Wedding Customs & Traditions Forum

changing my last name?

I have a bit of a strange dilemna. I have been married once before, and my ex kind of blackmailed me into changing my name (threatened to never wear a wedding ring, etc - should have known right then that that marriage wouldn't work!).  Anyway, even though I have always been against changing my name, I did it.  We had a son, and then got divorced 5 years later.  Becuase of my son, I kept my married name, and have now had it for 17 years.  I am about to get married to a super wonderful man, but am just not sure what to do about my last name.  He doesn't care what I do (he says to just do what makes me happy), but I'm just not sure.  It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense to go back to my maiden name at this point.  It also doesn't seem right to keep my ex-husband's last name when i'm marrying someone else (even to have the same last name as my son).  But it also doesnt' seem right to take someone else's last name again.  It's almost like i'm being passed from guy to guy...  What I would really love is for my fiance and I to take a NEW last name - one that's new for both of us and to start our own family.  But that's the one thing that my fiance doesnt' want to do (change his name).  And that makes me more stubborn about having to change mine (why should I, when he won't?).  There just doesn't seem to be a good answer.  Thoughts?

Re: changing my last name?

  • Your fiancé's name is new to you, right?  So new last name?  That's what I'd do.  Good luck with your decision!! 
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  • He's not forcing you to change your name, so you shouldn't force him to change his. You can change to an entirely new name if you want, but by no means does he have to.
  • You get to pick your last name, your FI gets to pick his. If he doesn't want to change his name, it's not fair of you to expect him to (Just like it was unfair of your first husband to expect you to change yours).

    Clearly, your FI isn't interested in changing his name, nor is he pressing you to have the same name as him. Only you can decide if taking a new name (Or going back to your maiden name) is more important to you than having the same name as him.

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  • MyNameIsNotMyNameIsNot Atlanta member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It's totally up to you.  You have to figure out what you are comfortable with, and go with it.  

    Personally, if you've kept your ex's name after 5 years of marriage and another 12 years after the divorce, it seems like it is YOUR name now, not his.  It seems like if his name bothered you that much, you would have gone back to your birth name after the divorce.  Therefore, I'd just leave it alone.  
  • You need to figure out what YOU want, as others have stated.  If you were not getting remarried, what would you do with your name?  You haven't changed it so far, so I'm thinking you may as well keep it.  Good luck with your decision.

    Background:  I was married previously, never changed my name and had a son (who is now 17).  Most of his friends from school call me Mrs. First Husband's Last Name.  When I marry next year, my FI and I both know that, no matter what my (legal) last name is, there will be lots of ppl who will likely call me that  (Mrs. First Husband's Last Name) forever. 
  • You've had this name for 17 years and if you're not big on switching to the new guy's name, then I say just keep the old one. It's worked for this long.
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  • id honestly keep the name you have now.   going back to maiden doesnt make sense if you like the name you have.  and if you go back to maiden, your FI might find it odd that you dont just change to his name if you are willing to change your name at this point in your life.
  • Obviously this is a personal decision.  But my vote is to change your name to your new husband's name.  I just think it would be strange to be married to a man and have another man's last name.
  • ditto the left your ex a long time ago.  the name isn't his anymore, it's yours. however, if you feel strongly that you were forced into taking this last name and have negative feelings about it you have the option of choosing a new last name (either new husbands, your maiden name or some other name).  marriage is a time of transition, and now is the perfect time to make a very meaningful change to your name.  why not explore taking a new name altogether that denotes your sense of freedom and whole-person-ness. 

    it sounds like you believe you belong to yourself.  so - consider taking a name that is entirely your own.  i know many people who have changed their first names later in life. changing to a new last name is not unheard of.
  • First of all it's your FI's name, maybe he wants to carry his family name. If he doesn't care what you do, then don't change your name, at least for now. Give it some thought between now and after you get married and do what you want to do, not what anyone else wants you to do.

    I don't know you, but if there was any chance of you and FI having a child together, think about what last name he or she would be given. Just something to think about.
  • Eh, it's unreasonable for you to expect him to change his name when he's not expecting you to change yours. If you like your name, just keep it-- you've had it for this long!
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  • I would either keep your name as is or switch it to your new husband's last name because it will be new to you. 
  • I just think it would be strange to be married to a man and have another man's last name.

    well, those that keep our maiden names have another man's last name - our fathers.  OP's last name became HER name when she took it.  its still her name, and its her child's name.
  • I agree that your last name, which was originally from your first husband, is now your name.  You couldn't control the circumstances of how you got it, but you could and did control what you did with it when you got it.  Just like your birth name, it doesn't define you, but you define it.  My first name means "guardian of the sea," and was originally a man's name... I am neither a man, nor a guardian of the sea, but a female law student! :)

    That said, I'm in favor of taking your husband's name.  To me, getting married is a special kind of committment, a special way of joining your lives together, and changing your name goes with that territory.  It's a very visible display of that joining together of your lives, a way of saying, "we're together, I'm with him and he's with me, come what may."
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