Real Life: The Name Change

This topic, believe it or not, was actually broached by a former co-worker of mine over drinks the other night. And it came up both out of curiosity, and because it makes for an interesting topic here on the blog.

“Do you think you’ll change your last name once you get married?” he asked me. When we briefly discussed the merits both for and against name changing, he said, “You should write about it!”

He’s right. It’s a compelling question and one that, like he suggested, is perfect for a Real Life chat.

For me, the name change thing is fraught with lots of personal complications. Some of you have probably figured this out, or maybe even just wondered about it, but my last name is Irish, and clearly, I am not. I was adopted at age 6 months, so for me, my last name has played a big role in my identity (for better and for worse, no pun intended). There’s also a far bigger piece. My father passed away when I was young. So, for a long time, I thought I’d never change my last name — that it would be painful to give up that part of me, this huge piece that shaped many, many facets of my life. However, as the time draws nearer, my feelings go back and forth.

In a logistical sense, it’s probably easier for me to have the same legal last name as my husband, especially if we ever have a child. Everyone always talks about how much of a pain it is if you have a different last name than your kid  (hmm — is this true? Or just something people say?). However, professionally and in my online life, my current plan is to keep my maiden name. Vmac just works much better than the alternative…trust me.

If you’re married, did you change your last name? And if you’re single, do you think you’ll change your last name if you ever decide to get married? I feel like the last name change used to be a given, but that lately, I’ve come across more and more women who feel meh about it. Why do you think that is?

{Image Credit: KT Merry via Once Wed}

71 comments

  1. Hitha On The Go said: replied:

    I didn’t change my name – I tacked on my married name to my maiden on Facebook and on stationary, but I’ve kept my maiden name both professionally and legally. I don’t think I’ll change the name – even when we have kids. I’m still mulling over giving our kids a hypenated last name, but that would be LONG (and a mouthful).

    It’s such a personal decision – I respect women who choose to change theirs. It just wasn’t the decision for me.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. kristin said: replied:

      I second this opinion and did the same. I went back and forth, mulling pros and cons, and not wanting to disrespect anyone’s feelings (myself included). In the end, my original thoughts were the right decision for me, and my husband respected my decision too.

      21 Oct 2012 | Reply
  2. The Yuppie Files said: replied:

    Changing my last name was way more emotional & difficult then I thought it was going to be. I don’t have any special connection like you do, so I can’t even imagine. I’m an only child but do have male cousins so the name carries on, but still. It was really hard to give up such a key part of your identity.

    It was also a pain to get used to it & change every legal document you own! But I’m glad I did because I like having a “family” name. However I totally understand women who do not or who have a deeper connection to their name. I think its a personal choice & one that will be difficult, no matter what you decide. Add this to the list including childbirth of things males never have to deal with! How annoying.

    I will say that my sister-in-law tried the hyphenated thing for awhile but it didn’t stick. I think some names work, others are just a pain. She got tired of writing out a super long name & gave up. Plus I know someone with a hyphenated name who then got married and added on the last name….. so now has 3 last names. None of which are short. That’s a problem!

    Good luck w/your decision- its a process!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  3. I will change my name but there were a lot of factors in my favor for that decision – I have a brother to carry on my family name, my middle name will stay with me and is my dad’s mom’s maiden name, and Elizabeth Schneider Adams is a mouth full :) Adams is nice and easy {oh wait, I’m not even engaged}. Thank god Dave doesn’t read blogs.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. erin (@erincg) said: replied:

      hilarious!!!

      10 Oct 2012 | Reply
  4. I am not married yet but expecting I will be in the next couple years. I believe firmly that once you get married you should take your husbands last name in some form. It’s a respect issue for me. However, my last name means a lot and there is no one else to carry it on so most likely I will hyphenate it.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  5. I think I will change my last name. I have heard that a lot of women change their middle name to their last name (it’s very common in the South) so my name would change from Lauren Elizabeth Corso to Lauren Corso Lucas (….. if we ever get married) but I don’t think I can give up my middle name, as it is my grandmother’s name and she is very important to me. Luckily, I have a brother and he has two boys so I know the name will carry on, but it will be hard to not be known as “Corso” to all of my friends!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  6. I am so glad you wrote about this. : ) Changing my name was something I struggled with for a very long time and I actually didn’t legally change my name until I was pregnant – the point, I thought, of no return.

    My maiden name is Forney. Something so unique and original. It means a lot to me and, as legend has it, the family name carries an abundance of luck. Every time I’ve ever walked into a casino, I’ve walked out with no less than $1K. I’ve won more radio and internet contests than I can count. I’ve been lucky my entire life. I totally attribute all of it to my Forney last name. Also, the name originates from Newfoundland – where my grandparents are from. Giving up Forney was kind of like giving up all of my roots, all of my past. I could not come to terms with it. So I got married and didn’t change my name. For a whole year and a half. Then, when I was 8 months pregnant with our first son, I wanted him to have my husband’s last name – and I pulled the trigger. Now, I’m a Deise (pronounced deese).

    Believe it or not, I’m not as lucky as I was before, but I’m still a little lucky. I walked out of the casino last weekend with $500 insteak of $1K. But, I’ll take it.

    Now, Forney is my pen name. Anything I ever write or publish says Forney on it. I’m proud of that.

    p.s. I have a friend who changed her name finally as a first anniversary present to her husband. It does make a good anniversary present, if you think about it. : )

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  7. it IS a tough decision! i would keep my name professionally, since i work in fundraising and it’s hard enough to maintain relationships with donors without changing your name and making them confused! i also have a very distinctive quebecois name that makes recognition in my field easier, and is a frequent conversation starter, so any leg up is worth hanging onto! personally, though, i would definitely change my last name. i agree with you on the children-with-different-last-names front, because i do think it’s harder!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  8. christin said: replied:

    I honestly don’t think I will change my name. I think that there are more women not changing their names and that it will be easier with kids. Also, a lot of kids come from broken homes (a la me) so my parents never had the same last name as me and there were no issues at all. So I wouldn’t worry about that at all.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  9. G said: replied:

    I’m married with two kids and I did not changed my last name. However, we gave our daughters both of our last names and no middle name. We did not hyphenate their last names. In the future if they want to drop one of the last names they can (if you hyphenate you need to drop the whole last name because it counts as just one legally).

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  10. Lisa // Elembee said: replied:

    I’m not particularly attached to my last name, so I’ll probably change it in real life. But for online purposes, since my blog/business name is my initials spelled out, I’ll probably continue using my maiden name (or at least have it on my about page), unless I happen to marry someone with a last name that starts with B.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  11. Nora said: replied:

    I changed my name when I got married but it took be about 2 months to finally get around to it. I wanted to keep the connection with my parents and brother but I also thought it was important to my husband. It was an odd situation but now it seems completely normal with my new last name. I’m glad I changed it.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  12. We’ve discussed this, but the decision to change my name was MUCH harder than expected. I think I always just assumed I would do it without any questions (although I also assumed I wouldn’t get married, so take that contradiction for what you will), but it really is such a huge part of your identity. It’s very difficult to let go of that. At least, it was (and sometimes still is) for me. Plus, there was not another Tobe Asbury on the planet. Now I share my name with several others, all of which are males. Ew.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  13. p.s. I like the cleanup. It’s looking sharp around here! ox

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  14. Lindsay said: replied:

    V -

    I wish I had given it more thought. I just have always gone along with the idea that when you get married, you change your name. It has been a hard transition. It feels weird to introduce myself and I miss my maiden name! Take your time making the decision – there is no rush!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  15. Kelly said: replied:

    I felt more attached to my middle name because it’s my mom’s middle name and I’d like to pass it along to my future daughter, should I have one. So it was a pretty easy decision for me to take my husband’s name.

    But more than that, it actually felt special to take my husband’s name and was kind of the cherry on top of our joining together and being MARRIED. I really enjoy having the same last name and feeling like a cohesive family unit.

    That said, every woman should definitely do what works for them personally or professionally. Does your fiance feel strongly about it either way? Some do and some don’t, it seems.

    Also – if Bridget Forney Deise sees this – my Grandmother is from Newfoundland and my mother and her siblings were born there! My Grandmother’s family name is Gaudet. I have never come across anyone (outside my family, of course) that has roots there, so I was excited to read your post :)

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. Bridget Forney said: replied:

      That’s awesome!!! Haha! I have never met anyone in the states from/with roots in NF either. : )

      3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  16. caitlin said: replied:

    Such a good question! I always think I would like to keep mine, but there’s something really traditional about taking your husbands name. I don’t know if I could part with mine though! It”s like part of my identity.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  17. I will change my name, but I am a traditionalist. I will probably keep my last name for business/professional reasons but then change it in all other aspects of my life / legally! I think it’s a very personal decision. I teased my sister about not changing hers but completely understand why she didn’t want to.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  18. rita said: replied:

    great conversation! joanna wrote a great post about this last week as well on a cup of jo, and the comments there were awesome as well.

    i kept my last name and didn’t really even question it.. but our future children’s names brought on a lot of conversation. they will be first name, middle name, my last name his last name, but we are fortunate that we both have shorter last names that (we think) sound good together. i realize this is not always the case!

    i was adamant that i have their same name, i think if i have to carry and birth the babies, they can have my name!:)

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  19. I changed my name because it meant a lot to my husband and honestly, I wasn’t as attached to my last name as I am to my middle name (Marie) which is a tradition in my family and all the girls have it.

    Down here there would be lots of explaining to confused people why I kept my name, had I chosen to do so, and I wanted our (eventual) family to feel unified. The actual process of changing it, however, is a pain in the ass that I don’t wish on anyone. :)

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  20. Abby said: replied:

    I am SO glad you wrote about this topic. This was the one wedding related task that caused me the most anguish. I never wanted to change my last name – it’s my name and it’s who I am. I also have a fairly unique last name, so there are only a few other people with my name, whereas my husband’s last name is very common.

    After much thought, and discussions with my friends and fiance (and many google searches), I decided that hyphenating my last name is what is right for me.

    But, as a white girl marrying an Asian guy, keeping my last name was not the most accepted idea :) Whenever I receive mail from my in-laws it’s still addressed with only my husband’s last name, not my new hyphenated last name.

    I liked the idea of just adding onto my name and I feel that’s kind of how marriage is. You are still the same person you were before you got married, you’re just adding on a wonderful, new component.

    If we have children, they will have my husband’s last name, which pleases my in-laws and I still get to share a part of my last name with them :)

    Despite hyphenating my name, we are still considering using my maiden name as a first name if we have kids. That’s another way to keep your maiden name – pass it on to your child as their first name. Your last name could make a cute first name!

    Ultimately, it’s a very personal decision and you just have to do what is right for you. And then own your decision, because no matter what you do, everyone has an opinion and it won’t always match yours. I felt like I initially had to do a lot of explaining on why I hyphenated my name, but I love my new last name and wouldn’t have done it any other way!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. Abby said: replied:

      Whoa, sorry for such a long comment! I just got married in May and this issue is still very fresh in my mind :)

      3 Oct 2012 | Reply
    2. Krystle said: replied:

      Another white girl marrying and asian guy here!

      I’m leaning towards keeping my name (he wants me to keep it too), but i’m not in a rush to make the decision. His brother also married a white woman (sensing a trend here…) and she kept her name. Their three boys have the father’s name and there’s been no issues.

      i gotta say though, im kinda tempted to change it just to throw people for a loop – no one’s expecting a blonde white girl to walk in when they see the name Tsai :-P

      19 Oct 2012 | Reply
  21. Eleanor said: replied:

    This is one of my favourite topics, and I love reading the responses here. So many different viewpoints from intelligent, thinking women.

    Personally, I will never change my name– noway, no how. I’m very attached to it, not only to the ties it has to my paternal grandparents, but because I’ve grown up with it. It may not be pretty (no one can pronounce it correctly) but it’s mine :) If in the future, it’s really important to my hypothetical husband that we have the same name, he is welcome to share it with me!

    As for having a “family name”, I’d like to play Devil’s Advocate for a second and point out that there is no law that states that children have to have their father’s surname (at least not where I’m from/live- I could be wrong about the States!). I believe that women should have just as much right and opportunity to pass on their name to their children.

    Even if you decided you did want your children to have your husband’s name, in my experience it’s not a big deal at all. My Mum was a second-wave feminist who didn’t change her name (but gave me and my sister our Dad’s, since she didn’t want us sounding like “law firms” with two, haha) and throughout my whole life, no one has even batted an eye at it. Never a single problem with school, doctors, flying with her, etc.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  22. JCB said: replied:

    What impeccable timing! I am in the (arduous) process of changing my last name right now. Initially, I intended to keep my maiden name, as I am my fathers only child and wanted to keep his legacy going. Ultimately, it was important to my husband that we have one family name moving forward. Since we have been together for nearly six years, and lived together for three, changing my name is actually one of the things that makes being married feel even more special and new.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  23. Victoria C said: replied:

    I plan on changing my name after I get married next year. I had always planned on changing it. But I never realized how tough it would be to give up my name. My last name is very unique here in the US; I am 99% sure my family is the only one. Thinking about not having it as my name is really weird. I just love the idea of being a family together with the same name. Mr. and Mrs! I definitely understand and respect why some women choose to keep theirs though.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  24. Jenny B said: replied:

    It’s so interesting reading all the responses for why women do or don’t change their names. It is also interesting to note that there is not one thought given to the sexism inherent in the fact that women are the ones giving up their identities. When I got married in the mid 90′s, feminism was still an issue in this country, and people still had conversations about it! The lack of thought about equality in women’s issues now worries me a little, because I see steps constantly going backwards regarding reproductive rights around the country, political agendas furthered on the backs of women losing their rights, and a generation who was raised with the ideal of equal rights as a given giving no thought to what is necessary to keep those rights.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  25. Trezlen said: replied:

    I am single, but this is something that I’ve thought a lot about. I’ve had people suggest all sorts of reason why I should change my name. But the issue for me is that all of my professional degrees and my professional reputation are connected to my last name. It would be a bit complicated to have to change my name when I get married. What I find interesting about this topic is that not every culture deals with this issue. My Italian my friends who are married have different last names than their spouses. It is never a question. Name change never comes up. And the children automatically take the father’s last name. No one makes a big deal out of it. It’s just the way it is. I think I appreciate this no-pressure attitude to marriage and name change better than the one in this culture that makes me feel as if I am rejecting an as-yet-nonexistent husband because I don’t want to give up all of the accrued benefits attached to my current name.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  26. Gabrielle | Savvy Home said: replied:

    Tough one! I think I’d probably legally change my name after kids more so than after the wedding (I’d probably change it informally then) – and I would definitely keep my last name as my middle name AND as my last name professionally. That way you pay respect to your new spouse and you retain a part of your heritage… But in the end, it’s all about what you feel comfortable with. I think you’re a very bright woman and will ultimately make the right choice.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  27. Elisabeth said: replied:

    I think this is a really important question and I am a little torn. I will most likely change my name. I got married last summer and still haven’t gotten around to it. On facebook and on church records it is my husbands last name but in all my classes and work situations is my maiden name. I think as part of becoming one with my husband (and for the ease of my children – having friends who have different names than their parents it really is harder) I will change it. I think its an important sign of unity and commitment – but still something that I’m putting off :P Is that terrible?

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  28. TheNOW said: replied:

    I definitely had issues changing my name. My last name was such a big part of me and my family and I felt weird about it. It took me about six months after we were married to realize I wanted to change it. And I really felt closer to my husband…that sounds so cheesy! Oh…. and my new last name is Midgett…that hasn’t been easy. Lots of lame jokes come my way. xo

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  29. Nicole said: replied:

    I had a struggle with the name change. I literally had a break down.
    My last name is Hawaiian and so is my middle name. It flowed perfectly. Long story short, I did it (at least on the marriage licence) because my husband asked me to. It meant a lot to him. However, I did tell him that I was going to keep my maiden name for business.
    Honestly though, I have no urge to change my name on any of my identifications yet …that’s another struggle I am facing.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  30. Carlene RD said: replied:

    I went through a name transition period after I was married last year. Luckily I have an interesting first name so many people were still able to know me with the last name change. For about four months I hyphenated my name.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  31. Lydia Joy said: replied:

    At this point, I think I might do the whole hyphenated thing. My name is such a part of me. I have a lot of pride with where I come from. However, I’m so far from the particular issue of changing my name and marriage, so my decision may completely change.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  32. Dana McDowell said: replied:

    I have always been conscious that my given name didn’t roll off the tongue…something about the D in Dana didn’t sound quite as nice with my maiden name (as I would have liked). My sister and I always joked (before I met Ethan) about me finding a guy with the perfect last name…we were thinking a G last name. But then Ethan popped up in my life, and Dana McDowell sounded pretty good to me! I love that there is still a w in it (like my maiden name had), and since my first and middle names are from the family, I still feel connected. Part of me is sad that I couldn’t carry on the family name, but…I guess I’ll leave that to my pharmacist sister who has so fittingly donned the title Dr. Woz =)

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  33. I’m totally single, but wanted to weigh in anyway! This might sound stupid but I also think it depends on what my man’s last name is! I really really like my last name now as it’s pretty unique – I don’t know anyone else who has it, and even within my dad’s family we’re the only “branch” that spell it the way we do. And of course it will also depend on how important it is to my husband-to-be. I have friends who got married last year and they both changed their names to be hyphenated, with her maiden name first and his last name after the hyphen, which is pretty cool! (It works for their names, but may not for all!) Oh well, until I really have to deal with this issue, these are my opinions! :)

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  34. Lani said: replied:

    Single and perhaps a little bit too logical. The only reason why I wouldn’t change it would be because I would be too lazy to make the change to my email and other legal documents. Of course it also depends on whether or not my husband and family were bothered by it.

    I have my mom’s maiden name and my sis has my dad’s name. Its a long story….and yes we both came from the same set of parents. It’s a bit of a pain having to explain to ppl when they ask. But that only happens once and awhile. My dad used to be bothered by it but now doesn’t care. Of course if I was a son…then that would probably be a different story.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  35. Tara said: replied:

    My husband dug his heels on this one and wanted me to change my name. He’s so chilled out about everything else, so it was really VERY surprising. He even said his Dad would be insulted if I kept my name, which was, obviously, ridiculous. I was 32 when we married so was used to my name and liked it.

    At first I told him I wasn’t going to do it–I was fine with the idea of future kids having his last name (after all, I had my Dad’s last name) but I wanted to keep mine. But he really, really couldn’t get over it–so after several weeks of discussion (a few of them a bit heated!) I finally gave in and said I’d change it.

    It’s not a bad name, but it’s not who I think of as “me” in my head, if that makes any sense at all. And we’ve been married 12 years! A couple of years after we married he finally admitted that it was HIM not his Dad who had an issue with the name-changing (oh, really?!) and that he now realized it really wasn’t a big deal.

    We laugh about it now and I tease him for having been rather Cro-Magnon on this one thing. I mean no disrespect to those couples who want to share a family name, either! If it’s a shared decision, that’s wonderful. My husband is a fantastic husband and a great guy in every other way so I can live with it since it meant so much to him. I was just surprised that it DID mean so much to him.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  36. Emily said: replied:

    Well, about the whole issue about whether it is a pain if you have kids with a different name from you…My mom didn’t change her last name, and I have never found it to be a problem at any point in my life to have a different last name from my mom. In fact, there were lots of times when I have been quite proud to say “no, my mom didn’t change her name”, particularly when I was a teenager and realized how unusual that was for the time when she got married. I know that at that time it took a lot of guts for her to go with what she believed in in that respect.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  37. Rachel said: replied:

    I know it sounds weird, but I really like my last name. It gets a lot of attention and is charming to people. It pains me to think I’ll probably end up changing it when I get married!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  38. Julia said: replied:

    I’m in a serious relationship, and whenever we decide to get married, I know that I will change my name. For me, it’s not a matter of losing my identity even though I understand why others might feel that way. I’m one of three girls, and so it is possible none of us will carry on my maiden name. That doesn’t really bother me–I’ve never felt attached to it; I’ve never liked how it sounded with my full name. What’s important to me is feeling like a team with my partner and a family unit with future children. For me, that involves having the same last name, but I can see how others can achieve this by taking on a new last name (entirely or hyphenated).

    I do think that if I had a very emotional connection to my last name, I’d want to keep it. But it is just my first name that makes me feel like “me.” I can understand why some women make their maiden name their new middle name, or keep it entirely. It’s cool to read through all these comments and hear about the variety of choices and reasons behind those choices!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  39. Kim said: replied:

    I think its kind of funny that no one questions the kids taking the father’s last name. Why not yours? ;) Not like there’s a law against it.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  40. Natalie said: replied:

    This was really tough for me. My last name means a lot to me simply because a lot of people know me as a “Comstock”. Growing up in a skating/hockey rink with my four younger siblings, people knew our family more by out last name than our first names. It’s just always been that way. So giving up my last name felt like giving up my identity – I couldn’t imagine not being a Comstock. Changing my last name was really important to Seth though, and I did want us to have the same name (and our kids someday). I ended up making my maiden name my new middle name. That was even hard though because my middle name was my grandma’s name and I really liked it. I figure my middle name is still technically what it was, just not legally. I haven’t changed my name legally yet and am definitely not looking forward to the process. I think it’s going to take awhile to get used to, but I feel comfortable with my decision. I think it’s such a personal thing that everyone will have a different answer to.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  41. Erica said: replied:

    Oh- I’m sure you’ll have plenty of people telling you why you should or shouldn’t take your husband’s name. I will say that it was harder for me than I thought it would be, as I was 36 when I married. I had finally grown into myself and began to think I could go it alone forever! Keeping your name professionally makes sense, but socially and legally, I’d think it better to make the leap. Just my opinion… I have lots more on that up in my head :)
    Either way, cheers to your upcoming nuptials and your new life together!
    xo

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  42. hush said: replied:

    I changed mine – his sounds so much better than my maiden name.

    I’m a traditionalist, and although I am a proud feminist I don’t see anything inherently “feminist” about a woman choosing to keep her father’s last name over taking her husband’s.

    I’m in my late 30′s now, and I note that several of my college and grad school friends who never changed their names are now divorced. So they made the correct choices, I suppose! It’s as though they kind of knew deep down they’d eventually divorce, hmm….

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. This was one of my reasons too – my new last name is very elegant (to me) and our kids will sound glamorous with the classic names I will one day choose.

      5 Oct 2012 | Reply
  43. bestofbklyn said: replied:

    I kind of had mixed feelings, but did change my name. However, I was a lot more attached to my maiden name than I was my middle name, which was also a family name, so I dropped my middle name, and my maiden name is now my middle name. On Facebook and anywhere I write my name (email sig, etc.) it’s First Maiden Newlast. My mother-in-law actually did the same thing, and her maiden name is my husband’s middle name (following along?) and I love the idea of doing the same with my maiden if we ever do have children.

    That being said, I think changing/not changing your name is such hugely personal decision, and I think some of the best advice I’ve heard about it would be that you don’t have to decide now. Weddings are stressful and emotional enough without making that decision, and it’s not like you can’t change it a year or five from now if you did change your mind.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  44. {THE NYC DIET} said: replied:

    Simple answer. No.
    No matter how much I love the man, if he is my soulmate, if he is a Kennedy, etc. My grandmothers didn’t do it, my mother neither and she is still with my father. I am from Latin America so by birth I have both my dad’s and my mom’s last name. Both of them are sacred to me. I could never let them go. If it were up to me, my kids would have both my husband’s last name and my first last name. I honestly don’t think it is necessary. My opinion, it is an outdated tradition.

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  45. Christine said: replied:

    Ah, a very personal decision. Certainly I think this topic is very specific person to person and situation to situation so it’s hard to really take advice or even give any.

    However, it really just wasn’t an option for me. Not because I am extremely independent, but for more superficial reasons :) My last name is White. His is Stocker. With my accent, I tend to pronounce it like “stalker.” And simply, a hyphenation could imply I was a “white-stalker.” Not such a good look!

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  46. Phoebe said: replied:

    My mom didn’t change her last name, but I plan on changing mine. I don’t have a middle name, so I’ll just move my current last name to the middle and tack on my future husband’s (likely the current bf) last name at the end. It won’t sound too pretty, unfortunately, but I have an older brother to carry on my family name (ha) and I have no issues with swapping names. I’ll move from the end to the middle of the alphabet. That’s an upgrade, right? ha

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  47. Tori said: replied:

    Personally, I think I will keep my last name. My Mom kept her last name, and I have always admired her for it. Also, since you mentioned complications with different last names and kids, let me tell you, it has NEVER been an issue for us at all. I think taking on a last name is so antiquated in today’s society, and is not necessary. To me, this makes sense back in the day, when a women’s identity was tied with her husband, and therefore she had to take his last name. I would hope we have gotten past that! :)

    3 Oct 2012 | Reply
  48. lacy said: replied:

    I chose to take my husband’s last name. His mother kept her maiden name and all his life he said he felt like her had to justify to teachers and friends that yes, his parents were married, and yes, she was his mom even though their last names are different. I wanted to keep with tradition and respect that my husband didn’t want our kids to go through the same thing.

    4 Oct 2012 | Reply
  49. Love this topic! Well with no man in sight, I probably shouldn’t think about this too much, but I do.

    I’m definitely unsure on the matter. The more and more I grow my business and my brand I’m hesitant to lose the Stein. One because my dad is my partner and I like that people know we are related. (Though its creepy when they think we are married.) And two, when you google Naomi Stein, I come up. Maybe that’s vein, but starting over with a new one would be tough. Not that I’d have any problem changing it legally and have my kiddos kids call me by my imaginary husbands name…

    4 Oct 2012 | Reply
  50. I think the issue of changing your last name is a really difficult one. Part of me wants to be superficial about it and say that my current longterm boyfriend’s last name would “roll of the tongue” with my first name better than my current combo. I also have two brothers to help in the whole carrying on the name department. On the other hand, I was a women’s studies major in college and my inner feminist, gender studies self is screaming, “don’t do it!” Conflicted, to say the least. Though I agree with @Liz, the whole engagement thing has to happen first. hah!

    4 Oct 2012 | Reply
  51. I got married 5 years ago and leapt right into the name change process without really thinking about it. If I had actually stepped back and processed the change + meaning behind it, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Mostly because I like the idea of being independent while being a part of a partnership. And just a wee little bit because now my initials/name are A. Payne. A pain. Yep. :)

    4 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. erin (@erincg) said: replied:

      ha ha! that made me giggle.

      10 Oct 2012 | Reply
  52. Charity Hall said: replied:

    a bit of a back story: my dad is a conservative pastor, I come from a pretty staunch patriotic, Republican, American family: the name-change is inevitable. However due to my degrees and business, I will probably hyphenate if I change my name at all. Never really became an issue until the last three years: and I hope whoever I marry understands:) If he doesn’t, it’s a warning sign. It’s not about independence, it’s about practicality.

    4 Oct 2012 | Reply
  53. designstiles said: replied:

    I didn’t even hesitate to change my name. It could’ve also been because I was so young when I got married, I thought changing name was a given. I have not regrets though. Saying my maiden name was always so iffy. I’m Mexican so if I pronounced Contreras the way it’s supposed to, people look at you like, what’s with the accent? And if I said it the American way, then people look at you, like, why are you trying to sound white. I shouldn’t even care what people think, but I was so self conscious about its pronunciation. Now I just say Lovett and, well, people lovett. Ha.

    5 Oct 2012 | Reply
    1. Lonely Wife Project said: replied:

      Irene, I’m tempted to take on your last name it’s that good! As for me, I didn’t change my last name because I was so young when I got married and didn’t want my father-in-law’s last name on my college diploma since it was my own parents that helped support me emotionally and financially. It took me five years until I decided to go ahead and change it. I kept my maiden name as my middle name now so technically I get the luxury of having both.

      5 Oct 2012 | Reply
  54. ashley said: replied:

    my dad also passed away and for that reason, i knew that even if i changed my name, i’d keep my maiden as my middle name. i like the idea of having the same last name as my husband and even updated my Facebook and LinkedIN profiles with the new name…but here I am 5 months after the wedding and I haven’t even started the process. I guess I just don’t feel any big rush. I’ll probably end up changing it when we have children, but for now, I’m just fine as is.

    5 Oct 2012 | Reply
  55. Late to the party, but just wanted to share. I never thought I’d change my last name, especially being a physician where it is a pain in the ASS to change all your degrees. He was surprisingly emphatic about this, and I begrudgingly gave in. Two years later, he says, “It wasn’t a big deal to me for you to change your last name.” WTF!! It was a HUGE deal to me! In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t changed it. Ouch!

    5 Oct 2012 | Reply
  56. alyson said: replied:

    important question and great real life topic. I changed mine, not even really thinking about it because i was 24 years old and the first of my friends to get married. now? the answer if i got married today, 32 with a company that has my name in it, would likely yield a different answer. you can always change it later so don’t put pressure on if you’re not ready. I do wish I made my maid name — miller — my middle name instead of my middle name. oh well!

    5 Oct 2012 | Reply
  57. Savvy in San Francisco said: replied:

    I changed mine! I knew that I always wanted to but it definitely was hard to give it up. I used my maiden name as Landon’s middle name though to carry on the name.

    10 Oct 2012 | Reply
  58. erin (@erincg) said: replied:

    i consider myself a (modern day) feminist. stop! wait! let me explain ;)

    i think it’s old fashioned but terribly romantic to change your last name, and i do plan on doing so even though part of me is conflicted… i just love the idea of the union in all senses!

    good luck with your decision, v!

    10 Oct 2012 | Reply

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