What’s In a Name?

An early morning discussion with an old friend from college brought up some interesting questions.

1. When you get divorced, do you revert back to your maiden name? Why or why not?

2. Would you prefer is your ex didn’t keep your last name?

3. Would you take your mate’s last name? And mind you, I’m not just asking the ladies, here. An actor from a fairly popular 90’s sitcom works out at my gym. A quick IMDB search turned up a little bit of trivia. When he got married, he took his wife’s last name. I believe for professional purposes. Let’s just say, it’s an impressive last name as far as Hollywood goes. In any case, it got me wondering if this will be a new trend.

4. Instead of taking the man’s name when a couple gets married, do you think men might start taking their wife’s surname as their own?

 

I decided long ago that I would not take my mate’s last name, personally or professionally. For as long as I can remember, my close friends have referred to me by my last name. Not only that, but there aren’t many males in my family who will carry on the name themselves. I’d like to preserve it. :)

Ladies, If You Were To Get Married, Would You Take Your Mate's Last Name

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Guys, If You Were To Get Married, Would You Take Your Mate's Last Name

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Should Someone Go Back To Their Maiden Name if They Get Divorced?

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117 Responses to “What’s In a Name?”

  1. Debbie Says:

    Was always adamant about keeping my name, and did keep it after I was married. Then a few things happened – I realized that taking his name was more important to my husband than I realized, that it was not completely logical to be so attached to my name – after all it was my father’s name and what about my mom’s identity, and finally, it was just easier to have the same name as my child. That said, I had a long professional career before marrying and all my business cards, communications, online profiles, etc. include both surnames (not hyphenated, just as a middle name) so that people from my past know who I am. When I divorced, I kept my married name again to ease dealing with the school. Now that my daughter is older, I would kind of like to go back to my original name. But I am getting married again, so now I have to really think it through. I am already being referred to by my fiance’s name at his kids’ schools, as well as people assuming I am their mother. Doesn’t bother me, but the kids are a little uncomfortable with the misunderstanding. I just answer to anything reasonable, correct people gently if it seems appropriate or ignore it if it is not a critical piece of information.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. chuckrock Says:

    I don’t believe that I am old fashioned in many areas of life, but this is one of them. I would be highly insulted if my future wife did not take my last name. I would be find if she kept her maiden name professionally if need be but personally she needs to take mine. It is a sign of respect towards me.

    My ex-gf is the person that everyone calls by her last name too. She joke a few times throughout the relationship that she couldn’t give up her last name and i made it clear to her that it would be a condition of any marriage for me. I’m stubborn like that.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 25

    • Ellie Says:

      Taking your name is a sign of respect towards you? What is it a sign of that you, quite literally, want her to give up her identity?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

      • chuckrock Says:

        When you get married you partially merge your identity with your spouse. If a woman is not willing to do that, then why bother getting married? I am only going to marry someone that wants to be part of my family. It really baffles me the amount of outrage I am seeing here. I would estimate that 90 percent of the women I know have taken their husband’s name without issue, including my sister. That tells me that this is much less of an issue than you women are making it seem .

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

        • Aldonza Says:

          Then perhaps you could do what friends of mine did and both hyphenate…to show a mutually merged identity…rather than her submerging her identity in yours.

          (Please note, I say this having taken my ex’s name in marriage and would probably do so again. But I can see both sides. I struggled with it when it came time to choose and emotionally jolted when he said, “If you loved me, you’d take my name.” I said, “If you loved me, you’d accept me even without taking your name.”)

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

        • Ellie Says:

          In your definition of marriage, the woman is the only one merging anything. And, I quote, “Out of respect to you.” Funny, how you wouldn’t dare grant her the same respect.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

          • chuckrock Says:

            You obviously haven’t been reading the entire thread.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • chuckrock Says:

            Unfortunately, a lot of this thread has become about me and everyone’s ‘outrage’ about a perfectly normal and traditional belief I have about the issue. Here’s the thing, I don’t think any woman I would date would give me an issue about it. Someone who is in a relationship with me will know me as someone who is very laid back and easy going. There are going to be so few things that I care enough about to take a stand over that said woman is pretty much going to get her way on nearly every issue. This is one of a very very few. Said woman should be able to tell that it is important to me and want to do it for me…otherwise she might not be the right woman for me. (Just as I would want to do the things for her that are important to her.)

            Ellie’s point above In your definition of marriage, the woman is the only one merging anything. And, I quote, “Out of respect to you.” Funny, how you wouldn’t dare grant her the same respect. is absolutely ludicrous to me. Not only did I say I would consider altering my name, but she is also making up some definition of marriage that she prescribes to me. And it is nothing like my definition of marriage at all. Look, I don’t need to be married. Would I? yes. And it most likely will be because ‘she’ wants it. I am not ‘anti’ marriage, but it also isn’t necessary the ultimate goal for me either. However, if I was to be married, I do have some traditional views about it. DMN makes some good and logical points that I agree with in his post below.

            I have my own ideals about what my marriage will look like but I am willing to change and adapt them to match ‘hers’ in nearly every respect. I think you all would be hard pressed to come up with a scenario within the confines of a wedding or a marriage relationship that I wouldn’t be ok with going along with her beliefs.

            Societal norms have the woman take the man’s name. When she doesn’t she is turning her back on societal norms. THAT is the symbol of disrespect… that She would be willing emasculate me to the world enough to refuse to do so. That is obviously not a show of love. If societal norms in this case had the roles reverses I would have no issue with changing my name to her’s at all. But they don’t.

            I believe that a family should have the same last name. It makes you identifiable to the world as a family. Someone on this thread pointed out all the non-traditional families out there, and that is fine. It just isn’t mine and isn’t for me. If someday I have to cross that bridge I will, but until then I will shoot to have the ‘norm’ as it has been shown to me from my familial and societal upbringing.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

            • Ellie Says:

              Upthread you said, “When you get married you partially merge your identity with your spouse.”

              I took that to be part of your definition of marriage; I wouldn’t call that ludicrous by any stretch of the imagination. And certainly not something I made up.

              If giving a woman equality in your relationship emasculates you to such a degree, I’m forced to wonder about the state of your fragile masculinity. Perhaps a therapist could help you work through your issues?

              Oh, and if we’re going to talk societal norms, let’s talk housework and childcare. The norm, of course, is to let all that fall to the woman. But, since one income is rarely enough to support a family, your wife will probably have to have a job. Will that emasculate you? What about if, god forbid, she made more money than you? And when she got home from work, she’d be the one to cook, clean, and tend to the children, right? I mean, for you to help would just be emasculating. And without your masculinity, what have you got, right?

              Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

            • Vox Says:

              I’m surprised at the amount of outrage too. I dont think there is anything wrong with what you want on this. Personally i cant imagine being ready to remarry, yet be so inflexible on this issue. That said, if thats how some women feel, that’s fair too. It just means you are incompatible. This conversation reminds me of general marriage discussions: some people.are anti- marriage, and some aren’t. Such is life, i see no reason to get angry or argue against it.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

            • Paula Says:

              There are a lot of societal views that I’m actively part of changing, like opposition to same sex marriage (that’s right, I generally oppose marriage personally, but I’m vehemently opposed to discriminatory marriage laws).

              Which may partially explain why among my professional friends who are married, only about 10% changed their name. I only knew 2 who did, and both were raised fairly traditionally and were religious as adults. The rest of us were like “how quaint” but realized it was their choice. My “society” would never expect it, though I can’t imagine being with a guy who would.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

            • Paula Says:

              Look, chuckrock, I wish you, Mrs. Rockarelli, and young
              Master Rockarelli the Fourth every bit of happiness. But from a lawyer, I expect a better application of logical reasoning. Using “family” to justify it doesn’t hold water in a world filled with so many nontraditional families. Using “tradition” to uphold it doesn’t hold water in a world where there have been so many extremely harmful traditions that people have died or fought extremely hard to overcome, like slavery, cultural subjugation, and women treated as property, all with very strong ties to the name-changing tradition, as Craig pointed out.

              Prefer it if you want. Look for a woman who does not mind changing her name if you want. Just don’t pretend there’s some logical *reason* any woman should recognize as anything other than an emotional personal preference guided by your own cultural and religious values.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

              • chuckrock Says:

                And I as an attorney would expect you as an attorney to not use totally irrelevant arguements like slavery in defense of something that has no logical connection whatsoever. If you are going to use precedent, at least use something that. Has some connection. Despite what you may argue, my point of view has much more support in the world than yours does. You can not use logic to dispose my ideas. That is why every person who has commented has gone off the deep end or has tried to insult me.

                My beliefs, in this, are logical and have merit. I am not saying yours do not, but for you to say mine do not just shows that you fear the opposing view. For the good of society is actually a very strong legal argument. The sanctity of marriage is another. If you don’t recognize that, then you obviously can not see all sides of an issue- which must handicap you as an attorney.

                Don’t forget, for every couple u know who is off center and wants marriage (homosexual) there are 100 couples who want the traditional marriage. And just because your couple might be right, it doesn’t make my 100 couple wrong.

                You all may be willing to throw my coments to the side and disbarrage them but if you really can not see the logic behind them, that is on you…not me. I feel sorry for the person who can not comprehend the opposing point of view because their mind is too small.

                -.my apologies for typoe, writing from cell and barely able to see the screen.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

                • Paula Says:

                  Why is slavery totally irrelevant here? Both slavery and marriage traditionally involved situations where one person legally became the property of another, and was required to change his or her name to that of the master to reflect that ownership. Both involve several millennia of history and tradition, that has only started to change in recent history.

                  And I wasn’t the lawyer who first raised this; Craig was, and made a very cogent argument for why he would not expect his fiancée to change her name and submerge her cultural identity. The sanctity of marriage has nothing to do with a name change, as many marriages have endured without a name change, while many with a name change (including the majority who have posted here) have
                  not.) The rest is just a personal insult and isn’t worth responding to.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

                  • Dimplz Says:

                    Craig also said the reason his wife wanted to keep her last name was mainly due to her ethnicity. She isn’t half Black (or African American) like he is, so slavery is part of his family history. My mother is from Puerto Rico, and there’s a slave history there, as there is in most of the world. However, that doesn’t stop me from wanting to get married or taking my husbands name because I have enough sense to know that he doesn’t own me just because I change my name. Did it ever occur to any of the people who disagree that SOMEONE has to give in at one point or another in a marriage? Ever hear the phrase “choose your battles?”
                    How about this for an argument? Being that my last name is Spanish, it’s actually a slave masters name, so it really doesn’t matter to me that I continue on a name that doesn’t mean anything to me. So is Craig’s (most likely). But
                    he’s still going to pass it on to his child, because the dog has her name.
                    The only argument you’ve made has nothing to do with the marriage, but your “brand.” If you feel that your “brand” is more important that establishing your life with your husband, then you’re right, marriage isn’t for you. Personally, if such a thing gets under your skin so much, I don’t care if your last name is supercalifragilisticexpealidocious, to me it’s not about that. It’s about you, your unwillingness to bend, or admit you’re wrong. Honestly, Paula, I like your comments, but you never admit when you’re wrong. I pointed out how we (Hispanics) taken on both parents names (which are our grandfathers names) and you didn’t acknowledge that you were wrong about it. Instead you shifted you argument to chuck and latched on to Craig’s reasoning. I think the answer says more about your character than principle. Many people have brands and their real names are different. I’m pretty sure Jennifer Lopez or JLo is legally Jennifer Anthony.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

                    • Paula Says:

                      Dimplz, I didn’t mean to ignore your argument, and if you want me to admit I’m wrong, I’m happy to do it. I had intended to research it when I returned to my computer later today (on a phone now) and modify my comments if needed.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

                    • Dimplz Says:

                      No problem. Like I said, I like to read yours and chuck’s comments, and you’re probably more alike than you think.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

                    • Paula Says:

                      Not wanting to attach this negative and counterproductive history to marriage certainly doesn’t say anything about one’s willingness to compromise on issues large and small as a couple.

                      Angeline said this very well, Dimplz. When I was married, I made compromises large and small on a regular basis — in retrospect perhaps too many — so I’m not concerned in the slightest whether the unwillingness to change my name makes me not ready for marriage. We all have dealbreakers: yours are different from mine are different from chuckrocks.

                      When you total the positions on this list, between the women who will never change their names, the women who changed their names and regretted it and either miss their old names or felt it did result in some loss of identity, and the men who don’t care whether or not their female partner changes her name, that pretty much leaves you, Dimplz and chuckrock in the minority. So I wasn’t spending a lot of time going on about losing my identity (covered by Elise and others); ties to abhorrent historic traditions (Craig and others); or why can’t you just hyphenate or do the middle/female, last/male thing? I focused my argument on the thing no one else was talking about, and which is of particular importance to me, which is not to say the other arguments are invalid or illogical.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

                    • Paula Says:

                      Now that I can research this, I’m not wrong, Dimplz:

                      From Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_naming_customs)

                      In Spain, upon marrying, the woman does not change her surnames to adopt her husband’s because Spanish naming customs do not include the maiden name concept — thus, when Leocadia Blanco Álvarez marries Pedro Pérez Montilla, she retains her original name Leocadia Blanco Álvarez.

                      …To sum up, if a man named Fernando García Pons marries a woman named Paula Rodríguez Pérez, their child Salvador would be named Salvador García Rodríguez, more likely than not.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

                    • Dimplz Says:

                      The surname you’re attaching to the childs is the fathers name. That’s what I am trying to tell you. It’s the wife and husbands fathers names. Spanish people really arent that progressive.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

                    • Dimplz Says:

                      Garcia and Rodriguez are their fathers last names.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

                    • Paula Says:

                      But they’re more progressive than us: the wife keeps the name she was born with, with one of her surnames passed from her mother. And one of the wife’s family’s names is passed along to the children. Even if it’s the maternal grandfather’s name, you get a whole extra generation of matrilineal names.

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                    • Paula Says:

                      …which if you count the time between the wife getting married and not changing her name, to the child’s lifetime, is probably 75+ extra years of that name in existence, compared to what we have here. That would ensure my family name would be born by a child well after my lifetime (assuming I died before my child).

                      Keeping my name for my lifetime and knowing that it would live on in my child after me would be enough to satisfy my legacy and identity concerns with the American “tradition.”

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

                    • Dimplz Says:

                      I see your point. I don’t wholly disagree, I’m just pointing out that it’s still patriarchal.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

                    • Paula Says:

                      I wouldn’t call a system that gives a woman part of her mother’s name, let’s her keep her own name for her lifetime, and lets her pass part of her name on to her child patriarchal/patrilineal. A hybrid perhaps, since it’s not totally matrilineal either, but it leaves the female identity pretty well represented throughout her lifetime and beyond. I don’t need a Paula X the 7th, as I’ll be far too dead to care.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

                • Angeline Says:

                  I think the heat you’re getting is not that you have this view, but that you’re trying to justify it with logic (when logic should allow the woman to be just as tied to and proud of her family name as you are), and tradition (when the traditions are all over the map, and in this particular case, *do* have roots in ownership of a person). You don’t have to justify it with logic to want it – it’s OK to just deeply want something to be a certain way because that’s how your family and upbringing was, and that’s the ideal you’ve had in your head and heart your whole life. It’s an emotional position, not a logical one. As another poster admitted, it probably isn’t about anything other than ego and vanity to know that someone would give up their name for yours. There’s nothing wrong with that. But it makes me raise an eyebrow and squint with a “huh?” look on my face to hear arguments that it isn’t about subjugation or slavery or identity, when it absolutely is. That is the very dilemma that women have been struggling with over the name change issue for at least 40 years, when it suddenly occurred to them that they didn’t legally HAVE to change their names. Yes, slavery and ownership and the origins of marriage with respect to women being given as property to their husband is very much an issue why there are qualms about it.

                  It’s probably an irrational fear on the part of American women that taking the husband’s name will result in loss of self, rights etc. but women don’t have to look very far in this world to see that very thing and fear it. I don’t think you can fully appreciate that unless you truly tried to stand in her shoes and imagine yourself giving up your attachment to your name. Your desire to have your wife take your name isn’t in any way based on logic, because there is no logic present in this whole scenario. That does not mean your desire doesn’t have merit, it does, because it is your desire and your feelings, but they are not logical.

                  All this is coming from someone who did change her name, and would do so again, but the objections are not to the institution of marriage, or about blending your life with another, but about the very real and negative history of why women’s names changed upon marriage. Not wanting to attach this negative and counterproductive history to marriage certainly doesn’t say anything about one’s willingness to compromise on issues large and small as a couple.

                  I can’t think that anyone who knows a gay couple would say that they are any less committed or love each other less than male/female couples, or that they shouldn’t be taking part in the tradition of marriage unless they uphold ALL the traditions, and yet I’m guessing name changing isn’t even on the radar if they are actually *able* to marry where they live. I’m also guessing that they would find amusing all this discussion about what it means regarding commitment. I know some do combine their names, but most don’t. The *tradition* of marriage doesn’t include men marrying men, or women marrying women. So gay couples start off outside of tradition.

                  The *tradition* of marriage is that a woman’s (girl’s) father decided it made good financial/strategic sense to be connected to this or that family, or this or that cousin within the family, and so the daughter was given in marriage to cement that deal. It was a transaction. We’ve come quite a long way since then, and the issues and discussion about something that seems as simple as changing a name is part of that evolution of what marriage is now.

                  Now, marriage is much more often a decision by two autonomous people to give up their single lives and merge as partners, as a team. Anything that interferes with that feeling of “we’re in this together” is not a plus.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

        • Ellie Says:

          You’re seeing so much anger, because your argument is entirely invalid. Nothing you’ve argued can’t be turned around and asked of the male in the relationship.

          If a woman is not willing to change her name, why bother getting married? I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware name changing was the whole point of marriage. And given that it is, shouldn’t you be willing to change yours?

          The only ground you’ve got to stand on is that a woman has traditionally taken her husband’s name. But, traditionally, we’ve done a lot of pretty terrible things in this country, and I would hope that you wouldn’t have the audacity to try to argue that because things were once done a certain way, they should continue to be done that way. I mean, I don’t know, maybe you do keep slaves?

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

          • M Says:

            Ellie, you seem so very much against any kind of tradition whatsoever. Did it ever occur to you that maybe there is a practical reason behind traditions that does not involve someone subjugating someone else? Chances are you will have some sort of evergreen tree (real or fake) in your house this December. What purpose does that serve? Why do it? You do it because of tradition. Even if you dont practice that particular tradition, I am sure you practice others. Tradition has value and should not be tossed out just because it is old.

            I would encourage you to read about the Cultural Revolution in China. Basically, the government decided tradition was holding China back, so they banned all kinds of cultural traditions. I think you’ll see that getting rid of all these traditions didnt work out so great.

            Oh, and stop it with the talk about slavery. It ended in this country over 140 years ago, and has no relation to marriage in the USA in 2011. Stop comparing the two. This last comment is directed at all those who keep bringing up slavery, not necessarily you.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

            • Angeline Says:

              - I was not aware that there was a new arbiter for what could be discussed here
              – I’ll bring up or respond to anything I believe is relevant to the discussion
              – Whether something has relation to marriage in the USA or not (in your mind) doesn’t address the fact that it is still very much relevant in other parts of the world, and people move to and from these countries
              – It is a bit of gymnastics to, in the same post, condemn the Chinese for obliterating their history, and hand down a directive on whether we may speak of the more negative tangents marriage has taken in history

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

            • Maargen Says:

              I can’t see anything wrong in Ellie’s post, and I do find that your post is pretty illogical.

              In your book, having a Christmas tree for a few weeks can be compared to changing your name?? And if I reject any tradition at all, I reject ALL traditions??

              Yes – it was wrong of China to impose it’s will on the Chines people. Which proves the point that so amny here are making: there are certain things that should be individually chosen or rejected for personal reasons: not imposed!

              Chuckrock talks of his future wife “disrespecting” him by not following a tradition that was imposed on them at a time when they had no legal rights. Now that denying a woman’s right to choose her name has been going on for so long, it’s a tradition that needs to be respected??

              Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Chuck and others like him could see that no matter what a woman does in this issue: keep her name, changer her name, hyphenate her name – it should be HER CHOICE, made for herself based on what’s important to HER, and not only what’s important to her husband?? Chuck seems to be saying that if he meets a wonderful woman who’s name is important to her, he won’t marry her unless she makes the choice of HER name one that suits HIM. This isn’t about choosing where they will both live or how they will both manage communal finances. It’s about HER name! She’s the one who is going to carry the name – not him.

              If she wants to have matching names so people know they’re a couple (???) – well, ok. If she doesn’t, but she realizes that she’s with a man that needs that kind of validation and her own name isn’t that important to her – ok.

              But if her name IS important to her, why shouldn’t she be free to keep it, without pressure from society or from the guy she’s marrying??

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

              • chuckrock Says:

                I agree it is her choice. It is her choice to do one little thing for the guy she apparently loves enough to marry. Like i have said before, this is one of the very few things I would care about, so most of the time it will be me doing or changing things for her. So if she isn’t willing to do one thing for me….then she isn’t someone who loves me enough.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Kurt Says:

      I agree. A woman who loves her man will take his last name if they get married. A woman who keeps her last name probably views marriage as a less permanent thing, making it easier for her to transition from a married woman to a divorced woman.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

      • Kurt Says:

        A man who marries a woman who insists on keeping her own name should insist on a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

    • Russ Says:

      Your last name is your “Family Name”. Since I would want to start a family with my wife, I would require her to take my last name. Yes this means that if she wasn’t willing I would stop the relationship.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  3. Angeline Says:

    I took my husband’s name, although I had a twinge or two about it. But I was very young, and fairly traditional.
    Fast forward 30 years, and I had a professional relationship using my married name (I thought). I also thought it might seem a bit of an insult to my grown son. So I resisted the advice of my best friend and sister to change it back, both saying I’d wish I had (it was free at the time of the divorce). I later realized my reputation didn’t depend on my name nearly as much as I thought, that customers were passing my cards around for the number and email, and my company was right there on my work, so the name itself didn’t matter. And that my son was curious as to why I hadn’t changed it back. Sigh. Because I really would like to be shed of it now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Trouble Says:

    I kept my ex’s name after the divorce, our kids both have that last name, and it’s made things easier.

    As far as men requiring a name change as a sign of respect, really? It’s a major hassle for a working woman You have to change your name on your driver’s license, your social security card, your bank account, any credit card accounts or loans, your work e-mail, your work’s publications that mention you, your business cards, etc. I think that the labor associated with this crap probably adds up to 40+ hours or more of standing in line, completing name change documents, etc. Where is your respect for my time, my effort to build up a professional reputation (attached to my name), and my personal identity?

    Thankfully, I don’t think my boyfriend cares very much either way. My ex was a stickler about the name change, and insisted on it if he was going to marry me. In hindsight, that was one of many red flags I should have paid attention to. Putting that kind of condition on your relationship smacks of a need for control on a level that I’m not interested in dealing with. If it works for you, fine. It doesn’t work for me, so I’d tell any guy who gave me those sorts of conditions to step off.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 3

    • Mandy Says:

      I will never change my name. I find it demeaning that women are expected to change their name when they get married, as if they have to give up their identity to their husband. What is the guy giving up? Nothing. I am a human being, not an object that can be passed to an owner to put a stamp on. The name I have, regardless of who’s name it also is, is MY name, the name I have always had. I am not giving up my identity when I get married. It will be a union, between two equals. If we have a child, we will choose a name for our child, whether it is his or mine or a hyphenate or a combination or whatever. We’ll decide on whatever works for us.

      For men who demand a woman would change her name to marry you…would you EVER consider changing your name to be with a woman? No, right? Because it’s insulting and demeaning to demand such a thing. While you’re at it, why not just go ahead and demand she give up her career, her friends, her hobbies, and just stay home and raise “your” kids. It’s really not that far of a stretch to think that way.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 6

      • chuckrock Says:

        While you’re at it, why not just go ahead and demand she give up her career, her friends, her hobbies, and just stay home and raise “your” kids. It’s really not that far of a stretch to think that way.

        actually it is a HUGE stretch and not even close. I’m not saying anything of the sort.
        When I marry, I am starting a family with my new wife. A family should have the same name. There are few things I actually care about regarding these things but this is one of them. I can give my life to someone but she can’t give a few hours to me to do he work to change her name? ridiculous.

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        • Paula Says:

          chuckrock, would you alter your name or hyphenate it? If the family should have one name, why does it have to be yours?

          If I had kids, I would consider changing my name to anything but my husband’s, if he would make the same change, whether hyphenated or a merger or a made-up name we all share. I have friends who had two short names who merged it into one longer name, which I think is cool.

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          • chuckrock Says:

            I would consider it, yes. However, I am the third and am hoping to be able to name my son so that he will be the fourth. I also have a very italian name, so it may not work well as a hyphenated name.

            Like i said, i am very much not old fashioned in most ways…this is just one of the very few that I am. For me it would be the ultimate sign of disrspect for a woman who supposedly loved me, and knew it was important to me to not WANT my name.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

            • Paula Says:

              And for me, it would be the ultimate sign of disrespect for my partner to force me to forfeit 20 years of professional capital and identity, never mind what I think about it personally. Dealbeaker.

              Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 2

              • Paula Says:

                …and Google results as well…which might be the ultimate measure of personal and professional identity at this point in our societal existence.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

                • chuckrock Says:

                  I did say it wouldn’t bother me if they kept their maiden name professionally. I think that is different, and as an attorney totally understand the importance of one’s name and the reputation associated with it.

                  I am talking more personally. How they called themselves to friends and family and such.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

                  • Paula Says:

                    You know as an attorney that you can only have one legal name. Either you change it or you don’t. To friends and family, you’re not using your last name anyway. They know you as [first name] or chuckrock’s wife.

                    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

                    • chuckrock Says:

                      You are Mr. and Mrs. _______, to your friends and family. That _____ should be my name. She should want to be associated with me in that way. One can keep a professional name even if it is not her legal name. I’mnot going expect if she has been advertising as part of Smith and Jones to suddenly switch her business to Smith and ItalianName. She doesn’t have to change her cards or anything like that.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

                    • Paula Says:

                      As a lawyer you have to conduct business using your legal name, so yes, you do have to change your cards and your website and your state bar record.

                      No one, even married women who changed their names, uses Mrs. anymore. Your marital status isn’t part of your honorific, so professional women all use Ms.

                      As for Mr and Mrs, who ever addresses someone personally that way? Maybe if you’re an elementary school teacher or addressing someone several decades older, but otherwise, with the demise of snail mail, no one is using someone’s last name anymore once they know them.

                      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

            • Mandy Says:

              Why doesn’t it work the other direction? Do you consider it disrespectful to the woman that you don’t want her name?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

              • chuckrock Says:

                Which part of me saying I am traditional on this topic did you miss?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

            • Kim Hess Says:

              I too am surprised that @chuckrock is getting so much grief for his views. I don’t agree with all of them, but I feel most men probably would be happier if their wife took their last name.

              I never changed my last name when I got married. So there was nothing to change after I got divorced. My sons have the same last name as their dad, but everyone knows they’re my children so it’s never been a big deal.

              I kept my last name because I like it. I loved my husband but liked my name and had no problem with our boys having his last name and not mine. We were a loving family and that’s what mattered, not that we all had the same name.

              People would call me Mrs. [Insert then husband’s last name] and that was cool too. No need to correct. It wasn’t an issue for my then husband. My dad was the one who put up a fuss!

              My next marriage, will I take my husband’s name? Probably not, unless he was hard core like @chuckrock! You do stuff to make your spouse happy-just as I hope he’d want to make me happy by understand that I like my name after 37 years of having it.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

        • Paula Says:

          No one complains louder about the tradition that who asks the other person out pays, because it primarily affects men. This is the tradition that always negatively impacts women, so don’t be surprised if it’s a dealbreaker for some. It definitely would be for me.

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        • Mandy Says:

          You’re giving your life to her, and she’s giving her life to you (if that’s how you define marriage). Why does she also have to give up her own identity? But you don’t?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

          • M Says:

            Nobody is giving up their identity. Giving up your identity would involve joining the witness protection program or something of the like. Your identity is who you are, not your name. Your name is just a piece, and a rather small one at that. If a woman gets married and changes her name, who she is is not going to change, only her name is.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Kurt Says:

      So if a man wants his wife to take his name, he is “controlling”? I don’t buy that – maybe he is traditional? The extreme counter-argument is that a woman who refuses to take her husband’s name is a selfish bitch.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Trouble Says:

        Kurt:

        Your counter-argument is a fail, because it’s apples/oranges. If a man expects a woman to make major changes in her life to suit him, including her name, he may well be controlling. Refusing to make major changes because of someone else’s whims does not equal selfish bitch.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

        • chuckrock Says:

          That depends on whether he is also willing to make changes and sacrifices for her. If he is and does, then he is not controlling but her refusal would indicate a bit of selfishness depending on her reasons.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Russ Says:

      Honestly, all those little things involved with changing your name are just that – little things. A marriage is a LOT of hard work, and if my future wife can’t be bothered to change her name then she isn’t very committed to marriage!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. myself Says:

    I I’ve in Quebec Canada & this is a moot question, for reasons of the paperwork associated to divorce & name changed, we’re not allowed to take our husband’s names!

    And honestly, I wouldn’t anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. chuckrock Says:

    On one of the other questions. I would expect that a woman return to her maiden name. I understand wanting to have the same name as the children, but as a divorce attorney I’ve had this discussion with many of my clients and they usually tell me that they don’t want to be identified with their ex-husband anymore.

    I dated a divorced woman with kids (before determining i didn’t want to date someone with kids – she is a big reason why i feel that way)last year who had kept her ex-husbands name. It always struck me as odd that she wanted me to always associate her with her ex-husband because she had his name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

    • Trouble Says:

      You sure have a lot of very strong opinions about really mundane things.

      I kept my ex’s name not because it was HIS name (and implied his ownership of me, which is what it seems to represent to you), but because it was MY KIDS’ NAME. Also, legally, it was MY NAME (which I assumed when I married him, legally speaking). The name didn’t belong to him anymore than it belonged to me at that point.

      It’s weird the things that some men get their egos wrapped up in.

      See, as women, we get to choose from our dad’s name (not ours), or our husband’s name (also not ours). Some men seem to think that we should be gushingly grateful for that. Mostly? It’s a pain in the ass.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

      • Mandy Says:

        I understand keeping the name once you’ve already taken it if you’ve had kids. If you believe the name isn’t to show “ownership”, as I do believe it shows, then the woman should of course keep the name she legally changed her name to after the marriage is over, if that’s what she wants. It’s now HER name to do with as she pleases.

        But I don’t get the association of a choice between your father’s name and your husband’s name. Wherever your name originally came from, it’s YOUR name. Maybe both your parents had the same last name (because your mom changed hers), so that means you have both of your parents’ name. But again, regardless, it is yours. And it doesn’t make any sense to change your name, the very symbol of your identity, simply because you choose to legally commit to someone.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

        • Stacey Says:

          My last name is actually my mother’s maiden name, always has been. Kind of gets awkward when people start referring to my dad as Mr. ________ (my mother’s maiden name), but correcting them is not worth the (inaccurate) assumptions about my family that are likely to follow..

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

      • chuckrock Says:

        Yeah, don’t put words in my mouth, thank you. I didn’t say anything about ownership. It is about family. Once you are divorced you are no longer family w/ your ex-husband. Simple as that.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • Aldonza Says:

          If you have children together, you most certainly are still family with the ex. But even aside, if you’re giving the name, you don’t get to take it back later. It’s hers to choose to do as she wants. Heck, I could legally change my name to yours without marrying you. What’s the difference?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

          • chuckrock Says:

            Not having been married/divorced with kids I can’t speak to your response very well; but it would appear to me that you are no longer family with the ex. You are family with the kids and he is family with the kids, but not to each other. But like I said, I only say that having not lived through it.

            And I totally agree with your second point, about it being her choice. I never said otherswise. It just wouldn’t make sense to me for her to make the choice to keep it. That’s all. To each their own though.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            • Burbgirl Says:

              Wow, b, the similarities are striking!

              I too hated my last name all my life and was only too glad to switch to my husband’s name. It’s alliterative, easy to spell and pronounce, and works well with my first name.

              I did feel some feminist twinges about doing it, and part of me did feel that I was giving up my identity. But I also looked at it as a chance to have a fresh start and forge my own identity.

              Now, just over 10 years later, we’re divorced. I knew fairly early in the process that I wanted to keep this last name. It’s part of my professional reputation, it still sounds and spells better, and frankly I just like the person I have become with it. If I reverted to my maiden name, I wonder if i would suddenly feel like an icky awkward and unconfident teenager again.

              In the reverse of your situation, I went from a difficult Italian last name to one that’s very Anglo. It’s a little weird in that people assume that’s my background. (Then again, it’s not really Anglo … it was anglicized from Portuguese when the ex’s great-grandparents came over) In a way I almost feel like I am “passing” for something I am not, and something that in certain parts of American society gets more credit and respect. (And I don’t look Italian either, so that helps.)

              I do feel the qualms though about how to bring it up to people I’m dating. I often wonder if they will get weirded out by it, or if it might scare them away.

              If I ever get married again, I don’t know what I would do. Part of me likes having built this brand of myself with this name, even if I oughtn’t really consider it mine anymore. If hubby #2 had a last name I liked, and/or if it meant a lot to him I might be tempted.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            • Angeline Says:

              Even if you divorce, you are always tied to each other because of the kids. Always. Weddings, funerals, graduations, you have to learn how to navigate those, and remain friendly and adult (however difficult it can be!). It’s no longer a family *unit*, but it is still a family. A good chunk of our marital problems were due to his family, so I really would have liked to put it behind me and move on. But one of the main reasons I hung onto the name was the idea that it would seem like rejection or disrespect to my kids who carry that name. If they’d still been at home, it would have been a no-brainer, absolutely I would have kept the name without all the soul-searching, but that position is probably pretty easy to understand.
              It’s a tricky damned thing.

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  7. b Says:

    When I married at 23 back in 1992, I struggled with the name change question. I never liked my family’s name, aesthetically (got teased a lot in grade school and was happy I’d get to drop it someday when I got married). By the time I entered adulthood, I was pretty non-traditional and feminist leaning, so the question of the name change became a real dilemma. By changing it, I would be dropping a name I never liked anyway for one that sounded much better (my personal aesthetic choice), but I would also be bowing to a tradition I didn’t agree with and that held no meaning for me (taking my husband’s name and becoming identified with HIS family). In the end, I said nuts to everything and just picked the name I liked better, which was my husband’s. He flatly refused to consider us picking a new name for the two of us.

    Fast-forward 12 years to the divorce, and again I had to decide what to do about my name. It was a no brainer this time. I had chosen the name I liked better, for me, not for my ex or for the marriage, or for any kids (we never wanted any). I had been known by that name for my entire adult life. It was my name now, and I kept it.

    As to whether I’d change my name again if I get married, I will have to cross that bridge when I come to it. I don’t like the idea of musical identities, changing it up every time your marital status changes (which can be more than just once in a lifetime, as we all see, unfortunately). If I marry a man whose name I like even better than my current name, I might change it. Or if it is super important to my husband, I would consider it.

    The only inconvenient thing I’ve experienced in keeping my married name is that it’s an Italian name, and I’m not Italian, though I look like I could be. People (and dates) often assume I am and comment on it, and then I feel I have to admit I’m not, and that leads into a brief explanation of the fact that I’m divorced and my ex was Italian, which is sometimes awkward, depending on the scenario. Sigh. If I had only had a nice enough maiden name, I would have certainly kept it and avoided all this! Highly annoying, this question of names, and completely unfair that it’s only women who have to address it.. Just sayin’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • daisy Says:

      This is my situation, almost exactly (except that I had no issues with changing my last name – I disliked my father and the complex, hard-to-pronounce ethnic last name more than I twinged about tradition and feminism.) I was 21 at the time and couldn’t wait to change my name to a much easier (albeit very other ethnic) last name. We were only married for two years, and in his culture women don’t change their last names by tradition, but we were in the US so he accepted it. I kept the name after the divorce (it was mine, not just his anymore, and it’s a very common name in some parts of the world (like “Smith”) so I don’t associate it with him in my mind, but with that culture. Because of him and that time, I learned his language which has been extremely helpful to my career, and would not change it back for anything now (my law licenses in several states are in that name, and that name is on my law firm door). It gives me a lot of legitimacy in a certain community and is good for my business. I consider it mine, and I haven’t spoken to my ex-husband in over 6 years. It has nothing to do with him – he was merely the vehicle that I used to get the new name.

      If I ever get married again (I’m still relatively young – 33), I imagine I wouldn’t change my name. But I can understand why it would be a problem for some me, though, and will cross that bridge when I get there.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Vox Says:

    I did not change my name when i married, for professonal reasons, because my family only has female children, and also laziness/not wanting the hassle. I didnt think it was a big deal, but when he and i went through marrage counseling lster he did blurt out, “and you never took my name!” If I ever married again, I would change it personally (not professionally) if he really wanted it. In part it is because I cant imagine getting married again if Im not willing to sacrifice a bit, and in part it is because my family name means far less to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  9. Paula Says:

    I want to keep my last name, regardless of my marital status, not because it’s my dad’s name, but because it’s MY name, the only one I’ve had my entire life. Now that the only other person with my name in the entire country got married and hyphenated, I own Google — anyone who types in my name finds me, for about the first hundred entries, which is important to my career. I would have to start all over to build credibility, and as I mentioned above, would have to use my legal name professionally, as it is required by my profession.

    But this thing about sharing a name somehow making you a closer family thing I think is BS too. I’m adopted, as is my younger brother. My brother is the last in the family line, but it’s no longer a biological line anyway — that will die with my dad. There are so many family configurations these days, between remarriages/ stepkids, adoptions, same sex parents, foster parents, sperm donors, IVF, surrogate parenting, you name it, that the name doesn’t necessarilly indicate a biological connection anymore anyway, and the person whose name you share isn’t necessarily the person who played the most significant parenting role.

    I’d rather spend all the time I would changing my name and rebuilding my reputation on being the best partner/ spouse and parent I could be, knowing that I live in a world where individual identity and reputation is much more important than a familial one, and only getting more so with each passing day.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  10. Jen Says:

    Chuckrock, it’s your call on whether you’ll marry a woman determined to keep her name, I guess. I just hope you’re willing to indulge your wife’s similarly irrational desires. I say that having changed my name mostly because it was important to my husband, but neither of us pretended it was logical for him to want that. It just meant more to him than to me. (And by the way, not everyone sees a name as their identity; I am more than my name, to which I was never very attached in the first place.) It’s reciprocal, though. He indulges my irrational desires as well. Marriage is more fun when you’re generous with each other.

    Your hypothetical wife is giving up a significant amount of time and a connection to her past because you want her to share your name. So I guess my question is, what are you willing to give up for her, just because she wants it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    • chuckrock Says:

      I think anyone that knows me would tell you that i would do just about anything for a woman that i was in love with. Even my main ex-girlfriend would tell you that

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  11. Joe Says:

    How relevant. My divorce was finalized exactly a week ago. We’d been married twenty five years. A few weeks ago, before I moved out (yes, the divorce went that fast–22 days from when we signed to when the judge signed) my ex suddenly asked if I minded if she kept my name. I’d never thought about it. I said I didn’t care, but was curious why she didn’t change it back. She just shrugged and said that’s how she’s been known for longer than with her maiden name and it would a major pain to change everything back.

    My only real surprise is that sometimes rather impractical wife would be suddenly be so practical.

    As for me, if I was going to go through the hassles of changing my name, I’d come up with something spectacular. And easy to spell and sign.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  12. Joe Says:

    I’m reminded of an acquaintance from years ago whose mother had remarried three times, changed her name with each marriage and had kids by each husband. To make it more confusing, she’d register her children for school using whatever her last name currently was. Even her kids apparently sometimes got confused over what their real last name was.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  13. Saj Says:

    I miss my maiden name. It was much nicer then my married name but my husband thought it was important and it’s my daughters name so I wanted to keep it consistent rather then for my own ego/vanity reasons.

    As for it being a pain in the ass it was slightly but hrm 3-4 appointments and less then a week it was done. Not a big deal at all. I also changed it professionally as many here say is their reason but I see no big deal in putting work under both names in a portfolio.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Marriage is an institution of tradition. Nothing more, nothing less. It makes zero sense to get married (or want to get married) if you’re so opposed to the traditions associated with it. If you’re against changing or sharing your names, or giving up your precious identities or personal “brands” then um, why not just not get married? I know, I know crazy talk.

    Some of you really make me scratch my head.

    By the way, many professiona women LOVE to change their names. It’s a badge of honor, just like the diamond. See that? Not only am I a professional success but I got a man to marry me! Or, the more self-important ones – hyphenate. I have THREE names! Weeeeee!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

    • Paula Says:

      We already had this conversation, but marriage is a bundle of legal rights, and yes, some traditions, but it’s hardly all or nothing. Getting married in a church, on a beach at a resort, a little chapel in Las Vegas, or City Hall: all are part of the tradition of marriage. And if you’re of Spanish heritage, women don’t take their husband’s name and children get both parents’ names. Bottom line, you can use tradition to justify or oppose everything, so it doesn’t get you very far.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • dimplz Says:

        Do you mean Spanish or Hispanic? Because we really don’t do that anymore. More and more women just use the husband’s last name.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Paula Says:

          I meant Spanish, not Hispanic. But what you said proves my point. If you followed DMN’s tradition reasoning, things would never evolve. And we’d have more examples of matrilineal societies where society didn’t collapse when the mother’s name was passed along too.

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          • dimplz Says:

            Yes, but you’d have really, really long names. When my mom tells me the names of my grandparents and great-grandparents, I can’t even remember half of them.

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  15. dimplz Says:

    I have never been married, so I can only say if I would change my name. I am very traditional, and it honestly wouldn’t bother me in the least. In addition, my father has been dead since I was 2 months old, we don’t really associate with his family, so if anything, I should have taken my mother’s name all these years. All of the men with her last name didn’t have boys, so the name won’t be carried by us (although an interesting aside, we have a street in Puerto Rico and other family members with this last name). I would be thrilled to take my husband’s name and become a part of his family. I don’t sweat the small stuff, and in the grand scheme of things, namely marriage, this is a very small issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  16. WO7 Says:

    I don’t think it would be a big deal to me if a woman did not want to change her name. Since I can understand the reasons why I wouldn’t want to change my name, I can certainly apply the same reasoning to her situation.

    On the other hand, it would definitely feel good to have a woman take my name. Maybe that’s pride or vanity speaking, but I’m not going to lie.

    A bigger question, is what do you do about the kid’s names? I think I would feel more strongly about the children having my name (and yes, I know that’s not actually reasonable or fair). I’m not interested in hyphenated names at all. Kind of seems ridiculous to me. Plus, if two people with hyphenated names get married do their kids then have 4 names? Getting a bit out of hand.

    I can see what Chukrock is saying about the family part. If does make it feel more like you’re one unit if everyone in the family has the same last name. For that reason, I would never push for a future wife to not make the change. But I would definitely not force the issue. It’s a lot to ask, for someone to give up their name.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. Maria Says:

    Chuckrock’s deal seems to be more a matter of ego than respect. It doesn’t show much respect in turn for a hypothetical partner who might have just as valid reasons for keeping her name (it’s all about his preference).

    I would change my name if I liked the guy’s name better aesthetically but probably would not if I didn’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    • chuckrock Says:

      It’s amazing how you can misinterpret something so much. This has zero to do with ego. Zero.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Paula Says:

        chuckrock, you’re asking someone to do something that you would not be willing to do. What else could that be about?

        I would never ask my partner to do something to do something I wouldn’t do myself…especially when it would involve changing the name of your law firm and starting all over with Google to re-establish your professional expertise. Maybe 90% of women don’t have to worry about this, and I don’t want to make assumptions, but is your Italian family Catholic? Certainly taking a husband’s name is the traditional choice, as you acknowledged, but may not be the right choice for everyone.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • chuckrock Says:

          I’ve already explained what it is about, it is about family and tradition.

          I didn’t want to respond to the legal aspects that you keep bringing up, but I don’t think you are 100% correct on your statements regarding having to change the name of your law firm. I’d rather not have a legal discussion on a dating blog though. (considering this is an escape from work for me :) )

          Yes, my family is Catholic. I also went to catholic school my entire life until college. That doesn’t mean that I only have catholic or italian friends though.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • dimplz Says:

            Ok, you guys may need to take a step back here. First, you are not marrying each other. Second, Paula you mentioned how Spaniards take on Mom and Dad’s last name which is also a tradition, while you are at the same time arguing over another tradition here in the United States, to ONLY take on a man’s last name? Seems to me that you want to preserve whatever tradition works in your own best interest.

            Chuckrock did say that he’d be willing to consider it, because I hardly doubt anyone would drop the woman of their dreams because she was hesitant to change her name. It’s easy to be stubborn when you’re not in love.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

            • Paula Says:

              I was not arguing in favor of the Spanish tradition so much as pointing out that not traditions result in the woman taking the guy’s name. And you proved my point that many Spanish families aren’t doing that any more, so they can’t say they’re honoring tradition.

              I actually think the best solution, if all having the same name is essential, for both adults to take both names as middle last (non hyphenated, in whatever order is aesthetically pleasing) and do the same for the kids.

              I’m not worked up about this, really — chuckrock and his hypothetical wife can do what they want. But I have been thinking about and debating this since I was a teenager, and like I said above, it’s a relationship dealbreaker, even if that’s why I’m single. My ex and I didn’t even discuss it — changing my name was never on the table. Let his mother keep the last name of the a-hole from whom she’s been divorced for 20 years and who hit on my ex’s sister (his former stepdaughter) after they broke up.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

              • dimplz Says:

                No, they do take on the man’s name, but they also keep their own. For example, my name would be F—- C—-. My mother was C—–f R——. It’s the father’s then mother’s name, but it’s more like a surname thing. It’s like the opposite of what Craig’s wife will do with their hypothetical baby. The reason I said I suspect we don’t do it anymore is to make things easier and not have these long names.

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          • Paula Says:

            Depends on your state bar and the nature of your practice (solo practitioner whose name is the firm’s name is in different spot than someone in multipartner firm) but you still have branding issue. (right now I’m at a legal marketing conference, with comments like “if you’re not on Google, you don’t exist, which is why this is so much on my mind, and I have plenty of time to post.)

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  18. Craig Says:

    I couldn’t care less if my mate took my name. In fact, she’s not going to when we get hitched in November. She’s Chinese-American and wants to keep her last name to maintain her ethnic identity. That makes a lot of sense to me, as I’d want the same thing if I were in her shoes. The whole tradition of a woman taking a man’s name dates back to when women were considered little more than chattel and became a man’s property upon marriage. She took his name to acknowledge his ownership of her. It’s basically the same reason slaves were given their master’s last name during that fun time for Africans in America known as slavery. So whenever a woman takes a man’s name, she is basically honoring that history. Food for thought..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

    • dimplz Says:

      Whose last name will your baby have, then? Hers? Sorry I really don’t know much about Chinese tradition and I’m just curious if you’re following all her traditions or if you’re merging them.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • dimplz Says:

      If you have babies. I don’t like to assume…

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    • Craig Says:

      I have no idea what the Chinese tradition on surname use is – and she probably doesn’t either as she was born in Manhattan. Her reasons have nothing to do with any tradition. She just wants to keep her Chinese surname to maintain her ethnic identity. She doesn’t want to be an Asian person with my Anglo-soundling last name. Have you ever met an Asian person with a last name like “Jones” or something and wondered what that was all about? She doesn’t wan’t that.

      If we have children, her last name will be their middle name and then my last name will follow without a hyphen. The dog got her last name, so we compromised and said the next living being we bring home will get my last name.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • dimplz Says:

        Oh I see. I misread that. Luckily, most of the surnames I’ve seen that are Chinese are monosyllabic, so the child won’t have a long middle name. That’s a pretty neat compromise.

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    • Trouble Says:

      This is the kind of openness and common sense that I’d hope for in a partner. i hope you and the fiance are extremely happy, Craig, and I strongly suspect you will be, mainly because both of you appear not to get to twisted about the details.

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  19. jesse Says:

    The kids should have the man’s last name. He sired them, and this should be public knowledge. If the kids have the mothers name, then no one knows who the father is, thereby no accountability.

    Concerning whether the wife takes the husband’s name, she should. This, like the wearing of the wedding ring, tells people she is off the market.

    All in all though, it eventually comes down to the golden rule — he who makes the most money makes the rules. If the wife out-earns or otherwise supports the husband, then he should take her name. Serve him right.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 10

  20. drivingmenutes Says:

    “Bottom line, you can use tradition to justify or oppose everything, so it doesn’t get you very far.”
     
    I don’t know what this means.  I’m not using tradition to justify or oppose EVERYTHING.  I’m saying MARRIAGE is mostly about tradition and not about substance.  Some things are about substance, such as raising children but that’s not what we’re talking about here.  We’re arguing here about ceremony.  Form.  Not substance.
     
    You don’t go to a pizza place and order a pizza but say “Mm.  I love pizza.  But, hold the sauce and the cheese.  Sauce is too sweet and the cheese gives me gas.”  And, that’s because the definition of pizza includes sauce and cheese.  You can add more stuff but the core of pizza is dough, sauce and cheese.  Similarly, the definition of marriage includes the trappings of tradition.  Without them, you don’t have marriage.  You could just as easily object to engagement rings, or wearing a brides dress on your wedding day, or having a bridal shower, or even having a wedding at all for that matter, or merging your finances or even living together as you can object to sharing your name.  My answer is the same.  If you’re objecting to these things as some foolish legacies of outdated traditions and no longer meaningful, WHY isn’t that true of all marriage traditions and marriage in general?  Marriage doesn’t need to “evolve” to less than it is, anymore than pizza needs to evolve to something less than dough, sauce and cheese.  If the institution of marriage seems illogical and doesn’t make sense to you given the structure of modern life, then DUH that’s probably because it’s illogical and doesn’t make sense given the structure of modern life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • trouble Says:

      Actually, DMN, it’s about making a public, legal commitment to one another. The traditions are created by the couple, and vary from couple to couple.

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    • Paula Says:

      You’re talking to the wrong person here; DMN; due to a wheat allergy, I only eat the toppings, not the crust. But if I went into a pizza joint and ordered a cheesy saucy meaty mess, they wouldn’t know what to bring me. It’s up to me to adapt it to make it work. Just like marriage. All it has to be is the bundle of rights the law accords you (which is why people who go into it should know what those are and whether they’re necessary.) After that, it’s up to the couple to define what it does and doesn’t mean, in terms of love, commitment, family, children, money, property, and lifestyle.

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        Yes, if you are allergic to pizza,, don’t eat pizza. If you can’t deal with the fact that marriage comes with compromises based on traditions that make no logical sense and give no concrete benefits to you then….. don’t get married. In fact, using your logic of slavery, etc. you should reject marriage as a societal good altogether and not wish it on gay people. The fact that your friends REFUSE to change their names tells me that they simply shouldn’t be married.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

        • Paula Says:

          I eat pizza, I just don’t eat the crust. Many things can be adapted to make them work in your life. I definitely can deal with the fact that marriage requires all kind of compromises…believe me, I made plenty of them in my marriage. But everyone has their dealbreakers, compromises they will not make. Changing your name is one of mine. And marriage doesn’t come with a name change — it’s no longer automatic with the marriage, and in fact, it requires a significant amount of work to change your name, as people here have commented.

          My view is that you should not get married unless you have kids or own property together, because in both of those situations, you can usually benefit from the legal rights and protections that marriage bestows. Unless I end up having one or both of those things, I probably won’t get married again.

          Most of my married friends have one or both, and therefore benefit from marriage, and many of them have been married for 15 years or more, so keeping their name hasn’t really affected the sanctity of their marriages. I’m all about choice…and until my gay friends have the choice to get married, I’ll fight for their right to do it. Then I’ll try to talk them out of it. ;-)

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        • Maargen Says:

          I’m sorry, but you make no sense.

          A marriage is a legal contract.

          The “trappings” that come with the “ceremony” are completely immaterial to the marriage. I can have all the bridesmaids, churches, flowers, rings I want…I can choose to call myself anything I want…but if the marriage is only officiated by my great uncle Joe, who is not authorized anywhere, in any way, by any legal entity, to perform marriages…I AM NOT MARRIED.

          On the other hand, if the person officiating has been authorized by the state I’m getting married in, and my and my partner’s legal papers are in order, I can get married in the back alley of a pizza joint between slices – with no ceremony at all.

          There are standard marriage contracts, but the terms of any specific contract can be ammedned to suit the needs and desires of the individuals involved.

          So when you say “Marriage is an institution of tradition. Nothing more, nothing less. It makes zero sense to get married (or want to get married) if you’re so opposed to the traditions associated with it.” I can only be astounded at your ignorance.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

          • DrivingMeNutes Says:

            You’re right, marriage is just a legal contract. I must be imagining all thise trappings of tradition like love, and fidelity. And all those weddings I went to with the bride wearing a white dress. Oh, and that fantasy I have about married people living together and sharing their lives. Nope, all made up. Its just a legal contract that couples whip together with their lawyers at Starbucks.

            I am truly in awe of your superior intellect and insight.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

            • Paula Says:

              The name calling and sarcasm are as superfluous as the traditions each of you cite. Marriage is a legal contract at its essence, but one that has been accompanied in almost every society with traditions.

              There are plenty of marriages without love and/or fidelity. It’s sad that a couple would go to the lengths of getting and staying married without them, but the green card, insurance benefits, inheritance, income stream, or having a partner to raise kids or take care of the home may outweigh their absence.

              The marriage is just as legal without a white dress, and it wasn’t until recently that it stopped connoting virginity. (Now they make white pregnancy wedding gowns — my former sister-in-law wore one when she got married with only about 6 weeks to go before delivery…the empire waist was essential.)

              Plenty of non-married people live together and share their lives, but it doesn’t make them married, except in a handful of states which recognize common-law marriage (and even there, it’s not just about living together for a certain length of time). Some married people live separately, and unless it’s being done for the purpose of creating a legal separation prior to divorce, that has no legal effect on the marriage.

              Just ask Warren Buffett, who separated from his wife Susie in 1977, but remained married to her until her death in 2004. Since he and Susie separated, he lived with Astrid Menks (who Susie introduced to Warren), but they did not marry until 2006. They signed Christmas cards from Warren, Susie, and Astrid. It certainly didn’t follow the conventional wisdom or tradition, but then again, Warren Buffett didn’t become the one of the wealthiest people in the world by following conventional wisdom.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

          • Stacey Says:

            I think it’s worth mentioning that our legal system provides certain benefits and incentives to married couples that it does not to single people, or those co-habitating in exclusive relationships. These benefits include tax breaks, eligibility for health insurance, life insurance, property ownership, wealth distribution, and even gym memberships to name a few.

            Therefore, if one weighs the pros and cons of marriage versus staying in an indefinite long term monogamous relationship, the rational incentive, at least for the lesser earner, (and maybe even for the higher earner, assuming a good prenup in place) would be marriage.

            Interestingly, I know one couple who have a marriage contract for a three year term increments, subject to mutual renewal. They swear to it, that the possibility that the other partner might not renew helps keeps their marriage “fresh.”

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  21. trojandoll Says:

    I took my husband’s last name because it was important to him, but I really like my maiden name and like Moxie, a lot of people called me by my last name. Some of them still do call me by my maiden name. It was a little difficult for me because i like the name so much and because it was MY name that I’d had my whole life, but I do enjoy being Mrs. D—— and it means something to him. At least my initials didn’t change :)

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  22. Karen Says:

    I am a little shocked at ChuckRock not wanting to date a girl because she kept her ex’s last name… talking out of both sides of his mouth when he goes on to say that his reasons have more to do about family & tradition and not the legal aspect.

    Its been a tradition for divorced women to keep their married name because of the children. That’s the ONLY reason why I kept my last name the same. I am Clueless as to the judgement he made on the girl. wow..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • chuckrock Says:

      I didn’t say i didn’t want to date a girl because she kept her ex’s last name. I said I was surprised that she did. Big difference.

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    • chuckrock Says:

      and actually, most of my female divorce clients who have children do not keep the married name – so i do not know where you are getting the idea that it is tradition to keep it.

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  23. Crotch Rocket Says:

    Up until the last century, a woman’s name changed when she was sold from one man (her father) to another (her husband) to reflect the change in ownership–just like any other slave throughout history. To continue that tradition is an insult to the women who fought for your freedom–and the men who gave it to you.

    That said, women keeping their names when marrying leaves a rather obvious problem: what name to give any children. Hyphenating, the usual feminist solution, only works for one generation before it’s ridiculously unmanageable. The only logical solution is for the kids to get the mother’s name–especially considering our society’s false paternity rate of 10-30% (depending on the study). Even unwed mothers rarely do that today, but it’s gradually gaining acceptance, and I suspect it’ll be the norm a century or two from now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

    • Y. T. Bliss Says:

      Up untill the last century women were “sold”? Really? Would you please provide the source of that statement? Thank you.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

      • Trouble Says:

        You’re unfamiliar with the dowry custom? Up until the early 20th century, women’s value to men was determined by their dowry, inheritance or annual income.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Trouble Says:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowry

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        • Angeline Says:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bride_kidnapping
          “Bride kidnapping, also known as marriage by abduction or marriage by capture, is a practice throughout history and around the world in which a man abducts the woman he wishes to marry. Bride kidnapping still occurs in countries spanning Central Asia, the Caucasus region, and parts of Africa, and among peoples as diverse as the Hmong in southeast Asia, the Tzeltal in Mexico, and the Romani in Europe. In most countries, bride kidnapping is considered a sex crime, rather than a valid form of marriage.”

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  24. kay Says:

    I’m 30 and unmarried and don’t plan on taking my husband’s name. I have a strong and foreign first and last name. If my husband have a traditional last name, it may not flow with my first name. However, if it’s really important to him, I’ll take his last name.

    The older you get, the more established you are and more likely to hold onto your name. At 30, I may go either way but at 40, I will definitely keep my name.

    Changing names is a long and tedious process. Too many people to notify, papers to sign and things to change. And then, it’s telling people ‘call me this now, not that.’ After a brutal divorce, I will change my name back. If after the divorce, we’re on good terms, I will keep my ex’s name.

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