A Rose By Any Other Name

Hey, hi. It’s been a little longer than I intended since my last post, but since I’m fairly certain I have no readers yet, I’m guessing all zero of you will forgive me.

But here I am again, with a crisis! I’m hoping that the simple act of typing it all out will help me make heads or tails of this issue, or clarify what I’m feeling for real. And, if not, I guess I’ll have to try and try again.

The issue is this: I’m getting married in just over four weeks. I mean, the getting married part isn’t really the issue, because I’m HELLA PUMPED to get married, wildly in love with my incredible fiance, and not nervous or apprehensive in the slightest. My issue is with trying to decide what to do with my last name.

I’ve been married before, and the first time around, I changed my last name to his without a moment’s hesitation. It just wasn’t something I thought much about, despite identifying as a feminist and believing that it wasn’t exactly fair that I should be expected to take his name just as a matter of tradition. I did it anyway, for reasons I still don’t really know. I went back to my maiden name after we divorced, and I couldn’t have been happier about it. (His last name was super weird and my married name sounded awkward as fuck, also.)

He has also been married before, and his ex-wife never changed her name, despite telling him that she would. It was really important to him to share a last name (even if it wasn’t his), and he was deeply hurt that she always promised to change hers, and then came up with any and every excuse to avoid actually doing it.

This time, we’re both willing to change our names, and excited to do so, but we can’t decide what to change them to! I don’t want my last name — I have no connection to it on a sentimental level, don’t have a great relationship with my dad, and it’s exceptionally common. I’m thrilled to get rid of it! And he’s also not really attached to his last name, either — he’s never known his dad, who bailed when he was just a baby, and he has his mother’s last name instead. It’s very long and difficult to spell, and he’s spent his entire life spelling it out every time he says it to someone.

In the end, I think we’ve decided that we can either hyphenate (which was definitely not our first choice, given our relative ambivalence toward our current surnames) or make up a new, blended last name. We’re leaning toward the new, blended last name made up of letters from our current last names, but I’m dreading the process of actually doing it. It’s going to be a long, expensive legal process, and I’m already stressing about the backlash we’re going to face from friends and family who are decidedly more traditional.

If you’re reading, and you did something OTHER than the traditional wife-taking-his-last-name thing, please comment! I feel like this is going to become a much more common issue, especially as more states are legalizing same-sex marriages and there’s little precedent for name changes in those situations.

Cheers,

Sarah

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A Rose By Any Other Name

  1. Allison

    You guys are sweet. First of all, do what’s best for you guys. If I know anything about being married, I now know that what your family or his family thinks doesn’t really matter. They might be butthurt a minute, but so what- y’all are adults who know what you want this time and deserve to get it.
    I’m in the same boat mostly except that we don’t care. I’ll keep my maiden name, he’ll keep his. Undecided on kids but probably hyphenated.

    There should just be an option for marriage where you can just change whichever names you want- surely you are not the only ones who feel this way. I say spend the money and pick something that makes you smile. You’re happy, wiser, and are going to have a beautiful life together.

    TacoCat is an excellent last name, btw.

    Like

    • Oh, Tacocat! I totally forgot to reply to this in all the whirl leading up to the wedding. We were playing around a while ago and seeing what names we could come up with from the letters of our current last names, and our favorite by far was Dryshart, haha. SO tempted…

      But, really, the backlash we expected by even raising the topic with his mom was immediate and swift. She’s “so hurt” that he would consider changing the name she “gave” him, which is ridiculous. Her last name was the only option, because his dad didn’t stick around. It wasn’t some noble stand against the patriarchy or an attempt to preserve tradition. And she’s being an absolute martyr about it.

      … Which is not going to change our minds. It almost seems like he’s MORE motivated to change his name now, whatever legal struggles there may be.

      I just wish people could mind their own business and not make every single choice we make all about them.

      Like

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