Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

Changing my Name

My fiancee and I got into a HUGE argument over Christmas regarding my last name.  I don't want to change it.  I love him very much, but changing my last name is something I'm really having a hard time with.  He says that if I can't bring myself to take his last name, he's not sure if he can marry me!  And I just can't see myself at all without my maiden name.  Both names are rather long, and hyphenating would be akward.  Any ideas out there?  We have a while before the wedding, but this is something really bothering me!

Re: Changing my Name

  • Well... I understand how you feel.  I didn't change my name either, but I did take his name in addition to mine, but only socially, not legally...  But, I live in Mexico and that's how it's done.

    My old/legal name:  Jane Doe

    My new/social name:  Jane Doe de Smith

    The "de" means that I'm part of the Smith Family now...  

    In your case, maybe you could just add his last name to yours, without a hyphen:  Jane Doe Smith


  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Personally, I don't think I could have married a man that thought that his desires trumped mine.  It's your name, and your decision.  Do not let him bully you on this, or this behavior will continue through your marriage.

    When this conversation first came up with my DH, his response was "it's your name, you can do what you want with it.  Of course, I'd be honored if you took mine."  A man who respects you respects your right to make your own decisions.  Whether or not you change your name doesn't affect him in the slightest. 
  • I'd have some problems marrying a guy that wouldn't let me make my own decisions.  Oooor... not be able to voice how much something meant to him without it turning into a major argument.  Just food for thought there.

    I'm not changing my name.  I'll use his name socially, but I will never legally go change it.  It's the same idea as expat pumpkin and seems like a reasonable compromise.
  • My FI was the same way as MyNameIsNot.  He said it was up to me to change or not, but he would love to have me take his.  He is very traditional guy and I know he wants me too, but left the decision totally up to me. I am taking his name, but I want that decision to be mine completely.  Our conversation was more of those random in the car ones, that he answered as well I could have asked him too.
    I remember my BF in college getting into a huge argument at her rehersal dinner with her FI about the words "obey" in the vows. He was seriously livid that she and I and a few others (both men and women) were joking about it not being in our vows.  I remember asking her later that night if she was sure about marrying a man that angry over the word obey, she was "sure" then.  That was 14 years ago and he has never changed, that have split up and separated more than once over the same type of issues.
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  • I changed my name but it was something that I WANTED to do.  I'm not sure I could marry a man that didn't respect my decision to change/not change my name.
  • Ditto duckie1905.. I'm going to change my name but only because I've decided for myself that's what I want to do. I want to be associated with FI as a unit especially when we have kids. Also, I have a brother so it's not like I need to carry on the family name, and I've never really liked my last name so I'm kind of glad to be saying goodbye to it. FI's has a little more zing to it.. haha.

    These days a lot of girls are holding onto their last names when getting married, some for professional reasons and some for personal reasons. It's up to you, and yes it's a decision that you and FI should definitely talk about, but if he's talking about not even wanting to marry you if you won't take his name then you may have bigger problems then just simply changing a last name. You guys really need to talk about it and come to some kind of compromise. Marriage is all about compromise, and this may be a biggie for you guys, but make sure you settle it and not just brush it under the rug.
  • I am surprised this never came up before you got engaged actually. Anyway, I would be leery of marrying someone who did not recognize the importance of "my" name and reacted in that way to my preference to keep my own name.

    I AM choosing to change my name (and I don't like hyphenated names), however, up until I actually got engaged, I never actually thought I would. It has nothing to do with my family "lineage" or any of the sort - it is just MY name and has been for thirty years. My name is linked to many of my personal and professional achievements, and so on, and is what I am comfortable with.

    FI knew this before we got engaged, and though he said he would be honoured if I did take his name, it was certainly entirely up to me. He reaffirmed this once we were engaged. However, once we were engaged I realized it actually felt very comfortable for me to change it despite the hassle of it personally and professionally (and he is very excited about it too). The point being, in the end we both recognized it was my decision, and he respected that it was my decision - and also recognized that changing my name is a big thing for me.
  • Perhaps you should use your maiden name as your middle name? That way, your maiden name is still a part of you, but you also have his name.

    Jane Marie Doe to Jane Doe Smith.
  • edited December 2009
    I completely agre with PPs. Why the hell does he care what YOUR name is? Suggest he change his name to yours if you wants you to have the same last name! He needs to get it into his head that changing your name has no bearing on how much you love him or how committed you are to the relationship.

    For me and my FI, it was a non-issue. I mentioned it casually to my mother, and FI asked me about it a few days later. It was just, "So, are you keeping your name?" Me: "Yes." Him: "Ok. Will we be like Jon and Dara (his best friend and his wife) and give our kids different last names?" Me: "Nah, they can have your name. Or we can combine them or something, but I want our kids to have the same last name as each other." Him: "Sounds good."

    I love my last name, but it's too long and complicated to hyphenate, even with FI's short, 1-syllable last name. (I'm also glad he brought it up, because I saw it as such a non-issue that I didn't want to make a huge deal out of it. He also expected me to say I wasn't changing my name.)

    I would talk to him about it more, because *I* would have a problem marrying someone who was that controlling. You also don't have the change it the day you get married - you can reevaluate 6 months or a year or 5 years after the wedding. Perhaps if you choose to have children, you'll decide to change your name and have the same "family name" at that point. It's not now or never.
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  • you could keep your maiden name and use it as your middle name. drop your given middle name.

    using the above example.

    Jane Ann Doe becomes Jane Doe Smith.
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  • I'm very concerned that he's so concerned about this.

    I have every intention of taking FI's name and completely dropping my maiden name, but FI actually had no input on this decision. I personally hate my maiden name and am pretty traditional, so unless the guy I was marrying's last name was "buttmunch", I knew I'd always do things this way.

    FI knew how I felt on the matter before we were even engaged. When it first came up, he did say that he liked that I was taking his name, but if I decided to hyphenate or not take his name at all he would have respected my choice, since it's my name, and I'm the one who has to spend the rest of her life with whatever choice I made.


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  • Where I'm from everyone keeps all their names. I won't be dropping anything. I'm tacking FI's last name on to the end of mine. My maiden name will become like another middle name.

    Jane Ann Doe will be Jane Ann Doe Smith and use Jane Smith.
  • I like katebh's idea about just adding the FI's name to the end of my current name.  I don't really have a strong opinion one way or the other and my FI would like me to take his name.  I think this is the best of both worlds!  I wouldn't go by a hyphenated last name (because both of our last names are long and unique) but legally I hope to have both.  
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  • I'd also be concerned if FI was so upset/adamant about changing my name.

    FI's last name is long; my last name is long. I've gone back and forth about hyphenating, but I'm seriously thinking of just adding his name. So I'll be Jen Middle-Name Maiden-Name FI's-LastName. It'll be seriously LONG (31 letters long TOTAL), but whatever. It's my decision.
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  • You are not alone in this battle!  I have no ties to my father or his family and NEVER thought that I would have problems giving up the name but...I do.  FI is very traditional and, for once in his life, put his foot down when I said that I wanted to hyphenate or simply add his name to mine.  My name is 26 letters long and it will be 33 letters by adding his last name on to mine-but it's worth it to me to have both.  FI is threatening no compromise also but I am going to bring it up with a neutral party to try to work it out for both of us.  I do not see why it should matter to FI if we ultimately have his name as the last name in ours.  My advice...find out why it is so important to you and see if you really want to keep it.  If so, explain your position without argument (w/neutral party).  One other option is to add his name to yours with the intent of changing it to just his at your 1 yr anniversary.  This gives you time to adjust to married life and it might ease your adjustment to the name.  It also gives you time to use both names professionally.
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  • Like PP mentioned, I plan on making my maiden name my middle name, and taking my fiance's last name.  He really likes my current last name (as do I), and we thought about some combo of the two, but they all sounded strange and didn't seem right.
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