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Customs and Traditions

Name Change Issue

Hi, ladies! I'm going to put this as succinctly as possible.

FI and I had talked between ourselves and had decided that we wanted to take on an entirely separate last name. It's what both of us wanted. However, when he mentioned the subject to his family, they got extremely angry and said they'd never been so hurt, and his Grandma with his last name threatened to never speak to him again. This is going mainly against FI, even though I've told them I'm as much to blame.

Now FI doesn't want to change his name ONLY because of his family's reaction, but I still want to do it. Thoughts?
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Re: Name Change Issue

  • tldhtldh member
    2500 Comments
    This is you decision, however you have to expect this reaction.  Women have traditionally changed their names for centuries - culturally, we're used to this.  It's not a rejection of your name, it's taking his.  However, even today, what you are proposing can come across as a total rejection of his family (and for that matter, yours too).
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  • its your choice, but i would have expected this reaction. as it is. Im the last of my line. David is the last of his. if we both got rid of the last name i think our families would be devestated and rightly so.
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  • It's not like we didn't expect people to be upset over it! We're both technically the last of our lines, but if we had girls it would end there, too. In the fight with his mother, we asked what they would say if we'd decided to take my name, and they thought that was just as bad. I don't hold with the tradition that a woman is a man's property and must therefore take on his name. I do hold with the tradition that a family should share a name (family being mother, father, and children) until the time that the children are grown, at which point they can do whatever they want.

    He doesn't get along with the side of his family whose name he bears, and has wanted to change it since he was 16. Now comes along a perfectly legitimate reason to do so and he's pressured to go along with his family's wants. I just don't think it concerns anybody else, and the fact that it's come this far upsets me. His family should not be SO caught up over a name that they won't speak to us again if we change it. They should love us for the people we are, not what last name we have.
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  • Personally, I think you need to make the decision for yourselves, and not for the rest of his family. You're not going to please everyone, and you'll just have to live with it. One of my cousin's took his wife's name, and no one thought twice about it. The way you make your post sound, you are making up a new last name between each of your names. What about hyphenating? Both of you could take each others name.
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  • vsgalvsgal member
    Eighth Anniversary 250 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    My husband and I changed our given last names to an entirely different last name as well.  Granted, it is an old-school variation of his last name.  He has been using is for a couple of years and he has just legally changed it after the wedding.  I am not sure what to tell you.  His family was mostly supportive, although some relatives refused to call him by the new name.

    He went from Johnson to Janssen, which is the original Norse name that dated back to 1350.  Maybe that is why there was little resistance to the name change.  I mean, is he going from Smith to Valentino or something else way off?  If he is, I can understand why everyone is concerned.  If he is picking something that is in his ancestery, then he can use that to try to explain the change. 

    Other than that I got nothing.
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  • Hyphenating our names is out of the question, because they're both WAY too long to torture ourselves with that. Mine's Italian, and his is Dutch.

    The thing about the name is that he's wanted to change it for a long time, even if it was just to adopt his mother's maiden name. He doesn't get along with the side of his family whose last name he shares. This has been an ongoing battle, but now when he's decided to do something about it, the heat from his family got too much for him. I think we should do what makes US happy, and his family will eventually accept it, regardless of their feelings now.
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  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_customs-traditions_name-change-issue?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:36Discussion:1cfa0c2a-1b90-4c9e-8df1-7e692aac390fPost:48656f13-1482-46f9-8b53-19e3571998b3">Re: Name Change Issue</a>:
    [QUOTE]At the end of the day, it's about the creation of your new family, and that's up to you. There's no expiration date on changing names, so if it keeps his family in line for you both to keep your names at the wedding, so be it. Then when the wedding is over and you're settled, change the name. Either his family will get over it, or they're petty. My guess is as soon as you start having kids, they'll want to know them, and will finally have to accept your new name.  And you can start by using the new last name in quotes, as if it's a nick name, So people can get used to hearing it. 
    Posted by Harry87[/QUOTE]


    The problem with waiting is that it may be harder to do later on. At least in MN, when you apply for the marriage license, you have to write on there what your names will be after the marriage. As soon as the license is signed, the name is changed legally (though you still have to change it on everything else). I didn't look into it too much further, but I think if you are changing it for any other reason than a marriage, you have to pay for it and go to court. To me, this means that if I kept my maiden name on my license, and decided to change it two months later, I would have to pay and be seen before a judge for him to rule on it.

    OP, check the rules in your state about changing your name, and you will see the options you have available. And if he is only hesitating now because of family pressure, even though he really wants to change his name, then he really needs to grow a backbone, and just tell them he is changing his name, end of discussion. It may not sound pleasant, but he needs to do it, otherwise they will comtinue to walk all over him. It is his name, that he has to live with. He shouldn't be unhappy about it just because his extended family might be upset.
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  • redheadfsuredheadfsu member
    2500 Comments
    edited June 2010
    OP, definitely check your state laws, in this situation some states would require you both to go to court to legally change your names. Unless the woman is taking the man's name or hyphenating, many states require you to go a legal name change. Which usually just requires a petition, filing fee, & you telling a judge you are not tying to evade anything (like loans, lawsuits, etc.)

    But your FI has to decide. If he decides not to change it do not pressure him. If you pressure him you are no better than his family. The decision is 100%  his (for his name) & 100% yours (for your name). Let him decide for himself, give him time.

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  • Redhead, I agree! The only problem is that when I tell him how I feel about me changing my name to another one, he feels as though I'm pressuring him. I don't want to pressure him, but I don't want to leave the subject alone until we decide on something that makes us both happy, or at least one that we can both agree on. The time is getting too short to just let it sit (getting married in just over a month).

    I want us both to have the same last name, but I'm not too happy about his name. I don't particularly get along with that side of his family, either, and I know it's a little bit petty to say it, but that side of his family is not one that I necessarily want to share a name with! (He's felt that way for years, too.)

    I really appreciate your responses, ladies. You've given very good advice without being mean or bitchy like I've run into in the past, and it's helped me a lot.
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  • One thing I think you should do soon, like the next few days, is sit down together and come up with every possible solution you have for this problem. In this case, each of you write down every name option you (reasonably) have. This includes each of you keeping your own names, changing to each others, hyphenating, the new name you came up with, and any other ideas I'm not thinking of. Then, as a couple, discuss each one rationally and tell each other how you would feel if you changed to that, or if your partner changed to that. Then, together, you can cross off each option neither of you are comfortable with (ie: hyphenating) and talk out the options without pressuring each other.

    Also, have you done pre-marital counseling? When we did ours, he had us make lists like this for any arguments we were having, and it really helped. If you haven't done it yet, or even if you have, maybe have a trusted friend or your pastor sit down with you and discuss this rationally and with an unbiased opinion. It may help both of you to have someone who personally knows the two of you to discuss the options you have. With only a month to go, you honestly need to figure this our really soon. Good luck!
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  • Qwerty, the problem with that is that FI is gone for the next three weeks without phone or internet, so the first chance we'll have to talk about it is three weeks before the wedding. I can write him letters, and I've suggested to him in the letters that we could take his mother's maiden name, as he gets along with that side of the family better and that's a name we could both agree on.

    We've been through pre-marital counseling, but we hadn't brought up the name subject to his family at that time. We had expected everyone to be upset, but we hadn't thought it would come to this.

    I do like the writing down the name idea, though!
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  • what does your FI suggest at this point? you need to actually listen to him. it sounds like he's going through a really tough time. even if he doesnt' particularly like his family, it is still tough to face rejection from them.

    is it important to him that both of you to have the same last name? does he now want you to take his name? or does he just not want to deal with it right now? I understand you have these desires to do the name change as soon as you are married... and yes, it might be easier too. but this is a pretty big deal it sounds like. you should give him plenty of time to process what is going on with his family and make a decision for himself. you should also hold off on changing your name until he is ready. I can see how he would feel pressured by you changing your name. plus, if you change your name and then when he's ready to change his name, he decides he doesn't like the name you've picked, then you're back at square one anyhow. so just wait. yes, it's hard. but I think your FI's feelings are more important than whether you have the same name immediately after getting married.
  • I guess what I'm wondering is why, if FI wanted to change his name because he does not like the family members who share his name, he is now upset because said family members are against it? I mean, these are people he does not particularly like, right? To the point that he wants to disassociate his relation to them by changing his name?

    Maybe hypenate both names, if they're not too long, and become the Smith-Jones family. That way both last names legally change, both of you pass your dying names on to what ever kids you have...I know a few people who have done this, and it's still pretty common in the UK.

    and then your kids can figure out what the hell to do when they marry and already have two last names! ;)
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