'Dude and I hadn't already agreed to both change our names (to something silly and wonderful and pretentious and perfect for us), then I would definitely not do it. Especially after I got married, I realized how much my last name IS a part of my identity.

Nthing the idea that you don't have to decide right now, or even right after you get married. And you can also change your mind.
posted by muddgirl 26 August | 09:36
I was conflicted when I was engaged as well. I took my husband's name and kept my last name as my middle. It was important to my husband that I have his name. I remember the conversation. My husband was pretty much adamant. If I was adamant I would have kept my last name. I was nostalgic for my last name but at the same time I thought it was kind of romantic that he was insistent that I have his last name. It wasn't, "do this or else", he just wanted me to have his name.

gaspode and others have it. You don't have to make a decision right away. I always knew in the back of my head that I would probably have kids. It is important to me, and my husband, for the family to have the same last name. If I had no plans of being a parent, I might have had different feelings about the subject.

Initially, I was in a mild shock that my name would be changing. I liked it. It was a part of me. People knew my family name. People that didn't know me, knew my family for generations. It was a very uncommon name and it stood out. I was attached to it and proud of it, and I was vain about it, too. I was very surprised how easily and quickly my new last name fit. It wasn't foreign or awkward like I thought it may be.
posted by LoriFLA 26 August | 09:41
(and for my personal data point - I didn't change my last name. I like my name. And to quote jrossi4r in an old thread, I got married, not adopted. If having the same last name was particularly important to my husband then I would have suggested he change his last name to mine. It's important to him that our kid has his name, and that's fine with me. It's only my own name, for me, that I'm protective of.)
posted by gaspode 26 August | 09:46
Like others said, no rush. My boss got married last summer, uses her married name socially and her maiden name professionally. She may or may not change to her married name across the board some day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 26 August | 09:47
I knew a woman who took the married name Wolfslayer. Yes, that is the real name. It was hysterical to hear her answer the phone or introduce herself for a few months because she would giggle after she said it. A lot.

You got options, but you should definately talk about it ASAP.

Me, I took the name - it was important to him - but use the Maiden for theatre stuff, because it avoids potential charges of nepotism, and if someone evaluates their interest in a show as to who is invovled with it, they wouldn't know who rainbaby marriedlastname was.
posted by rainbaby 26 August | 09:49
I do not feel you need to change your name. My wife didn't. . .and my old line about that is that I would not GIVE her my name.

Esp. with no kids (my daughter hates her hyphenated name and now uses her mom's easier-to-spell name), I would encourage you to keep your name, if that is what you feel like doing.
posted by danf 26 August | 09:51
Yeah, my sister does the hybrid thing. She hasn't legally changed her last name, but in social circles and the like she's more than happy to be called Mrs. $husband'slastname.

I've told my SO that if/when we decide to get married, I don't have a preference if she takes my last name or not. We're not going to have kids and I don't have any particular notions about making her Mrs. $mylastname. She can take it or leave it, so long as takes and doesn't leave me.

On Preview: I knew a woman who took the married name Wolfslayer.

I would completely change my stance if I had a last name that hilarious/badass. Unfortunately, my last name, while somewhat unique, isn't near that remarkable.
posted by ufez 26 August | 09:55
I have a friend who had the name Brooks and she married a Lively. . hence, Livelybrooks for both of them.

I have another friend who was named Mounts, and she married a Quick. . .they thought about it, but kept their own names.
posted by danf 26 August | 10:04
Jon and I both kept our own last names. I think it works out fine. We have a joint checking account with both our names on the checks. I wouldn't mind having his last name, but it would involve a lot of paper work (social security; driver's license; college degrees; teacher certification; insurance; payroll; retirement; bank account; credit cards...). And I'm fundamentally lazy. Besides, as Jon says, with his last name, I'd sound like the world's only Jewish nun.
posted by Pips 26 August | 10:42
(His parents, though, do address cards to us as Mr. & Mrs. Mc, which is nice, I think.)
posted by Pips 26 August | 10:45
I have another friend who was named Mounts, and she married a Quick. . .they thought about it, but kept their own names.

And somewhere in Los Angeles, a single tear rolls down the cheek of Jay Leno.
posted by Atom Eyes 26 August | 10:47
An ex and I always talked about us both picking a new name. We were driving by a commercial complex at the time, so we joked about being Robert and Sarah Staples for a while thereafter.

These days, the lady and I haven't really talked about what we'll do when the time comes, but I don't really care either way. Frankly, I wish I could take her name without being looked at strangely. I'd be Robert Rhodes. That'd be badass.
posted by SpiffyRob 26 August | 10:52
(His parents, though, do address cards to us as Mr. & Mrs. Mc, which is nice, I think.)

Yeah, I don't mind cards addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. MuddDude," although in my mind, that's his parent's name. Maybe that's why we're both hesitant to just take his last name - he's got a large family on his dad's side, with lots of uncles and male cousins and nephews. There are a LOT of "Mr. and Mrs. MuddDudes".
posted by muddgirl 26 August | 11:04
My wife didn't take my name which is fine with me but her family never seemed to get the message. They almost always send us stuff addressed to Mr. and Mrs. [octothorpe]. My family. For what it's worth, my ex- never changed her name either so my son has three parents with different last names which seemed to confuse school officials but never bothered him.
posted by octothorpe 26 August | 11:10
Oops, ignore the "My family" in the middle there, never finished that sentence.
posted by octothorpe 26 August | 11:12
I had a friend whose husband took her name. Hers was Williamson, his was Green. Her first name was Teresa. She said there was no way she was going take his name and go through life as ...
posted by essexjan 26 August | 11:21
My last name is plain but very uncommon. When I was a little girl, I couldn't wrap my mind around the idea that someone would *change* their own name. So I assumed that to get married you had to find someone else with the same last name. This made me a little worried, because I had never met anyone besides my own family with my last name.

My adult view was not too different -- never could wrap my mind around changing my name. My first serious boyfriend had the last name "Gross," which only solidified matters.

When I did get married (I'm divorced now), I didn't change my name, we never discussed it. Now I'm a foster parent, with a household of three different last names and three different race/ethnicities. ("Our dysfunctional rainbow family," as my older kid describes us.) I like it this way.
posted by Claudia_SF 26 August | 11:22
Could the two of you swap?

Apologies if I'm missing a joke...how would that help? Do people really do that?
posted by danostuporstar 26 August | 09:10


No, no joke, I know of a couple that did that, plus not a few young men taking their wife's name.

Follow your gut, desjardins. If you flip a coin, get heads, and you say to yourself, "two out of three?" then you want tails.
posted by lysdexic 26 August | 11:33
Hers was Williamson, his was Green. Her first name was Teresa. She said there was no way she was going take his name and go through life as ...


Am I just being dull here?
posted by danf 26 August | 11:35
"Teresa Green", danf. Trees. Are. Green.
posted by essexjan 26 August | 11:44
I was puzzling over that one too. I came up with a bunch of tortured dick jokes based on a shortened form of Williamson, but none of them made any sense.

I think old Teresa would have been find around non-Brits who don't add Rs to words that end in vowels.
posted by mudpuppie 26 August | 12:36
Although I wouldn't mind changing my name,
(Bart: Hey Dad, can I come along?
Homer: No! If I die, I'm counting on you to carry on the family name.
Bart: Screw that! When I grow up, I'm changing my name to Joe Kickass.
Homer: That's so cool! Okay, you can come.)
there's no way I'd feel comfortable asking my imaginary partner to change hers.
posted by box 26 August | 12:49
I'm starting to wonder what, if anything, it says about me that changing my name was never on the table. We never even had the conversation, because it's a non-issue.

Unless The Fella agrees we should both to change to Wolfslayer. I'm up for that.

I've been increasingly surprised at how many of my female friends do choose to change, each for their own reasons.

Note: I'm not stating disapproval or opposition to the practice; it's not my business, anyway. I'm just a little curious about my friends' choices. It's purely a failure of imagination: I can't imagine doing it.
posted by Elsa 26 August | 13:31
You're not alone, Elsa. We never had the conversation either - it was just assumed that I wouldn't change my name. And you're also not alone with the surprise. I always assumed that it was just a bit old fashioned and nobody did that anymore. I am increasingly proved wrong.
posted by gaspode 26 August | 13:57
I created a hyphenated monster. It amuses me to have 4 names.
posted by gomichild 26 August | 17:27
I think old Teresa would have been find around non-Brits who don't add Rs to words that end in vowels.

It's more that we (the non-Brits) don't pronounce the 'r' at the end of 'are' when it's unstressed [/linguist, pedant]


I didn't change my name, though mother-in-law now addresses cards to 'mr and mrs HisInitial HisLast' which I don't mind (apart from the HisInitial part, which bugs me, and I don't care if it is technically 'correct'). I am still ambivalent though - any children will get his last name and the 'everyone in the family has the same name' is an idea I find it hard to shake. But as I don't particularly want to change my name, I'll have to live with it.
posted by altolinguistic 27 August | 03:44
Here in Quebec women don't change their last names when marrying. You actually aren't allowed to. You can use your husband's name socially, though, of course.

I dunno. I'm not into tradition for tradition's sake so the whole idea of taking my husband's name kind of rubs me the wrong way. I think it would make me feel like property.
posted by loiseau 27 August | 04:19
When I married the first time, I took his last name. I'd grown up with "Foster", and I was so over being called a "foster child". But when I remarried, my youngest was 5 and he thought I wouldn't be Mommy anymore because my last name would be different. So I kept that name. To be honest with you, I've come to like myself even more under that name. Occasionally I use it as my middle, and my current husband's name as my last, and I've played around with hyphening it, but we're married almost six years now and it's still the same. And there are days when I'm glad I didn't take his name, but we won't go there....
posted by redvixen 27 August | 19:21
Here in Quebec women don't change their last names when marrying. You actually aren't allowed to.


You're allowed to if you really want to, but you can't do it right away -- first you have to demonstrate that you've been using the name consistently.

But it isn't the custom. I can't think of anyone under 60 who's done it. Like gaspode, I was really surprised when I moved to the United States and discovered that it's still so commonplace here.
posted by tangerine 27 August | 19:41
I plan to keep mine if I ever get married. My grandmother demanded that my mother and uncle take her second husband's name when she remarried, but he didn't adopt them. She had two more sons with this man, one who's renamed himself something hippieish (looks it, but doesn't have the personality...I still call him Ricky) and the younger cokehead who likes to taunt my full uncle with "I'm the real {scion of huge midwestern department store family}"---even though in no way is he a great philanthropist like his great-uncle.
posted by brujita 27 August | 22:53
It was never an issue for me, I have a super unique last name (the only four people in Canada with it are all my immediate family) and it is who I am and who I will always be. My husband wanted me to change it (he is big on tradition) but there was just no way. Any time the issue of a family name comes up (what name to put the pizza order under for example) I just joke he didn't take my name. The children are hyphenated and I have had no problems dealing with the gov't or other people with their long name. My sister also kept her name and hyphenated her children's names, it is nice for other people to see the family connection (such as using the same dentist etc). I find it hard to wrap my head around changing my last name but what I find even harder is women that get divorced and change their name AGAIN with the second or third marriage. I know a couple women whose children all have different names (from the fathers) and then the mother and her new husband has ANOTHER name too. And the women always tell me they change their name to show their commitment to the man!
posted by saucysault 27 August | 23:18
It's pretty much the norm here for the woman to take the man's name after marriage, although a lot continue to use their maiden name professionally. For no particular reason other than tradition, I'd like that to happen if I was ever to get married, but the likelihood of that happening is approaching zero, so it's really a moot point. I wouldn't expect someone to do it if they were opposed at all, though.
posted by dg 28 August | 06:10
OMG rehab bunny || I don't know how this happened

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