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.