The Name Of The Game

Names. Identity. Self. Choice.

They are all related, inter-connected, fused one might say. Your name is you on paper, legally, it’s used in scolding, in affection, in warning. It’s how we track families and generations. Names are important.

I was reminded of this when I read this post on Identity over at Post Graduate Pie I was reminded just how much I struggled with this during engagement. Kamel could not have cared any less one way or another, he was just happy to have me, whatever I wanted to call myself, or him for that matter. But I cared, a LOT. Natalie took the words and the feelings right out of my body when she says:

This week I started work. As Natalie HisLast. You don’t use middle names in everyday life. The comfort is gone. I sign my new name and I think, Who is that? I have to introduce myself to people and I hope that they speak first and say only their first name so I can only say mine. Sometimes I slip up and say MyLast. I always hesitate after I say “Natalie.” I feel like an imposter. Like I just made up my name, plucked it out of the clear blue sky.  The first real day I had to use the new name, I was choking back tears, and I felt like going to lie down and wishing I could just live with the name a few weeks more before being forced to go around introducing myself with it all day long.

That was exactly my fears when thinking about identifying myself as purely Lauren Hislastname. Who is that? That’s not me. So, I figured out what would be alright with me, what wouldn’t make me feel like a stranger to my self, but would also signify a coming together as family. We have not yet changed our name legally – we’re waiting for Kamel’s citizenship paperwork to go through so we don’t confuse the system – but we’ve changed it socially (Facebook makes that official, right?). I feel like this is my training wheels time. I can roll it around in my mouth, introduce myself as such when I feel like it, but I don’t have to sign my checks with my new name … yet. I’m getting there.

On the same day that I read Identity Crisis, Kamel had also just told me how the men at work were baffled that he had also changed his name (we both hyphenated). They would tell him things like, “Oh no, I could never give up my name. Ever.” And Kamel would tell them that he didn’t, that it’s still there. They would say things like, “REALLY? WHY?!” And he would respond with, “Because… that’s our name.”

Very little flusters Kamel so when he was telling me about this he was calm, he was talking in the same vein as “weird, huh?” But I was starting to fume! How dare these men freak out about changing their names when it’s just ASSUMED that we’ll alter our names, identity, self. And Kamel wasn’t asking them for their permission or their opinion, yet they just up and offered it. Wasting no time in letting Kamel know that they disapproved of a very personal, yet very public choice. And these were young men, men in their late 20s, early 30s. Men who were married and not, working in an unconventional (read: video games) field.

It reminded me how the assumed place for women also creates an assumed place for men. They are the head of household (what happened to partnership?), they are the givers of namesakes (though children come out of my body), they provide for the family (though in this economy, really?), and apparently they are as pushy and judgemental as the media makes women out to be.

I give Kamel a lot of credit for not being flustered. I can do the flustering for both of us. No matter what name situation you choose, you should be able to own it without feeling like you have to make justifications for your choices, or feeling like if you had done it any other way you would have never heard the end of it. These are personal choices about self and identity, they are not about the greater society at large, so shut up.

65 thoughts on “The Name Of The Game”

  1. It always amazes me some of the crap people will say, completely unwarranted, and how THEY’RE opinion is clearly what everyone else thinks. I’ve noticed this a lot at work, too. Sometimes I’m just absolutely dumbfounded and have to keep my mouth shut.

    Though I had a co-worker who one time angered me so much with some of his “facts” about politics I finally yelled at him that he was being annoying and that I didn’t ever want to talk about politics in the office, so to go away. Sometimes you just gotta say it, haha.

    I think I would’ve gotten flustered, too.

      1. I was at my wits end with him and he really just needed to be told that he was being absolutely obnoxious. He also insulted me by telling me I looked like Barney when I wearing a purple cardigan, so that MIGHT have had a little bit to do with me going off on him, but yeah… I’m not afraid to say what needs to be said sometimes!

  2. Sorry to use such a stupid example, but: In that movie Hot Tub Time Machine, the character that is, like, “wife-whipped” has both his and his wife’s last name hyphenated. It’s the whole joke of the movie and it is supposed to symbolize that that character has given up on himself and his identity and just let’s his wife rule him. I FUCKING HATED IT. I wanted to throw my shoe at the movie. (Spoiler alert) At the end of the movie, time has rewound, and now he’s going by his last name only and it’s supposed to symbolize that he’s more in charge of his life and happier. Lame.

    On another note, I was 90% sure I wanted to take his last name purely for vanity reasons…. and I tested it out on facebook and socially before I legally did anything. I still haven’t changed it legally but now it’s only because I’m lazy.

    1. I can literally (in my head) hear you saying you want to throw your shoe at the movie and it is making me giggle. God I’m glad I never saw that. What the fuuuuck. That is so insane thinking. It reminds me of the super bowl commercials a few years ago. One of them was trying to sell a portable tv (like … really?… but anyway) in the commercial the guy is at the mall, holding his wife’s purse and the voice over is continually making fun of him and saying he is a sissy etc etc but if he had a portable TV!! Well THEN! He would be saved as a manly man. Obviously. It made me so mad!! My father was always that guy holding the purse and I loved him for that. And now Kamel… he doesn’t even hesitate. Because shit like that does not define you. It is STUPID. Grrrrrr.

        1. I think we should sell t-shirts. And i’m so dead serious. Actually I think we should order shirts and put a link to buy them on our blogs. That’s what I think. 🙂 And I think we should advertise them by wearing them and taking photos of our husbands in goofy poses.

          1. Ok… ladies… I can throw around some designs, I can order them etc if ya’ll want to buy in. We can talk in email if you’re serious. 🙂

          2. Hells Yes. Only if the goofy pics of the guys are of them holding our purses! Lol. Awesome.

  3. I’ve had my new last name for a little under a year now, but I’d been so excited to get it that it wasn’t terribly awkward for me. I’d been calling us Team Hislastname for years, mostly because his only family in the area is a married sister whose last name changed when he was 5. We’re the only Hislastnames ’round these parts.

    I did, however, have trouble getting my Mariners tickets from will-call last night because they’d spelled my new last name wrong – the same mistake everyone makes because it sounds like a really common name except there’s a D instead of a T. And I called my husband and said “this is going to happen the rest of my life!”

  4. I chose to go with Jon’s name becuase I wasn’t particularly attached to my own (and let’s be vain … totally sick of the mis-pronunciations. Oh rare names.) and he was. No big deal to me. I don’t have any large accomplishments in my maiden name (I didn’t use it in dance), so that was easy as well. Plus, Sarah OurLast feels so much more like me than Sarah MyParentsLast ever did. (Though the mispronunciations still happen. ::sighs:: )

    That being said … it surprises me how often people flip out when a woman doesn’t change her name … or when a man does. I have friends who’ve both hypenated (hey look, that’s you!), who’ve both taken the wife’s name (poor Brian gets shit about it all. the. time.), and who’ve combined their names (Wellen and Engard became Wellengard. For serious.). Different people choose different things, people need to relax about it.

    That being said … when I was addressing your card, I had to think about whether you were using Mrs. or not. Because I ALSO know people who are adamant that they will always be Ms. (my boss for example). So there is that. But seriously, 10 seconds of contemplation for me, or a name that doesn’t feel like you to you? Um, no brainer.

    1. Wellengard-awesome! I love that no one had to give a single letter up. And it sounds like a “real” last name.

      I’ve jokingly pushed for FawMo (first syllable of each name) but it’s mostly our joke name. C didn’t play ball on that one.

    2. I have two friends who are a couple. Their last names are Clark and Wrench. If she took his name then she would be Rosie Wrench, or if he took her’s then he would be Chris Clark. So they always joke that they should make a new name: Clench. Genius!

  5. I have struggled and struggled and struggled and I still don’t know what to do. At this moment I think I’m going to stick with Liz MyName. The response of Kamel’s co-workers and people of like minds PISSES. ME. OFF. Grrrrrrr……..

    The BF told me I could do whatever I wanted but he was staying C_____ HisLast. Sort of nice that I have the freedom but maybe not the emotional support I was maybe looking for.

      1. We’re in the same boat and giving the kids mylast as middle names and hislast as last names. It’s not a perfect solution but the best we could come up with. We’re toying with the idea of taking each other’s last names as middle names as well.

  6. I appreciate Nikki’s comment. I think a lot of times women are happy or excited to take the man’s last name. I am excited for my fiance to take mine.

    In relationships we give and we take stuff. Did you get an engagement ring? Because I gave my fiance one. That was something nice to give.It was traditional and I didn’t do it because I am whipped or because society demanded it. I gave it to her because I wanted to and I love her.

    I give her my time and affection and she gives that in return. I moved to Oakland and drive over an hour to work every day. I do this not to make her beholden of because I am subservient or less of a person. I do it because I love her. Which is exactly why my fiance will take my last name. I am happy to be a Renick and I think she will be too. I am not going to demand that she change her name, but it would make me happy for her to. She doesn’t demand that I sweep the house but I do because it makes her happy.

    Though something you bring up is interesting and maybe I am a cave man, but I wouldn’t change my name. Absolutely not. Which is why if my fiance didn’t want to I wouldn’t demand it. I would like to have the same name as her because to quote the Avett Brothers “there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share a name”.

    1. And the thing is, that’s fine if you want to keep your name and she wants to as well. The issue is when the reaction is WHY would you do that?! How could you?! With the expectation that it shouldn’t even be questioned for women to change their name. Like I said, it’s a personal choice. And you shouldn’t be made to feel bad for it.

    2. “I do it because I love her. Which is exactly why my fiance will take my last name. I am happy to be a Renick and I think she will be too”

      If that’s true, then why would you not do the same for her if she asked you? If she were happy to be a HerLastname and thought you would too? If it made her happy for you to change yours. Then what happens?

      Curious.

      1. I gave her an engagement ring and she loves it. That is a convention, a social construct. Just like changing your name. It is a formality, that I for one, appreciate. That doesn’t mean that everyone should do it or people who hyphenate are wrong or “wife-whipped” or whatever. I think when the woman takes the man’s name it is a nice gesture. I wouldn’t demand my fiance do it, mostly because I’m not an asshole who demands stuff and secondly because I wouldn’t demand she do something I wouldn’t do.

        If she asked me to take her name I would decline because that is me and my choice. My fiance has that same right of refusal.

        1. Engagement rings aren’t about identity. And since no one is telling you what you’re doing is wrong, I’m not sure why your tone is so defensive. Do what you do.

          1. Hey Lauren, I am sorry if my tone is coming off as defensive. Definitely not meaning to be. I am just trying to engage in the conversation and definitely am not trying to be a dick.

            The only reason I threw out the engagement ring example is that it is a formality. It certainly doesn’t have to do with identity you are right.

            Just to throw it out there in addition, I certainly wasn’t a part of the camp that gave Kamel a hard time. At least I certainly don’t remember being (and can’t really hear myself saying those things).

          2. Oh you totally weren’t. That happened at this week. And it is a super complicated discussion because it is SO personal. And it’s weighted in tradition and expectation and etc etc etc. But there really isn’t any wrong or right way to go about it except if people are bullying others into a decision. And I was really shocked that anyone but our families even cared what we did with our names.

  7. This is so perfect and I know exactly what you mean. I can’t imagine changing my last name after having it for 25 years just because that’s what “everyone else” does.

    It’s sort of baffling that people judge what other people’s last names are going to be after marriage. Co-workers can be annoying!

  8. First of all, good for Kamel not to get flustered by co workers, he is a confident individual who does need to follow the sheeps. Secondly, I think its great that you guys opted to hyphen the last names. But to the overall matter of it being expected or why would do that the reason behind it is pretty antiquated. I think its up to the peeps getting hitched if this is something the other wants to do, maybe take her name instead of his, merge the names, hyphen them or make a whole new one up.. There is more to marriage than just taking up a name

    1. Totally. For us, it’s about creating our own family while still being our own person. What or why we “should” do things are stupid. Ta da!

  9. Figuring out what I want to do with my name is the one part about getting married that still scares me. I can handle crazy in-laws or every vendor cancelling the day before. But deciding what to call myself (and in different situations! Professionally, legally, socially …) is a decision I think I’ll struggle with right up until that day.

    Boo Kamel’s co-workers. Seriously, hyphenated names are everywhere. It’s not like this foreign concept. But, they probly don’t have an APW-like community that teaches them how to affirm their fellow men.

  10. i’ve been quoted by lauren! i feel famous.

    i wanted to mention that even though the quote she gives here was a totally accurate representation of how i felt the first week or so after changing my name, i don’t regret the decision. i didn’t like any of my choices going in, i still don’t, but i had to pick one anyway. i didn’t want to give up my name, but i also wanted to share a name with my future theoretical children, didn’t want to hyphenate, didn’t want to hyphenate my children’s names (not against hyphenating, just aesthetically could not abide by it with our two names), he didn’t want to change his (which, since he was also very supportive of the idea of me not changing mine either, i cannot find any fault with), and we didn’t have a good Wallergard option either. i went with changing my last name to my middle and taking his last as my last. i just had to pick the lesser of the not-so-goods and like i say in the post, i wish there was a better way to name our baby families, but i most certainly don’t know what it is.

    1. That was our original plan. And I had a meltdown. It’s def part of growing your family and making the best choice for you. Not every choice is perfect.

  11. This conversation makes me wonder if my in-laws know I didn’t change my name. I don’t think they do because to us, the whole name thing was a non-issue. I had an identity crisis as a girl growing up with the ‘weird’ name in town and hated it until I met other kids (not relatives) who were Lithuanian and had the ‘weird’ names too. Once I got over not fitting in I claimed my name & my ethnic identity and knew I wouldn’t change it.

    My husband didn’t push it, but did have one moment of confusion on his face when I told him about correcting students who want to call me Mrs. Technically, I’m not Mrs. MyLast because that would mean I’m married to my brother or my dad. He asked how people would know I was married if I wasn’t Mrs., who cares?! Our kids will have his last name, we both agreed to that.

    Funny side note- we’ve been married for just over 2 years and I bet if you walked up to my father-in-law and asked him what my name is (first name only) he would have a 50% chance of getting it right. Not a slight to him, we’ve only met twice. It just makes me laugh.

    1. I’m pretty sure my in-laws don’t know I’m not Mrs. Hislast. It’s never really been talked about, but they’re pretty traditional so I’m sure they just assume that I am.

      When my a conversation came up between my Mr. and his coworkers about me not taking his last name, they’ve started to call him by my last name. One of them told him to sit me down and “take the pants back”. Luckily, my Mr. doesn’t define his “manhood” by my last name being his.

      But like you Lauren, I was piiiiissssed when he told me about it. Pissed. Part of it was because they were assholes who were prying into our personal lives and making fun of my husband. And part of it was because they are assuming that by me not taking his last name, that our relationship is unequal and I call the shots. When in reality we made the decision because we see each other as equals. I don’t mind being seen by others as a strong woman, but I do mind being thought of as a bossy, bitchy woman. And now I’m getting pissed about it all over again!

  12. Good on Kamel. (And on you, Lauren, because I think it’s good for everyone if some of us still get flaily about this stuff. :D)

    I loved what Meg pointed out on APW way-back-when, about this being an uneven playing field, because that’s what gets my hackles up. I have friends who sort of had a reverse reaction from yours in that they both hyphenated on getting married and EVERYONE’S reaction to the bride was “Oh my gosh, he’s such a progressive man! You’re so lucky he’s making such a big sacrifice/gesture for you!” And I was thinking, “Why is no one talking about her sacrifice/gesture of love?” It’s weird how men can get crucified OR given cookies for decisions like this, when women make them everyday with little fanfare (though at times similar amounts of judgement, maybe?).

    1. yes! i agree completely that the uneven playing field is what makes this subject and these decisions so tough. though i think since men ARE subject to fanfare, i do get why they get more fanfare, if that makes sense. it’s just a cycle: if he changes his name, he does so knowing that he’ll probably have people give him a hard time, and thus people are like ‘wow! he’s willing to take crap from people for her! fanfare!’

      1. Maybe this is naive of me…. but I was TOTALLY SHOCKED that kamel got shit. Maybe because my dad took my mom’s maiden name as his middle name (so did she), so to me… it’s normal for both people to change something. and since Kamel’s name is still there I really thought that this was normal. I am super shocked that the norm is for the man to change NOTHING and for the woman to change EVERYTHING. really? still? What? Who am I again? Is this 1850? Is my name Myrtle? who?

        1. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that IN THE YEAR 2011 a man changing his name should be no big deal.

          (Incidentally, I didn’t change my name, but the hyphenated option [hislast-mylast or mylast-hislast] when people get it wrong [because they invariably do] is the ONLY one that doesn’t send me into a towering rage. I don’t even like being called Mrs. Mylast, for whatever reason. Oh names, so tricky!)

          1. I was just talking to my mother in law about my decision to keep my last name and mentioned how I asked Kevin to change his or hyphenate. I got really really mad when first she *laughed* like I was joking and then went on to say “oh, I had a male coworker who was all progressive (said with a sneer) and hyphenated and then they divorced (said with scorn).” I think I responded “It happens to women all the time” and had to leave the room for a minute. This double standard makes me really mad.

            On the other hand, it also makes me mad when men are referred to as “kept men” when they stay at home or follow their wives’ careers. We would never refer to a woman as “kept” if say, she was an artist and her husband made a ton o’money and she didn’t need to work but picked up the household work. But reverse the genders and people get really uncomfortable.

            We’ve come a long way, but obviously not far enough.

          2. See… I would not have been able to keep my shit together. The fact that you walked away and didn’t start WW3 with the inlaws says a lot about your self restraint.

          3. oh shoot, i messed up the coding on the message below. only the words “progressive” and “divorced” were supposed to be italicized.

  13. Take advantage of your training wheels time. I thought i’d be stoked to be Sandy Hislastname; I even went ahead and filed the papers to change it. And then I moved and had to introduce myself a million times and it felt so wrong. So I made some more time for myself. I use my last name at work, bank, and buy things with my last name. And I use his socially. Sometimes. Eventually one of them will one over, but for now I’m totally okay with being two people.

  14. Wow… this hits home. So we will be 1 year married in September, and actually, legally it was 1 year already in May, and I still didn’t change my name. As you probably know, in Mexico you get 2 last names, 1st your dad’s, then your mom’s. Our plan was to hyphenate. You can either drop your name or hyphenate. But turns out that for the government here, if I want to hyphenate I have to do it Amanda +1st mydadslatname + my momslastname -/ my husbandslastname, and that is just way TOO long. They dont give me the option to choose Amanda dadslastname/husbandslastname or the opposite and he can’t do it either.
    So we decided, that I will just take his name. And we still did not do it (he does not mind If I dont), but for me it is still so strange to lose my name, it’s like I won’t be me anymore and I like my lastname. We keep postponing it though. I do want us both to have the same lastname, because we are a family and I want people to know so. Know the new deadline is, as soon as I am pregnant we change my name.
    This is so hard. I suggested he changes his lastname to mine haha, but for him its also hard. I really want us to be a unit…..

  15. I changed my name, and it wasn’t a big deal to me, even though I had a feeling it could have been a really big deal if I had wanted to keep my last name. But I know that I want my (future) daughters and sons to be able to have the choice and never feel like they’ll be judged by their family. So I’m putting the work in now to make sure that the option is there for them. Hopefully by 2030 the name shame will have settled down — finally.

  16. I suffered so much agita about this – I really didn’t think I was that attached to my maiden name but when it became clear that taking his last name was our best solution (for a variety of reasons – and we both took mylast as a second middle), I suddenly felt backed up against a wall.

    Honestly, I started writing myfirst hislast over and over again like a 3rd grader to try to get used to it . . .

    And, well, I’m getting used to it bit by bit. I was pretty proud of myself because I actually identified as mylast hisfirst (“hey! that’s me!”) this last week. But I think there’s a lot to be said to take time with it and be patient with yourself and expect that any name change is going to be a big deal.

    p.s. oh! but be careful about timing when you do make the legal change! You want to make sure to change at the SS office at the same time as work so all of that stuff doesn’t get screwed up/confused . . .

  17. OH MAN. The conversation between you and Kamel was hilarious because it was just like what would happen in our house. Carson keeps mellow and is all “oh, people.” Whereas I’m like “DUDE! PATRIARCHY! OPPRESSION! KILL THEM ALL!!!”

    1. Yup! We had a similar conversation back in the day when Mr. Beagle told his family he was going to change his middle name to my last name, and they freaked out. He told me the story pretty calmly, and then of course I fumed. I fumed so much I thought my head would explode. But he was just mellow the whole dang time.

  18. Lindi and I had an interesting name-changing decision process. I would have been happy to take her last name, but she doesn’t really like it (because she associates it with her father, who she’s not close to), so she didn’t want me to take it or hyphenate both of ours and wanted to take my name instead. It’s a lot harder to change your last name without a legal marriage certificate (straight married ladies, whatever your choice is, that’s awesome, but if you DO choose to change your name, I’m super jealous of you! It’s such an easy process for you, and for us, it’s expensive, long and difficult.) So, for now, she’s hyphenated her last name on Facebook (hah) and I’ve left mine the way it is. When we are ready to have kids, she’s going to legally change her last name to be the same as mine so our kids and both of us will all match. Hah.

    It really is a personal choice, though, and I think it is really terrible that a) women are just expected to change their last names, b) that is is SO HARD for men to change THEIRS in most states and c) that if you choose something that strays from “normal” you are criticized and questioned. It’s silly. So, ladies, more power to you- whatever last name you end up with!

    1. I love this story. And even though it’s TECHNICALLY (with stupid paperwork and laws and bullllshit) more difficult, I wonder if being in a same sex relationship – when it comes to names – is an easier conversation to have, since there IS no precedent. It must be both frustrating AND liberating in a way.

      1. The conversation is definitely easier, I think. No one expects us to change our name(s)- so it is super, super easy to talk about it and decide NOT to, and then no one questions it. On the flip side, though, some people think it’s weird if we DO decide to (and it’s really hard, then, to do it, because it isn’t societally normalized.) So I wonder if it’s really almost the exact same situation (societally, not personally), just flipped over?

        Really, cultural-expectation-wise (if not societal/cultural-acceptance-wise) I do think there are a lot of ways in which we get to make up the rules for ourselves. For instance, there’s no cultural norm telling us which one of us ladies should take out the trash and mow the yard vs. cook and dust. (Not that everyone follows those “rules,” at all, but they are there.)

        On a side note, sometimes we worry that when we do have the same last name, if we are still living in the midwest/south instead of the east or west coast, that people will just think we’re related. Ah, well. You can’t have everything. Haha.

  19. I kept my name and got a lot of “wow, your husband was ok with that?”.
    These are all people with MDs or PhDs. It made me so rageful that I couldn’t even muster a response the first 5-10 times I heard it.

  20. I’m loving this conversation 🙂 its quite the topic! I agree with the ladies in that its a personal decision and it involves many factors! Judgement of others gets the best of us sometimes but its super helpful for everyone to keep their mouths shut once in awhile 🙁

  21. It’s funny, but I think no matter how progressive our society becomes, how acceptable it becomes to do your own thing and follow your own path…this is always going to be a hot-button issue. It’s SO rooted in tradition that people are always going to have very, very strong reactions to it. I don’t even think these reactions are logical–they’re emotional (which is not to excuse behavior like Kamel faced from coworkers…you can have an irrational/emotional reaction to something and still not say, “OMG BUT WHY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!”).

    I LOVE my last name. Love love love it. I love the family history behind it, love the way it sounds, love MY family that also has that last name. It’s only me and my sister, so if we both change our names…well, there goes the last name.

    The Significant Other, for better or worse, is very emotionally attached to the idea that a wife takes her husband’s last name. He says to him it doesn’t feel like a family otherwise–that you should be partners, Mr. and Mrs. Lastname.

    And you know? He has a GREAT last name. He really does, I love it. But I don’t really want it. We’ve never discussed it too in-depth, because we haven’t had to it…but it’s definitely not a conversation I’m looking forward to.

    1. That’s rough. Maybe you can take his name as a second middle name? So his name is in there, but your name is still your last name? Or you could both hyphenate, as L and K did. Or not. It will be something that you and he will have to talk out, which might be really difficult and emotional. Good luck. 🙂

      1. You know, I had never thought about taking his name as a middle name–only ever changing my last name to a middle name. I like that idea! Wonder if it’d fly 😉

  22. I have a friend who changed his middle name to be his wife’s maiden name (and she did as well) so they both had the same middle and last names. I thought it was a great idea, but he tells this story about going to officially have it changed and the woman working there told him that *he couldn’t change his name*! She said, “Men don’t do that.” He had to insist on seeing a supervisor.

  23. It’s a very personal decision, with a different solution belonging to each couple. It sounds like you guys found one that works for you.

    Not only did I take his name, but I took his name before we were actually married. It was strictly a business decision; I wanted people to see the last name and immediately think of us as a unit. (We work in the same field, and would prefer to work together.) It did feel weird at first to call myself someone else, and I still refer to myself as my maiden name when I’m giving myself ass-kicking pep talks. But I like his name, and we don’t really have names that lend themselves to hyphenation. Besides, after almost three years of marriage I can confidentially say that it doesn’t feel like HIS name anymore; it feels like ours.

  24. When my mom’s cousin got married, he and his wife both hyphenated their last names together like you did. It’s not “conventional”, but it’s not ridiculous, either. It’s not like anyone is picking some new random last name out of the air, although I guess you could if you wanted to.

    I will admit that I am excited about taking my fiancee’s last name when we get married next spring. I’ll be going from a “W” to an “A”, and the novelty of being at the beginning of the alphabet is too exciting after being near the end for 30 years. It’s silly, and who knows how long I’ll “like” it, but it’s an exciting thought at the moment. 😉

  25. I love this conversation going on! I grew up thinking I wouldn’t ever get married (not sure why) and when I accepted it as a possibility I thought I would never change my name. I’ve realized lately that since I already changed my last name once (when I took my dad’s last name) and have had to carry around two (both my mom’s and dad’s) that I don’t even feel a connection to anymore, I would be happy to change my name to be the same as my partner’s. In fact, I love my boyfriends family and would be happy- when the time comes- to take their name and completely drop my other two last names. And besides, five names in total is a lot! I just hope everyone in my family can respect my decision, as I would hope people would respect a decision like yours.

  26. didn’t see our variant in here, thought I’d comment.
    my partner and I (she/he, we say partner because marriage conflicts with our outlook) will eventually have the same last name: my stepfather’s.
    both of our male parents suck (to put it politely) and have been disowned (mine long ago, hers after he lied to family services and bought us 6 months of hassle before our case was cleared .
    our two children both share my stepfather’s last name, and my partner has had hers legally changed to match… it’s more expensive than a marriage license and missouri doesn’t allow males to name-change for marriage anyway, so I haven’t gotten to it yet but will eventually.
    after all, what is the common factor in EVERY divorce? marriage!

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