Did you change your last name when you married? If you aren’t married, do you plan to keep your maiden name if you ever tie the knot?
Was this hard for you to do? Can’t wait to get rid of your maiden name for something better?
I have to admit that I struggled a bit with this. I found it hard to change my last name. There was never any question that I would, but I was surprised how much it bothered me to do so.
The best part was moving way up the alphabetical list. After languishing in the Ss for almost thirty years, I vaulted up to the Bs. Very nice.
Please leave your story if you care to!
I was sad about it, the identity thing.
I do not like my married last name.
This is sad to say, but worse than the name, it’s the hurtful “legacies” that my father-in-law’s family has passed on, generation to generation, that I hate being connected to. It’s crazy, but I have prayed that through me, God would change the “legacies” passed on to the next generation.
My mother-in-law was livid that I kept my maiden name as my middle name. She said it’s not traditional where she is from (Midwest). It’s a tradition in my part of the South.
ashley @ twentysixcats
For me, it wasn’t a question of “if” – I knew I wanted to have the same last name as my husband. But, I have to admit, it does make me a little sad to have changed it. I went from a very easy to spell, easy to pronounce maiden name that reflected my English heritage. I took on my husband’s name which is harder to spell, harder to pronounce Mexican last name that is obviously ethnic but not obviously hispanic. While I never go by my maiden name, I don’t feel that my new last name is “mine”. Sometimes I feel a bit embarrassed by it. I hate referring to us as “The B___s” or the “B___ household”. I don’t like “Mrs. B____”. I hate that my last name doesn’t match what I look like (being very fair skin and red hair with a Mexican last name). I just… feel that I am last-name-less!
Okay I’m being super honest here! I don’t talk about this to my husband, because I don’t want to make him feel bad. I don’t regret changing it, I just sometimes wish it had been a different name! :-p
When I got married it was pretty much the norm to change names. Hyphens were not unheard of but were still uncommon. Most people looked at them and shook their heads, rolled their eyes and whispered…feminist.
My first name is actually Kathy and my middle name is very short, too, so I grew up with a very Southern Very Typical Double Name. When I got married I started using my maiden name as my middle name so I changed both middle and last names.
Our daughters are now married. The older married 23 months before she changed her name (just never got around to it) and changed it when she did because my son-in-law asked her to do it before their son was born in late August so all their names would match. Daughter #2 changed hers a month or two after she got married.
When I did it was so easy…we got married at the end of the year, after we filed our taxes the SSA sent me a name change form and I filled it out and mailed it in – no questions asked, no proof required.
For my girls it was almost an ordeal. They had to wait for their marriage license to arrive in the mail, find time go to the Social Security office since they work longer hours than the office is open, stand in line for an hour, present their driver’s license, old SS card, new marriage license and swear they were who they were.
I changed my name, without reservation, for many reasons.
(Sorry for the long list!)
-I was 21 when I got married, so I was spending my entire adult life married. If I was 5 years older even, I might have struggled more with feeling more like I had grown into my identity as a single, including my maiden name.
-I hadn’t established a career or anything like that yet, where name recognition is really important. There’s only been one time where someone didn’t know me because of the name change.
-I think our families would have thought it was weird for me not to change it, given that’s ‘just what women do’. Although…. my family’s name may not carry on to the next generation, since my brother likely won’t have kids, so there may be some interesting dynamics there that come up eventually.
I was talking about this with a coworker a few days ago. I made the choice to change my name. No one required it, no one pressured me. Likewise, I respect the choice that anyone else makes, since we all have different reasons for the choice.
I never considered keeping my last name, before or after I met my husband. I always wanted the same name as the man I would marry. It was definitely a bonus that I liked the one I got!! However, now, having lost my husband, considering changing it should I ever remarry in the future is a struggle–not that I wouldn’t want my new husband’s name (I definitely would) but I wouldn’t want Steve’s name gone. My maiden name will always be on my birth certificate and any new name would be in use but my current name would be lost. Does that make sense? So it is something that I have given a fair bit of thought to but not really come up with a solution to! I have no need for a solution presently but I’d like to have made peace with something in my mind mind BEFORE it might ever possibly come up. I’d be very likely to put my current name in there somewhere somehow…
I kept my last name when I got married (23 years ago tomorrow!) It felt odd to change the name that I had had for 28 years and so I didn’t. Career-wise, everyone knew me by my last name and it would have been a hassle to change it. My husband did/does not mind at all. Our kids have his last name and most of their friends call me Mrs. Husband’s Last Name, which is fine with me.
I have some friends who did the opposite of the usual– the husband changed his last name when they married. His father had died when he was quite small and his mother remarried soon thereafter. His stepfather adopted him and so his last name was changed to that of his stepfather. The stepfather was abusive and his mother eventually divorced him. When my friend met his wife, he fell in love with her entire family. She was one of three girls (no sons to carry on the family name) and it occurred to him that, rather than her changing her name to his– which was the name of a man he disliked intensely– he could change his name to hers. So that’s what he did. Unusual situation, but it worked for them and made perfect sense.
I changed my name right away. I really wanted to change to my husbands name and I had dated my husband since my first year of college, so even people who knew me better by my maiden name could easily associate me with my married one. I do keep my maiden name as my middle name, which is the tradition in the Philippines. It’s also tradition for the kids to have moms maiden name as middle name. So since my husband has a long last name (It’s hyphenated, but the whole thing is really his name) and I have a long maiden name, my kids have really long names on their birth certificates and other official documents. That’s the only down side as far as I’m concerned…
I took my husband’s last name, but kept my maiden name as my new middle name. I never was very attached to my old middle name, and it was important for me to preserve some connection to my birth family in my name. Also, I wanted a clear connection between my old and new names for career purposes.
The downside was that when I went to have my name changed, at all the places that I needed to, nearly every one managed to neglect to change my middle name as well. Only the government employees got it right. It was a huge hassle to straighten it all out.
It was kind of a bittersweet thing. I was so excited to take my husband’s name (and I did) but I was sad to leave my maiden name behind, because I am an only child and the last person in my family who holds the “family name.” I was sad about that.
I ended up dropping my middle name w/ the social security admin. and keeping maiden and last. I wish I’d have kept all four, really.
I love it. The two names go very well together.
My reason is probably different than most people who hyphenate; my father died right before my wedding and I just could not bear to lose him and his name.
I use my married name socially and in terms of the kids (not going to make a teacher call me Mrs. X-Y).
But for work and all other purposes, it’s hyphenated. We also gave my maiden name as the middle name for my two kids, which is also cool and connects them with their history on my side.
I changed my last name as soon as I possibly could. 🙂 It was something that I had looked forward to doing since I was a little girl!
Kept my maiden name as a middle name. Gave my maiden name to my children for one of their middle names. My daughter did the same thing on both counts.
I’ve always wondered why we Americans feel we can only have 3 names. I have dear friends who give their kids several middle names. It doesn’t cost any more…. =)
I was thrilled to ditch my maiden name. It was Jones. I am now enjoying life with an uncommon last name.
I’ve always thought it would be strange to have a name that was different from my kids. I like that everyone under this roof shares the same one. Keeps it simple and causes no confusion.
I agree with Kathy that it is a giant pain to change the name! Waiting in line at the SS office certainly makes the process a lot more daunting than it needs to be.
I always intended to take my husband’s name when I married. He still teases me about my reluctance to change to his name, though. I loved my maiden name – Castle – and my married name is boring – Miller. I do hold on to my maiden name online – I use Becky Castle Miller on Facebook to help old friends identify me. And I use Miller_Schloss for my blog…Schloss is German for “Castle” so my whole family has used that inside joke since we lived in Germany.
My maiden name begins with “A”.
I was happy not to be first for everything.
My husband never knew his father, and his last name is just the name of the man his mother happened to be married to at the time.
My father has no sons.
Sometimes we wish that HE had changed his name to MINE.
But, after 30 years it seems too late to do that now.
And I am still so happy about not being first for everything.
I don’t think it even occurred to me to NOT take my husband’s last name, even though he has an unusual slang name that could be made fun of. (In fact, I made fun of it before we started dating.)
I actually enjoy having it. Glad for the symbolism of my union w/ hubby and because it is unusual, most people remember me. Very helpful when applying for jobs, etc. 🙂
I married at 21 (the week before I turned 22) and was happy to change. I honestly have never been all that fond of *either* my maiden or married last name, but I was excited about the change as part of marrying, and wanted everyone in our eventual family to share one name.
In situations where someone might know me just by my maiden name (i.e., corresponding with the college alumni office) I use my maiden name as a middle name, but otherwise I use the middle name I was given at birth.
Since I’ve been married pretty much my entire adult life, I’ve now reached the point where I’ve had my married name a little longer than my maiden name, which is funny to think about.
I also got married at 20 and did not think about the fact that my name would change.As a teenager I used to imagine what my new married name might be. Having said that, I am very much a ‘Hunt’ at heart- I as a person, am still Susanna Hunt- but my new family is the Berry family. Also, it wouldn’t work well hyphonated and I know I would have been frowned on if I had not changed it- but it did not occur to me not to do so.
I have to say that I really dislike the idea of a parent having a different name to a child. More often than not over here it means that teh parents are not married and so I would not want that misunderstanding to occur. Some people keep their maiden names professionally but change them legally.
I did not have to go anywhere to change it legally though- It just became what I signed it on the marriage register.
I actually struggled with this. My 1st marriage was a no brainer – I changed my name, because I was young and that was what you did in my part of the country. However, when I remarried (12+ years after my 1st marriage ended) I didn’t change my name at first – for a couple of reasons:
1) My 2 kids were still in school (high school) and it just made things easier to have the same last name.
2) I was well established in my career with my previous married name and the paperwork to change all of that was daunting. I also had a Living Trust that was in my previous name (to protect my kids from my ex-husband in case of my death) and that was going to be expensive to change.
At first, my husband said he didn’t care. But he got called Mr. Ex-Husband one too many times, and he finally admitted it was bothering him. Once he said that, I legally changed my name (3 years after we were married) and updated the trust, but have kept my “display” name and email the same as before at work. So work is the only place where I am known by my previous name. If I ever leave my current company, I will use my new married name at my new employment.
Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)
More people than I expected asked me if I was hyphenating my name. At first I thought the first people were just teasing me (after all, my maiden name was 9 letters and husband’s name is 10) but after the first 3 or 4 askers I realized they were serious.
I was going to University at the time, so maybe that’s why so many people were asking (though 2 inquiries came out of church as well).
I had become quite adept at signing my full name on that 1.5-inch receipt, and couldn’t imagine cramming 20 characters (including the hyphen) on any signature line.
Like the earlier commenter I was 21 with no great “name recognition” issues to think on, but I think another thing that made it easy is I lived in the same town with my parents and maternal grandparents.
Since I grew up watching my mom (in certain situations) identifying her parents/maiden name and it was no big deal, I found myself very like her, only giving my “identity resume” with 2 names (maiden, mother’s maiden) instead of one.
And having a different name from both of them has also allowed me a bit of “incognito” as I’ve gotten older. My family has been known for various things for the last 20-40 years, and while new acquaintances eventually figure out some connections, I’ve been glad a couple times I could be known first for myself rather than as the daughter of amazing musicians or the granddaughter of some tireless church volunteers.
I appreciate the breathing room, because my giftings are different and it saves me from (even positive is too much pressure) pre-judging.
Even so (and this might eventually warrant its own post…) I feel the weight of identity firmly on my own shoulders now, and part of me misses the ease of automatic approval– that is, being thought well of because of a connection to another good reputation.
I changed my last name with no hesitation. And like several other commenters, I dropped my given middle name and my maiden name became my middle name when we were married. I don’t have any philosophical reasons; it was just what people we knew did when they got married. I do have an amusing story regarding my name change:
Almost 20 years ago, when my soon-to-be husband and I went to apply for our marriage license the lady behind the desk was asking the usual questions. We were giddy with excitement. Then she asked if my husband-to-be wanted to take my last name or if I wanted to take his name. There was a moment of stunned silence before we answered that I would be taking his. Twenty years ago neither of us had thought that was even an option….
I was happy to change my last name. I didn’t consider anything else, i waited a long time to be married (or it seemed so at the time, i was 28) and was happy to take my husband’s name. The bonus…I went from a boring last name to a fun one (Friend). I am happy to be known as a “friend”, and to pass that name to our children.
Sidenote: our firstborn is named Meredith. We named her without really considering the meaning of the name, we just liked it (the meaning is “guardian of the sea” or something). I found a Christian name book and was happy to see that this book gave the spiritual meaning of Meredith to be “faithful friend”. So she will always be a “friend”, even if she marries and takes her husband’s name…
My husband told me that if I wanted to get married I had to take his name 😀
I have no problem changing my name, but after almost 3 years I still find it takes some getting used to. I identify more strongly with my maiden name as to who I am.
I really don’t like being Mrs H….. Some of that is to do with me not getting on with my mother-in-law and that’s her name!! Some of that is just not being used to being “Mrs” anything.
Having the same last name as my husband makes me feel a sense of belonging and family.
Changing my name was bitter sweet. There was no question whether I would. I had looked forward to marrying and changing my name for a long time. I was married later in life at 31yrs. and was a teacher. My personal and profesional identity was very much tied to my maiden name. I was known to students, parents, and my professional peers as “Miss ________” and was used to hearing my maiden name hundreds of times each day. When I married, I glady took on my husband’s name, but it was an adjustment and I did shed a few tears in the days before my wedding over this and the whole life changing experience of marriage in general. I stopped teaching and moved from the home and city that I lived in most of my life to to my husband’s home. There were LOTS of changes that were linked to my identity of 31 years that took place in a very short time. I would say it took me a good year to adjust to my new name, and I have to say I love it! My maiden name was a very easy to pronounce English name. My married name is not so easy to pronounce. It gets slaughtered all the time. I have to spell it often for others but it has a rich Dutch orgin, which I’m proud of. I feel very honored to have my husband’s name. I think of myself more often by my married name now than my maiden but I’ll always carry my maiden name in spirit (and on my birth certificate). 😆
The first time I married, I used my maiden name and my husbands last name together as my last name. It was a big stinking mess. He said he was okay with it, but really was mad. My brother and sister in laws were all bent out of joint, and all I wanted was to preserve a unique americanized name that was dying out for lack of boys. I think it was one of the things that festered in the demise of our marriage.
Second time around, I just went with my hubby’s didn’t think about it, didn’t look back and haven’t had any issue with it since.