• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO

Customs and Traditions

Name Changing: Considering my children

I am getting married next year. My FI and I haven't had the discussion about whether or not I should change my name. Here are my hesitations:

1. My 2 children have my maiden name. Their father has never been in the picture. If I change my name, they will be the only 2 (FI has kids with his last name) with a different last name. I know they will be sensitive and won't want me to change my name away from theirs, we are very close and all of us often get called by our last name as a nickname.
2. My FI's ex-wife did not change her name back after their divorce. We live in the same town and have children in the same school. I realize that this would probably be more awkward for her than me to have us both with his last name, but still...it is already weird enough to be running into each other all over the place and at every school function. Plus I am kinda bitter that she didn't change her name back. I am sure I will get angry responses for saying that "it was HER name too" and "she has a RIGHT to the name". Yeah, I hear you. But what woman wants to share her name anyway? Especially with another woman in the same town who was married to the same man?
3. Hyphenating is fine, I am not against it. I have also considered making his last name my middle name?
4. I have this little girl fantasy that my little family could have one last name just like the majority of people, without the hassle and without upsetting any of us. I suppose I'm holding onto that and need to let it go, because that just isn't my situation.

Thanks, knotties. I appreciate your help!

Re: Name Changing: Considering my children

  • It sounds like you want to change your name, but you don't want to leave your children out of the picture. At that point, any change you make to your last name, you'd have change your children's names as well to make them the same, and I don't get the impression that's something you'd want to do. At that point, I'd go with making his name your middle name. That seems the best compromise to changing your name and not alienating the kids.

    Although, if it were me, I'd ask the kids what they would want to do. Could be they'd want you to change their name and they'd want to change with you. Could be they want to keep their names as is. But if you ask, you might get a different perspective than you have now.

    erkole
  • itzMSitzMS
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers Combo Breaker
    member
    edited August 2013
    erkole said:
    I am getting married next year. My FI and I haven't had the discussion about whether or not I should change my name. Here are my hesitations:

    1. My 2 children have my maiden name. Their father has never been in the picture. If I change my name, they will be the only 2 (FI has kids with his last name) with a different last name. I know they will be sensitive and won't want me to change my name away from theirs, we are very close and all of us often get called by our last name as a nickname.
    2. My FI's ex-wife did not change her name back after their divorce. We live in the same town and have children in the same school. I realize that this would probably be more awkward for her than me to have us both with his last name, but still...it is already weird enough to be running into each other all over the place and at every school function. Plus I am kinda bitter that she didn't change her name back. I am sure I will get angry responses for saying that "it was HER name too" and "she has a RIGHT to the name". Yeah, I hear you. But what woman wants to share her name anyway? Especially with another woman in the same town who was married to the same man?
    3. Hyphenating is fine, I am not against it. I have also considered making his last name my middle name?
    4. I have this little girl fantasy that my little family could have one last name just like the majority of people, without the hassle and without upsetting any of us. I suppose I'm holding onto that and need to let it go, because that just isn't my situation.

    Thanks, knotties. I appreciate your help!

    The bolded is the least of your concern. Honestly. Who cares if some other woman and some other kids have the same last name? Happens to the Smiths, Jones, Thompsons, and Johnsons on a daily basis. If you want to take FI's last name, do so.

    I will say as a kid, having your mom with a different last name is challenging. My mom got married when I was 17, and it was still hard on me then. You feel a little detached, even though it is "just a name". It's obvious in all the school directories and whatnot that something is "different" about your family since you don't share a name.

    On the flip side when I got married, changing my name was NBD, as I felt zero connection to my maiden name as it wasn't really my "family" name. So that's a positive...ha. :-)

    It's a really personal choice that only you can make with your FI.

  • I would talk to all the involved parties (kids, fiancé) and see if they have strong feelings on the matter, but in the end, it's really your choice. I would probably feel a bit strange about my husband's ex being another Mrs. So-and-So, but she probably likes having the same name as her kids too, right?

    My brother and I have both our parents' names hyphenated, I have bunches of aunts who didn't change their names, and we're all family! :) If I were in your shoes I'd probably keep my name or hyphenate, but hey, I'm in my shoes! Well, actually, I'm not wearing any shoes. Good luck!!
  • Thank you for being so reasonable about this! LOL, I see bride's posting their concerns on boards a lot, and getting responses that are a tad harsh. I appreciate the honest opinions that aren't pushy or making me feel like my thoughts are unfounded.

    A huge sincere thank you, all three responses were what I needed to hear. Heidirs, you're right...I do want to change my name. But I try to get that right out of my head because I am confident it will hurt my kids, therefore is not an option.

    You gals are awesome :)


    Dreamergirl8812southernbelle0915
  • That is a really tough decision and I have no idea what I would do. But, don't worry about someone else having his name too. I can understand how that would bother you but it should have absolutely nothing to do with your decision.
  • My mom took my step-dad's name when they got married.  I have my father's name.  I think it was a bit less common at that time and she'd always write "Mother" after signing something for school etc., but other than those little hassles it really never mattered to me in the slightest.  I will add that she had used her maiden name since my folks divorced when I was a toddler, so it is all I have ever known.  It never made me feel any less her daughter. 

    I'd talk to your kids about possibly changing your name and emphasize that they would always be your children and you would all be family regardless of your names.  Be ready to explain WHY you are changing your name.  They may surprise you... 

    You could also move your maiden to be a middle name so you'd still have it as part of your name.  Or make a whole new name for all of you!  Okay, most men wouldn't go for that and I don't know how it would go over with his kids, but it's a fun thought (make your celeb couple style last name!).

     

    On another note -- I do not have kids, but I kept my ex's name after the split.  Honestly, it just seemed like so much work to change it and just a very sad process (divorce was the right choice, but the loss of the dream is still sad).  I never felt attached to my maiden name and, frankly, the ex's was a LOT easier.  I do plan to change to FI's name...don't mind the hassle when it is a happy reason!

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Is your FI going to be their father or just some random guy in their lives?  Talk to your FI and your kids about having your FI adopt them.  Think about are you becoming a family or not.  It sounds like there is division (i.e., us versus them) and not unity.  What would happen to your kids if something happened to you? Would your FI continue to raise them or are they going to another relative?  Think and talk to your kids about what a name means; it doesn't change who you are, it doesn't indicate possession.
  • erkoleerkole
    10 Comments
    member
    edited August 2013
    @clg,
    My children's biological father isn't involved in their lives. So if I take the new name, it becomes a name that he, I and his children (and the ex) share. But my children would be the only two with my maiden name. If their father was involved, I may not have been so concerned about this and what you said about it confirmed that.

    @another,
    My FI has expressed interest in adopting them. My kids were initially confused, they didn't want to be 'adopted'. Once we explained that it was a legal term and not  adoption in the sense they know it, they were very open to the idea and I saw them light up.

    I did talk to my children about this a little. I asked them what their opinion was. Should I keep mine, hyphenate or change? And what would they like to do, do they want to keep, hyphenate or change? I laugh a little because one child wants to change and wants me to change too. The other child wants to keep but it's cool if I hyphenate. Now THAT is getting crazy. I'll have one twin with one last name and another twin with a different? LOL I couldn't help but chuckle over that.
    We kept the convo light and I only asked them to keep an open mind and consider the options and how it would make them feel if I chose any of the three. My kids and I are very close, I don't worry that they would hide their true feelings about it...I'm too good at reading them.

    On the other hand, my FI and I discussed it and it went a bit different. He hadn't realized the thought I had to put into it and was not thrilled that there was a possibility we would have different last names. Which I understand, and that doesn't excite me either. He does understand the kids come first and I won't make a decision that hurts them. I don't know anyone that wants to go through a name change twice, but if it came down to it I could hyphenate until the kids were grown and then drop my maiden once they moved on to college.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that I do want to change my name. Part of me is frustrated at the situation simply because it isn't simple at all. I believe I will end up hyphenating and 'going by' my new name.

    Thank you knotties. :)

  • I get what you're going through, though it has bothered me in theory a lot more than it has in practice.  FI, his ex and I have an oddly amiable relationship but it has worked out great for us and is awesome for their kids.  If you ever want to talk about it don't hesitate to PM me.  

    Glad you talked about it with the kiddos.  I would refrain from giving your kids different last names from one another just to avoid the "us vs them" mentality.  My stepmom kept her maiden name for her first marriage and when she married my dad she made her maiden name a middle name, so she had two middle initials - is that an option for you?  Names are super personal so it's a tough decision for all 3 of you.  I imagine if your FI is serious about adopting them it's one you'll repeat more than once between now and the wedding.

  • I did some research yesterday, and am now wondering if it's an option for me to have two last names without hyphenating? If so, how does that work? Must I use both names, can I use one name? This would make me feel better than using my maiden as a middle, since we don't often use our middle names.
    It would also make me feel better, as I really don't care for hyphenating. I have no idea why, it's just simply personal preference. There are lots of happy family members and friends who hyphenate and I think it's great for anyone who embraces it. I am dragging my feet on it.
  • erkole said:
     This would make me feel better than using my maiden as a middle, since we don't often use our middle names.
    You can opt to use your middle name more.  I have known several people who use theirs regularly.  I don't know the law on the "double last name," but you could treat it as such even if your maiden name is legally your middle name
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • clg, my hesitation is that on official forms I would not have the same last name as my children. Even though I could 'use' my middle name, that would only be for social use. I realize it may seem like a small technicality, but for my children and I it means a lot.
  • You would need to check with your County Clerk's Office as to whether you are able to do this sort of name change with marriage. Some places allow it and some only allow hyphenation for those who want two last names. A legal name change is always an option, but involves more work than a name change with marriage. (Is that the answer you're after?)

  • Hope I didn't come off as inconsiderate of your feelings (and I've been told I spend to much time with "me too"s and sharing my story when others are telling theirs).  Your name is totally a personal thing....just trying to help!  I hope you find an answer that works for you, the kids, and the new family. 

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • No hard feelings at all! I understand what you mean and where you're coming from. We don't have anyone with hyphenated names in my family, nor do we have anyone with different names than their children. So I haven't grown up being "used" to this.
    I did call my county clerk. They were clueless! Next I called the state, thankfully I received an answer that yes, I am allowed two last names without a hyphen in my state. My fiance' is happy with me having both, as he knows that socially I will be Mrs. Smith not Mrs. Jones Smith or Mrs. Jones-Smith. This way we don't technically have different last names, I just have two.
    I realize everyone has different emotional connections and thoughts about their name and how to treat it. What works for me may be crazy to someone else! And that's ok!

    Thanks everyone,

    (soon to be) Mrs. Jones Smith!
  • Sounds like two names are the way to go. I was born with a hypenated name and it was a big mouthful until I finally grew up and chose just one. But it's a good way to keep in touch with all the important parts of your past and current family. Your kids are lucky you're taking such consideration.
  • Peaches, I appreciate your comment very much, thank you!
  • He could always change his name to yours. Then you'll all four have the same name. It sounds like you've found a solution that works for you, but it's food for thought. :)
  • My cousins were born before their parents were married and they were named "Williams" after their parents were married Mom, and kids changed their names to "Brown" to match Dad. It may be a Canadian thing but they were able to change the kids names too. Could be somthing to consider.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards