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> It's 2005 and I'm *still* debating...should I take his last name?
ellenevenstar
post Oct 3 2008, 01:18 AM
Post #21


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From: terra australis


Bump.

Well it's been two years since my last post in this thread. Now I am seven weeks away from being married and this question is keeping me up at night!!
I have changed my mind four times this week & I want an easy answer! I'm vacillating between having my maiden name as an extra middle name, followed by his surname (like 'Hillary Rodham Clinton') or just keeping my maiden name on its own. Lots of pros and cons for each option.

Unfortunately he won't consider making a new name or even taking my maiden name as an extra middle name (!!why??).

I wish I didn't get feminist guilt when I consider taking his name. I know in my head that, either way, I am making an informed and critical choice that will make me happy so why do I get the feeling that I'm 'letting the side down' when I think about maybe taking his name on? Grrr.

There's an interesting range of opinions and experiences here.
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grenadine
post Dec 23 2007, 06:11 PM
Post #22


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p. 176, i'm not sure what you mean by "the same standing," but in the states you can give your child any name you want -- the mother's, the father's, neither, -- when he or she is born. in the case of divorce the kids have whatever name you originally gave them -- but in the initial choice all names had equal standing.

of course it's a choice that involves a lot more components than just which is the most feminist or rights-affirming solution, but i don't think that element can be removed from the equation -- choosing to keep your name is a choice that affirms feminist values, and choosing to take your husband's is not, whatever your reasons for doing so. we can choose whatever makes us happy, but best to do it with eyes open to the broader implications, no? wink.gif

on the hyphenated names note, i think it depends so much on the names in question...but it can be a great solution.
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p_176
post Dec 17 2007, 07:14 AM
Post #23


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unfortunately, in the States, the mother's last name does not have the same standing as the father's last name. (i think, even in the case of divorce, the kids would stll have the father's last name?) whereas, like, in france, both parents names have the same standing, so they can choose whose name the kids take.
i think, in the case i get married, i'll go for simplicity and take my husbands last name. between the 2 of us, we have a 13 letter last name, if hyphenated.
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LilPinkElectricC...
post Nov 23 2007, 11:05 PM
Post #24


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Personally as someone who has a hyphenated name combining both my parents names I have always been really proud of having a hyphenated name. It makes me feel like I have both a part of my father and mother in my name, as well as having a completely unique name. That said in some of the aforementioned cases where yo don't identify with or like your last name it seems perfectly fine to change it.


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ananke
post Nov 21 2007, 05:36 PM
Post #25


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The MU and I have had a few discussions about the future kids' names. He'd prefer my last name over hyphenation, but would prefer his last name in general. I'm not so gungho, so we decided on his name, with the possibility that may change. We may alternate though, that's an interesting idea. Mostly the MU feels that the kids need solidarity, the kind he had with his siblings and father. But I remind him we're less likely to split then travel the country and our kids are much much less likely to have 13 schools over 12 years.
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grenadine
post Nov 21 2007, 11:15 AM
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swedish, i know a few people who've made up a new name; i also have some friends who hyphenated (he and she both). i also have friends who kept their names and gave both kids HER last name because his was, as he said, "a fake ellis island name" and hers said something about their heritage.

i think the argument for why it's more feminist to keep your birth name is that it is the name you grew up with, that you bring to the marriage just as your husband brings his name, and presumably it says something about your personal history and your heritage. it's not your father's name any more than it's yours; he got it from his father (or mother). personally, i have had terrible rifts with my father in the past, though we're ok now (not a great relationship, but stable for what it is), but i associate my last name much more with my ethnic identity than i do with my father as a person. after all, it's existed for thousands of years before HE was born.

that's not to say there aren't valid reasons for changing your name to your husband's. they probably aren't based on ideas of feminism or equality, though, as you state.
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swedishchick
post Nov 21 2007, 11:04 AM
Post #27


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Interesting articles and opinions y'all!

I changed my last name for 2 reasons:

1. I didn't want to keep my fathers name, because he's an alcoholic with whom I wish to have no contact. (much like roseviolet's friend) I couldn't see why it would be more feminist to keep my dad's name than changing to my husband's. I also have no contact whatsoever with my father's side of the family.

2. I didn't like my old name. My old name is also quite common and I now have a "unique" name. Silly and vain? Yes, probably. My husband's name simply sounded nicer.

The most feminist or "equal" thing to do would probably be making up a new name for your family. Some people do that where I'm from and I think it's not such a bad idea. Do people do that in the US/UK/Canada etc?
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grenadine
post Nov 20 2007, 03:44 PM
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interesting, ananke...there was one letter from a woman who kept her name and gave half her kids her husband's name and half hers. she said she didn't understand why the kids had to have his last name. is that something you've considered, or do you not care?

personally, i kept my name and i thought i was cool with giving my son my husband's, with mine as a middle name, but i increasingly regretted that. our second child, a girl, was born two months ago and she has my last name (with his as a middle name). i feel pretty good about it as a whole, although selfishly i'd still like to have both kids have my last name.

i have to say that i have never had to "constantly remind" banks, insurance companies, etc. that we're married. we own a house together and have a joint bank account and are each other's beneficiaries on life insurance, and he has insurance through my work, and there has never been the slightest inconvenience because of our having different last names. if anything i think it would be more work to change your name because you have to notify social security, change your license, etc. etc.

we do occasionally get stuff addressed to "grenadine hislastname" but we also get stuff addressed to "mister herlastname." it's very infrequent on both sides and usually from the american heart association or carpet cleaning companies, etc. -- nothing important.

nick, i too love the "puts one in the win column" remark. and it really helped me to articulate WHY it's so important to me and why it drives me nuts when my in-laws (to be fair, my grandparents-in-law) get my name wrong!
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ananke
post Nov 19 2007, 07:30 PM
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I kept my name, much to the annoyance of the in-laws and my Da. The in-laws think it's horrible that I won't have the same name as my kids and my fucking mil actually addresses stuff to Ananke HisLastName, which makes it really difficult to collect mail and things like that. Even though we've had so many discussions about it.

I like my name. It's a good, solid name. I'd have liked to hyphenate, but the MU is deadset against it. So he kept his, I'll keep mine, the kids will have his and I'll choose their first/middle names.
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lananans
post Nov 19 2007, 01:42 PM
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My boyfriend thinks it would be cool to change his last name to mine, because my last name is Power and he would then be 'Will Power', however I doubt that will actually happen, its mostly a joke. I think it would just be easier to change my name, plus I have three brothers so its not as though my name is in danger of dying out:P
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raisingirl
post Nov 19 2007, 01:18 PM
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I know a guy who took his wife's last name when they married.
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roseviolet
post Nov 19 2007, 11:12 AM
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Very interesting links, Grenadine & Nick.

A lot of my friends have gotten married within the last 3 years. We're split pretty much 50-50 between people who changed their names & those who did not. I have one friend who changed her surname mainly because she saw it as an opportunity to officially sever ties with her abusive, alcoholic father. I have another friend who simply hated the sound of her surname (frankly, it's a rather silly sounding name!) & really liked the way her husband's last name sounded with her first name. I have a third friend who changed her name but on numerous occasions she has told me that she wishes that she hadn't. And I have a fourth friend who changed her surname but is now getting divorced and is very happy to return to her original name; even if she remarries someday, I can't imagine her changing her name again.

I've been married for more than two years now. I did not change my name and, honestly, it hasn't been a hassle. We've had to correct a few people when they've assumed that Sheff and I have the same last name, but people seem very accepting. Some new friends asked me about it & I casually explained my reasonings. I suspect that my choice to keep my name has made some people think about the issue more deeply than they would have otherwise, but I find that as long as I don't make a huge deal about it, no one else does, either.

Basically, I kept my name because I felt like it. I just felt no need or desire to change it. Plus, I hated the assumption that I was expected to change it because I'm female & no one expected Sheff to change a thing simply because he is male. Getting married was a major event in my life, but no more so than it was to him. So why should my identity be altered? Why should I throw away my name - the person I had been for decades? It made no sense.
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nickclick
post Nov 19 2007, 08:30 AM
Post #33


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"My choice would be to go ahead and choose a name that puts it in the record books, that puts one in the win column for feminism."

i love it; thanks for posting, grenadine.

but i still don't know, and it's a topic on my mind since mr.nick and i are talking marriage. professionally, i'd keep it, but am i too lazy to have to constantly remind banks, insurance companies, other people, etc. that yes, we're really married?

good discussion on Feministing, via Sarah Michelle (Gellar) Prinze's new name-change.

PS it's almost 2008 and we're still debating....
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grenadine
post Nov 18 2007, 02:02 PM
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thanks, rose, for the pointer. i posted this in the "i'm more feminist..." thread but rose suggested i post it here. it's a letter to salon advice columnist cary tennis where i think his response perfectly illustrates the issue of what it means to keep your own name. some of the readers' letters are great, too, especially one in which a woman from a country that does not allow women to keep their names on marriage points out that we have not, as a world society, come as far as we think we have...

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ellenevenstar
post Oct 14 2006, 06:10 AM
Post #35


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From: terra australis


Aaaaargh!!
My partner (of 11 years) and I will get married *one day* when we could be bothered, but I have always maintained that I would keep my name.
The other day I was with the in-laws and in order to get out of a photo appearance, said "no this photo should be just [his name]s". And then his mum goes, "oh, but we all know you'll be a [his name] one day soon".

I nearly died. I couldn't speak for about 20 minutes.
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hoosierman78
post Oct 5 2006, 12:09 PM
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Just glad I can help. If you do make the change, be prepared for many headaches waiting on the various gov't agencies to get their ducks in a row. New SS Card, new driver's license, new info on bank/credit card, etc accounts, new name on insurance, etc.

Like I said, we were well on our way to our first anniversary before everything was changed. The more I think about it, she waited the 4 months because a)didn't want to have problems filing her taxes (we got married in January) and b)her driver's license was expiring that August anyway, and at least here in IN, they wouldn't renew it that soon (only a couple months in advance I think) and she saw no reason at all to pay for a new license twice in a matter of months.

Happy deciding, and congratulations on the upcoming nuptuals!
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emlikesart
post Oct 5 2006, 09:01 AM
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Hoosierman, thanks! This is info that I did not know...but then again, this just gives me more time to be indecisive....haha

Well, at least I'm not in crunch time then : )
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hoosierman78
post Oct 5 2006, 06:45 AM
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Yeah, don't sweat it, your name isn't automatically changed when you say I do. You have to go to Social Security & fill out paperwork & give them a copy of your marriage license. Since you'll be getting married towards the end of the year, I would recommend not doing anything to your name until after you file taxes, as the SS admin is VERY slow to changing names, and if you file taxes & your name doesn't match your SSN, they kick it out and it is just a big headache.

Also, get plenty of copies of your marriage license. Banks, schools (if applicable), some employers, etc. will want a copy for their file. Honestly, the amount of paperwork that has to be done after you get married is much, much more than I ever thought it would be.

To answer your question short & sweet though, you do not have to have your 'married' name for your marriage license - it will be listed on there as the name you have the day you get married (maiden, 1st husband, all new & your own, etc). I think my wife waited about 4 months after we got married to legally change her name. It took the SSN 4 more months to make it official and send her a new SS card.
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erinjane
post Oct 4 2006, 05:03 PM
Post #39


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emlikesart, as far as I know, legally there is no kind of limitation. It's just a normal name change process. My sister in law still hasn't legally changed her name, although everyone calls her by my brothers last name, letters still come to her maiden name. She just hasn't had the time to get around to it.


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emlikesart
post Oct 4 2006, 02:33 PM
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I am having such a hard time over this...I get married in one month, and I can't decide if I should keep my last name or hyphenate it MyLast-HisLast....

I have very good reasons for both, but just can't freaking decide!
Does anyone know the time frame limitations for changing/hyphenating the name?

Cause I have a feeling I won't decide until we sign the license...eek!
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