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Name Change Musings

I've been very undecided about whether to change my last name or not. My last name is definitely an unusual, long, hard-to-pronounce-and-spell last name, but I love it because of that. It's a part of a family identity which I'm proud of, and a name I will have spend 28 years of my life going by -- I've earned a masters degree with it, and got myself into law school with it. But I'm also a traditional person, and I would like to have the same last name as my husband and kids to show unity within the family we are building together. 

I should note that I like FI's name, too. He also has a rich sense of family pride and history, and definitely wants to keep his name. He has been supportive of me keeping my own name if I want. Our two names hypenated, however, would be too much for me -- they are both long, ethnic names and do not jive well together. 

So right now I'm basically going back and forth between two options: 
(1) Make my maiden name my legal middle name after we're married, so I can keep it that way, or
(2) Keep my maiden name as my surname legally and professionally, although I am fine being addressed as "Mrs. Fi's last name" socially and casually by people who may not know. My aunt did this, and I didn't' know she kept her maiden name until I was 20 years old. For years I had addressed cards and letters to her as "Mrs. Uncle's last name." She is pretty chill about it but at the same time gets to keep her maiden name professionally, which I admire.

Thoughts from other ladies who have done similar things/ are contemplating doing them?

                    


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Re: Name Change Musings

  • I did number 1. I liked my maiden name more than my married name but I want to have the same name as my future kids and my husband wanted me to have it too. I understand what you mean about it being weird and it defiantly affected me more than I thought it would.


    tigerlily6OurWildKingdom
  • @lnixon8, I know, really was not something I thought I would be waffling back and forth about so much. It's been hard to make my mind up on the matter. 
                        


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  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
    Moderator 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    Personally, I dropped my maiden name. However, I know a ton of people who moved their maiden name to their middle name so they could still have their family name be a part of them. 

  • I dropped my maiden name too. None of my previous accomplishments, like graduating law school with honors and passing the bar, have been diminished just because I did them under a different last name. I am still just as connected to my family now as I was before when we shared a last name. 

    But if it is that important to you, then I think either of your options are good ones. Do what makes you happy and comfortable. There is no "right" way to resolve this. All that matters is you are happy.
    tigerlily6OurWildKingdom
  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    When I married the first time, my ex didn't like the idea of me keeping my maiden name. He thought it was rude and hurtful. That should have been a flag of sorts for me, but too late now! So, I changed my name. When I remarried, I knew I had to get rid of my ex's last name. So, I took my current H's name, but replaced my middle name with my maiden name. I will never have children, but I wanted to maintain some name consistency for professional reasons.

     







    tigerlily6OurWildKingdom
  • I did number 1 because I've published work, begun making a career under that name, and what people know of my work it's by my maiden name. I wanted to go by that professionally, so it seemed easiest.

    I like what  @littlemushroom said about it not changing your accomplishments, this is absolutely the case. You definitely don't need to go by your maiden name just because you got in to school with that name. Presumably you'll make your career under whatever name you choose once you graduate and start working. For me it was really about the consistency of my publishing record, although it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. 
    tigerlily6OurWildKingdom
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    edited March 2016

    I made my last name my middle name and took H's last name. H's last name is really weird, both spelling and aloud. I'm not a fan of it, but it was really important to H that I take it.

    We've been married almost two years and I legally changed my name over a year ago. I am not used to it at all. Not even a little bit. On our mortgage papers and stuff, I feel like it's not "my" name. I wouldn't change it back, but I kind of wish I hadn't changed it at all.

    ETA: Jokingly, I wanted to combine our names. It would have worked - like, if his name was Schneider and mine was Newton, we could easily have been Schnewton. That's our dog's last name since we adopted her out of wedlock.

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    ernursejOurWildKingdom
  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I did a variation of option 1.  I went by my middle name all my life, and I hated it (not my middle name ... I hated going by another name).  My maiden name was / is a big part of my life (in college, I was mostly called by my maiden name), so I didn't want to lose that.  I opted to change my name to be [birthmiddle] [maiden] [husbandlast]

    It's been 3 years and I'm starting to get used to it.  I still sometimes introduce myself with my full name since I went by my maiden name for so long (and our relationship is still relatively new).
    tigerlily6OurWildKingdomcharlotte989875
  • I put a lot of thought into this when I got married. I had my maiden name for 27 years, got my master's, and published two scientific papers with it. My maiden name was a pretty important part of my identity and actually went by it in grad school for some reason, so I'll always answer to it. However, my maiden name is a little weird, hard to spell, and constantly mispronounced. My married name is unique, but easy to spell and say and I actually really like it. In the end, I wanted my H and I and our future family to all have the same last name. So I changed mine. I dropped my maiden name because I love my middle name that my parent's gave me. I'm happy with the change nearly a year later and it works for me. I think if I hadn't changed my name, I would wish I had and would have ended up doing it at some point.  Sometimes, though, I still mentally refer to myself with my maiden name when chastising myself for a silly mistake or something like that. Probably always will! There's really no wrong choice though!
    tigerlily6charlotte989875
  • I took DH's last name.  However, his mother took his father's last name legally and continued to use her maiden name as a legal alias under which she practiced family law.  She still uses it for her work with the prison society.  She's said this was partly so people can't find her as easily, especially since DH's last name is EXTREMELY uncommon and most of them live on the same street.

    Also, if we ever get printed labels, they're going to say Mr. and Mrs. My-first-name DH's-last-name:)
  • I did a variation of option 1.  I went by my middle name all my life, and I hated it (not my middle name ... I hated going by another name).  My maiden name was / is a big part of my life (in college, I was mostly called by my maiden name), so I didn't want to lose that.  I opted to change my name to be [birthmiddle] [maiden] [husbandlast]

    It's been 3 years and I'm starting to get used to it.  I still sometimes introduce myself with my full name since I went by my maiden name for so long (and our relationship is still relatively new).
    @holyguacamole79, that's a cool reconfigurement, I like it! I also have gone just by my maiden name several circles of friends, which is another reason I think I'm reluctant to let it go. 

    Also, @littlemushroom, thank you for your comment. I completely agree changing my last name is not something that would diminish anything I have done, nor sever any ties or respect I have for the family I grew up with. I admit that I think I cling to my name a bit because FI has also earned higher degrees in the same circles and fields (and is planning on attending law school, too) so I kind of want my achievements to "stand out" as my own. He's definitely smarter than me and more likely to gain honors distinctions and such -- he did it in our former grad program and I expect he'll do the same again. On one hand I love that he is so smart, but on the other hand, it makes me feel a bit competitive professionally, and I don't want to come across as riding off his coattails. However, that's rather petty reasoning, and I know it. My mom took my dad's last name when they married in med school, and she has been able to earn her own independent reputation as a good physician in the same community. If anything, they have shared success together and that's been a good thing. 
                        


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  • emmaaaemmaaa North Carolina mod
    Moderator 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary
    I did a variation of option 1.  I went by my middle name all my life, and I hated it (not my middle name ... I hated going by another name).  My maiden name was / is a big part of my life (in college, I was mostly called by my maiden name), so I didn't want to lose that.  I opted to change my name to be [birthmiddle] [maiden] [husbandlast]

    It's been 3 years and I'm starting to get used to it.  I still sometimes introduce myself with my full name since I went by my maiden name for so long (and our relationship is still relatively new).
    I had this to deal with also. I go by middle name so I toyed with the idea of dropping my first name but I was so used to it because so many people call me both.

  • I took H's last name and made my maiden name my middle name... It was important to both me and H that we had the same last name, and I wanted to take his. My maiden name is a woman's first name that was common a long time ago (though pretty uncommon now), but spelled differently. No one ever spelled it correctly, even if I spelled it out for them.

    I wanted to keep my maiden name in some way, since my dad only has sisters, and I am one of four daughters. We have a couple of distant cousins with our last name, but otherwise it's dying out. Plus, I hated my old middle name, so keeping my maiden as my middle name made the most sense.
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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @madamerwin , my brother is the last one to (possibly) carry on my maiden name ... so I get it totally.
    madamerwin
  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    edited March 2016
    I took DH's last name and dropped my maiden name entirely. I have always loved the combination of my first name and middle name, and really wasn't willing to give that up. Plus, my parents went through a nasty divorce a few years back, and my dad and I have no relationship. My mom goes by her maiden name frequently now, so I really just didn't want to keep my maiden name.

    ETA words

  • For what it's worth, I did change my name and didn't move my maiden to middle.  I really regret not keeping it in some form or another. 
  • I too, am trying to figure out what to do. My FI doesn't care what I do. My maiden name ends with me so I need to talk to my Dad and find out his thoughts. I'm assuming that he won't care, but I'd like to make sure. I have a degree and a professional identity that are important to me, but I know that several of my colleagues have changed their last names and I now have problems even remembering what their maiden name was. It is also a lot of items and documents to change over. I went looking about a new e-mail address and no matter what I use in combo, all the good e-mail addresses have been taken. My FI's last name is extremely common. At least I have ~7 months to figure it out. 
  • ernursej said:
    I too, am trying to figure out what to do. My FI doesn't care what I do. My maiden name ends with me so I need to talk to my Dad and find out his thoughts. I'm assuming that he won't care, but I'd like to make sure. I have a degree and a professional identity that are important to me, but I know that several of my colleagues have changed their last names and I now have problems even remembering what their maiden name was. It is also a lot of items and documents to change over. I went looking about a new e-mail address and no matter what I use in combo, all the good e-mail addresses have been taken. My FI's last name is extremely common. At least I have ~7 months to figure it out. 
    I changed my last name, but I will never change my email address... Too much of a pain in the ass, even compared to the actual legal paperwork you have to do for a name change. Plus, since my maiden name is now my middle name, my email is [email protected], and I am fine with that.
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  • I took H's last name and made my maiden name my middle name... It was important to both me and H that we had the same last name, and I wanted to take his. My maiden name is a woman's first name that was common a long time ago (though pretty uncommon now), but spelled differently. No one ever spelled it correctly, even if I spelled it out for them.

    I wanted to keep my maiden name in some way, since my dad only has sisters, and I am one of four daughters. We have a couple of distant cousins with our last name, but otherwise it's dying out. Plus, I hated my old middle name, so keeping my maiden as my middle name made the most sense.
    this! To the bolded, I'm in the same situation. My last name is important to me because my dad has two brothers, one of them doesn't have any kids. My other uncle has two sons, one of them probably won't have kids and the other has a daughter and just recently had a son (yay! New baby!!!) and then my dad has me and my sister. So I feel like if I don't keep my last name it will die out. My FI is really adamant that I take his last name, he wants me and our future kids to have the same last name. I thought about moving my maiden as a middle but both my maiden and his last name end in an "s" so it doesn't really sound good together and doesn't flow lol so I'm at a cross roads. Ultimately though, I probably will take his last name and pray that we end up having more boys in the family lol 

  • photokittyphotokitty where I want to be mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I did option #2. Although I find myself getting little, by little, more annoyed when people address me by his last name. I thought I'd be cool with it, but instead it feels like those people don't care enough to get my name right.

    We don't have kids yet, so maybe I'll feel different then. But I'm also considering giving any and all kids my last name as their middle name, so both names are included without a hyphen. I'm not a huge hyphen fan.
    :kiss: ~xoxo~ :kiss:

  • I did option #2. Although I find myself getting little, by little, more annoyed when people address me by his last name. I thought I'd be cool with it, but instead it feels like those people don't care enough to get my name right.

    We don't have kids yet, so maybe I'll feel different then. But I'm also considering giving any and all kids my last name as their middle name, so both names are included without a hyphen. I'm not a huge hyphen fan.
    I want to do this is we have daughters, at least, since my maiden name is a female name anyway. Hell, I guess I could do it with sons also... I mean, my dad's middle name is Wing (his grandmother's maiden name), so there is a tradition of maiden names as middle names in my family.
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  • ernursej said:
    I too, am trying to figure out what to do. My FI doesn't care what I do. My maiden name ends with me so I need to talk to my Dad and find out his thoughts. I'm assuming that he won't care, but I'd like to make sure. I have a degree and a professional identity that are important to me, but I know that several of my colleagues have changed their last names and I now have problems even remembering what their maiden name was. It is also a lot of items and documents to change over. I went looking about a new e-mail address and no matter what I use in combo, all the good e-mail addresses have been taken. My FI's last name is extremely common. At least I have ~7 months to figure it out. 
    I had that problem with my maiden name. It was super common. To get an email with my name, I removed the last vowel in my last name because even without it, it was still apparent what my name was. My friend couldn't get any combo of her name to work either, so she used this trick too.  

    Example: Mary Lou Johnson
    Email: [email protected]

    Neither of us ever had any trouble with not getting emails because people included the missing vowel.
    ernursej
  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer

    Can I thread jack? :)

    So FI and I decided that I would be taking his last name legally, after our honeymoon (2 months after the wedding).   In between that decision and now, I've decided to go back to school, so I will be graduating after we're married.  Anyone else in this situation?  Just keep it with the registered/maiden name on the diploma?




  • Also, @littlemushroom, thank you for your comment. I completely agree changing my last name is not something that would diminish anything I have done, nor sever any ties or respect I have for the family I grew up with. I admit that I think I cling to my name a bit because FI has also earned higher degrees in the same circles and fields (and is planning on attending law school, too) so I kind of want my achievements to "stand out" as my own. He's definitely smarter than me and more likely to gain honors distinctions and such -- he did it in our former grad program and I expect he'll do the same again. On one hand I love that he is so smart, but on the other hand, it makes me feel a bit competitive professionally, and I don't want to come across as riding off his coattails. However, that's rather petty reasoning, and I know it. My mom took my dad's last name when they married in med school, and she has been able to earn her own independent reputation as a good physician in the same community. If anything, they have shared success together and that's been a good thing. 
    I think this contributed to me deciding to go by my maiden name professionally, but personally as his last name. My field is male dominated and there are few women that do the type of research that I do. H studies very similar processes. I didn't want people to credit my work to him. Not that he isn't incredibly talented nor would he ever try and take credit for it, but give the biases in my field making the distinction was important to me. 
    tigerlily6kimmiinthemitten
  • I meant to change my last name to my H's...and I still do...but we got married 2 1/2 years ago and the thoughts of visiting a notary, the SS office, and the DMV is just daunting and such an enormous PITA.  Oh yeah, and then my home, my rental property, and my business are in my maiden name.  Though I've heard it is easy to change those also, once I change it legally.

    But so much paperwork and my laziness/procrastination really knows no end.

    I don't have children nor will I (by choice), so that is not an issue for me.

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  • Kept my last name. Our kids will have hyphenated names, and they can decide what to do with it when they're older. My kids will come from my family too, not just Hs, and their names should represent that. Why does my family name get pushed aside just because I'm a girl? H cared for about a minute then got over it. 

    This is of course, my opinion for me. If you  want to change your name, cool.  
    kimmiinthemitten
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    We've talked about switching last names; I take hers, she takes mine. Hyphenating would be a nightmare; my last name is three syllables and hers is four.
    tigerlily6
  • I come from a Scandinavian tradition where last names were not passed down at all.  This was legally changed  in the last century, but many families continued the old way.  I would have been Jane Donaldsdottir.  If I had a brother, he would have been Ole Donaldsen.  Your last name simply told people who your father was, and it changed with every new generation.
    British tradition is used in the USA, but it is not world wide.  I changed my name when I married DH because that was the easiest thing to do.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    tigerlily6OurWildKingdommadamerwinernursej
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