Sunday, March 15, 2009

What's in a name? Again

I've talked about how to change your name (here and here) but I didn't talk about what I'm doing.

That's because I don't know! I always assumed I'd hyphenate my name. Yes, that what I'd assumed I would do. I didn't see the point of changing my name. My name is mine. But I also didn't see the point of "refusing" my husband's name. My ultimate would be if he took my last name as a second middle name. But that's not going to happen. Wade is not very traditional about many things - he does our laundry and packs my lunch every day. He will support whatever I do, but he is not adding my last name into his name. (And that's fine with me.)

But it seems like every other blogger posts about how stupid "hyphenating" your name is. They say it means you couldn't decide what you wanted to do, which is not the case with me, and I know I shouldn't be swayed by someone saying this, but I was. (Frankly, in my experience, most women who dislike hyphenation are the same women who always "knew" they would change their name.)

So what to do? I could always embrace the old-fashioned allegedly "Scottish" tradition (I can't find anywhere I can cite, but I'm sure I read that somewhere) ... Scottish women traditionally did not change their name.

What will / did / would you do?

16 comments:

Cyd said...

For starters, if you always wanted to hyphenate and it still feels right GO FOR IT! Like you said, your name is yours, right?

I'm still on the fence. I thought I would take my maiden as a middle name and then take M's name. Now I'm leaning heavily toward not changing it all. My theory is that I would hate to change it and regret it whereas I can always change it later if I opt to, even though the process is more complicated after the fact.

melissa said...

I am also struggling with this decision. I think hyphenation is the best way to go. Making our maiden name our middle name doesn't really seem like it keeps the name. How often does a middle name come into play? I also agree with Cyd that waiting may be a good way to assess what to do later.

I have published several things under my maiden name which is often a reason to opt not to change. But this seems silly unless your a famous author or something. I worry that it may be "weird" to have a different last name when we have kids so that is one reason why I am thinking I want to change my last name to his.

Oh, what to do? This is definitely the hardest decision of the whole process.

Bridgette said...

I say - who cares what other bloggers say? Speaking of tradition, there are millions of people out there with two last names. In Mexico, they have two last names... Do what you want and don't look back.

I'm changing my middle name to my last name. It'll be in my name somewhere!

You'll figure it out - but don't be influenced by hyphen nay-sayers!

Tenille said...

Meh. If you want to hyphenate, hyphenate. Ultimately, it's your last name and you're the one who'll have to work it.

Me, I don't know yet. The man wants us to have the same last name but I want to keep my name, and he doesn't want to change his name, and I don't want to create a new name, and he doesn't want to use my traditional dene last name and I don't want to use his traditional last name, and it's freaking complicated. But we'll work something out.

Marie said...

I hyphenated and I love it. We agreed that our children (if we're lucky to have any) will also be called the hyphenated name. So I've gone from Marie K to Marie R-K. If that is what you always wanted then do it. I think it's the perfect balance between old and new. You keep your name and take his. But ultimately the decision should be the one you are happiest with and if that's hyphenated then you shouldn't let any silly anti-hyphenaters stop you (not sure that's a word but...) x

Jess said...

I've always known that I will hyphenate and that's what I planned to do when I was engaged. I've had my last name my entire life and I'm proud of my family and where I come from, I don't want to give that up. I always want to acknowledge that I'm starting a new life and a new family and I want my future husband to know that I am proud to be his wife and take his name as well.

THE ALTERNATIVE BRIDE said...

I agree. Who cares what other people say? It's totally up to you and you're future husband. I just came across this really funny thing on Wedding Channel. Jen & I always joke around about coming up with a blended name and they listed some of the options we came up with :)
You should check it out!
http://weddingchannel.com/thenamegame.html

THE ALTERNATIVE BRIDE said...

Wasta is an awesome name! Forget the hyphen! lol

Carly said...

I agree with all of the other posters. I think they all have wonderful advice. You should do what feels right for you - absolutely! Actually, thank you for mentioning the middle name option (for Wade). I jokingly brought that up last night to Lawrence. (I say "jokingly" because I wasn't sure how he'd take it). He agreed to consider it, because he doesn't have an official middle name and said he'd love to somehow be connected to my maiden name. I was pleasantly surprised! I'm not sure what he will do, but I am almost certain that I will hyphenate. I always imagined I would change my name completely to my husband's, but now that the decision is upon me, I feel like a complete name change doesn't feel like something I would be comfortable doing. Maybe in five or ten years I will feel differently, but today, a total name change is not in the cards. Okay, I'm done rambling. :)

Krista said...

Thanks for your feedback - a lot of you have opinions about what you're doing ... but you all seem to be telling me the same thing: do what feels right. I already knew that ... but I guess I needed to hear it from others!

Thanks!

Rachel said...

It was a tougher decision for me than I thought it would be... I just always thought I'd change my name because that's what you were "supposed" to do. And that is actually one thing that Chris was very traditional about. But I guess because of that, I kind of wanted to keep my name! Plus, like you said, it was MY name. But ultimately I decided to use my maiden name as my middle name (on my social security card and all!) and take his last name. But had I known all the stuff I'd have to change, I might have campaigned a little harder to keep mine.... ;-) Really, though, it meant a lot to him, and I had no real objections to it.
At work though, I have both names printed on my cards now so that there isn't so much confusion with my clients. Plus, my email (which had my last name in it) is staying the same, so it's kind of like I'm hyphenating my name!
I say to do whatever you want. If you want to hyphenate, go for it. It's your name, after all! I will say that I've heard that it's kind of annoying to sign a hyphenated name - this comes from a lady I work with who hyphenated hers. She says she didn't think of that before.

Rachel said...

I always thought I'd take M's name and that is certainly the easiest option. Plus we'd have the same name.

I could hyphenate but to do that in the UK (officially) you have to use a change of name deed, which I am not sure I am comfortable with.

So I could be Mrs B officially but in reality call myself Mrs G-B or Mrs B-G.

I don't know. I suspect in the end I will opt to do nothing and just take his name.

But go with whatever is comfortable for you!

Marie said...

Hey, in response to your comment on my blog, thought it easier to reply here. Traditionally the man's name goes at the end because legally that is the more important name. Or so my father tells me. So I put my name at the end instead as kind of two fingers to tradition. And yes I was Miss M K, married Mr R and am now Mrs R-K. Unless there's something which rules against it I would put your name last if it sounds better :)

Marie-Ève said...

I love to see everyone else's perspective on this... As you may (or may not) know in Quebec you actually can't legally change your name! So the decision has been taken for me... I know it might seem strange or revolutionary for some but I've always seen my mother, grand-mother, aunts, etc., married but with their own names, so for me it's just normality.

Last year my gay sister married her partner and for a second it crossed my mind that it would have been tricky somewhere else! How do you decide on the name thing for same-sex marriages?...

Good luck making up your mind...

Color Me Green said...

the thing i don't get about hyphenation is - if you also give your kids the hyphenated name, but then what do they do when they get married - double hyphenate?? it doesn't seem sustainable.

Krista said...

It's not sustainable or manageable if everyone is just adding to the names.

Some women hyphenate their name, but not the kids. My friend did that because she's a published PhD, so it's difficult to change one's name when married. She opted to hyphenate, but their son has the husband's last name only.

Other women do hyphenate the kids' names. Then when their kids get married, they have 3 choices: they have the choice of keeping their name (not hyphenating), changing their name entirely, or following the tradition formerly followed in many parts of the world (Portugal, Spain, Mexico, most of Central and South America). It is less follwed now with westernization everywhere, but it was the tradition for hundreds of years, maybe even over a thousand years. The tradition in these cultures is to hyphenate - both the man AND woman hyphenate. So John A.B. married Jane X.Y.. They become John and Jane A.X. or X.A. or B.Y. or Y.B. (depending on the country's tradition - it varies). Often, there's a "de" in the woman's name only, or in both names. This is where names like Ramirez Vazquez or Tavarez de Alba come from.

Hope that helps explain it!