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  1. #1

    Advice on whether to change surname upon marriage

    Hello, Berries!

    I've been a long-time lurker who finally joined the site and started posting recently. I am getting married in a little less than a year, and the one thing that has my fiance and me arguing is whether or not I'm going to change my last name. My last name is not anything spectacular or special (an Anglicized French name), but I feel like it's mine and has been for a quarter of a century. I'm attached and not in any hurry to change it. However, my fiance would really like me to take his name (a common, short, German name) as a sign of us becoming our own family. I don't see why I can't retain my individuality while still become his wife.

    I have no issues using his name on our future children, but I can't seem to get used to the idea of switching my own name.

    Has anyone else had a similar issue? Did you choose to take your SO's name and why/why not? We've dropped the subject in recent months because it was upsetting both of us, but it got brought up last night when we were looking at a photographer's blog and saw an initial cake topper.

    I could really use some advice! Thank you!

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    1,202
    Let me just say that I'm not married or planning to be anytime soon. However, I have always wanted to add my maiden name as a second middle name. For me, I have several professional certificates that have my current name on them, so I wouldn't want to drop my maiden name entirely. I wouldn't want to hyphenate because I think it would be burdensome, especially for my students. I like the flexibility that would come from keeping my maiden name in my legal name, but not having to use it all the time. In situations that would be appropriate, I could be Mrs. MaidenName NewSurname or just Mrs. NewSurname.

    Of my friends who have gotten married, one hyphenated, one dropped her middle name (she hated her filler middle name, but loved her maiden name), and one took her husband's surname and dropped her maiden name (she was never really wild about it and said she liked the idea of building a new identity). All of them are very happy with their decisions because it worked for them. Maybe talking to your fiance and see why it is so important to him that you take his name?
    "Don't try to be modern, it's the most old-fashioned thing there is," - Attilio, The Tiger and the Snow

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  3. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1,598

    I Yam Who I Yam

    My first marriage, I added his name. I always thought I would take my husband's name, but it was Smith and so boring I found I could not do it. I have a lovely ancestral Scottish name so I had two last names.

    When we divorced I returned to my last name alone. When I remarried at 40, I suggested that I add his name too and he add my name too. He was too old-fashioned to do so, so I kept my own and I am so glad I did.

    It is a personal decision, but for me in giving up my name, I give up myself. I have taught for 25 years and most of the mothers of students I teach have their own name. It should not be an issue any more.

  4. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by teacherma View Post
    Let me just say that I'm not married or planning to be anytime soon. However, I have always wanted to add my maiden name as a second middle name. For me, I have several professional certificates that have my current name on them, so I wouldn't want to drop my maiden name entirely. I wouldn't want to hyphenate because I think it would be burdensome, especially for my students. I like the flexibility that would come from keeping my maiden name in my legal name, but not having to use it all the time. In situations that would be appropriate, I could be Mrs. MaidenName NewSurname or just Mrs. NewSurname.

    Of my friends who have gotten married, one hyphenated, one dropped her middle name (she hated her filler middle name, but loved her maiden name), and one took her husband's surname and dropped her maiden name (she was never really wild about it and said she liked the idea of building a new identity). All of them are very happy with their decisions because it worked for them. Maybe talking to your fiance and see why it is so important to him that you take his name?
    It's important to him because he believes this is the way to create an identity as a new family. He also wants us to have the same last name as our future children.

    The idea of a second middle name is interesting. I know many women who have dropped their middle name in favor of their maiden name, but my MN is very significant to me. (It's the same as my grandmother's.) I also have an advanced degree so I can understand that perspective of yours as well.

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    2,656
    I think teacherma has a great suggestion of asking your fiancé why it is so important for you to take his name. Additionally, a question you need to ask yourself is why is it so important for you to retain your maiden name? Whatever decision you and your fiancé end up making, just be certain that you are both okay with the decision and that it isn't an issue that is going to continue to affect your marriage.

    I took my husband's last name when I got married five years ago. However, I am very traditional and the women in my family and his always drop their maiden name to take their husband's surname upon marriage. Personally, I was thrilled to be Mrs. My Husband's last name.

    Good luck in whatever you and your fiancé decide and congrats on the upcoming marriage!

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