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Changing Your Name After Marriage

Things We Do For Love: Will You Change Your Last Name?

The only way I will change my name for marriage is if the trade is up. I'm talking a better surname than my current one: three syllables and a regal ring required. Maybe something like Chenowith, Fitzgerald, Vanderbilt? But even now, as I consider those names, none sound right because none are mine.

Besides the sentimental value of a name you've had your whole life and the logistics of making a new name to stick, a study found a new problem with taking your husband's name. Name-changing women are not only perceived as less intelligent, competent, and ambitious, but they are also likely to earn less.

The study acknowledges its shortcomings — a small sample of students at a Dutch university — so it's impossible to say if this is true across the board and around the world. Yet I've known several women who go by their husband's name outside the office, but their maiden name inside it. So I wouldn't say the findings are entirely off base.

Will you — or have you — said I do to a new you?

Source: Flickr User mezzoblue

Join The Conversation
jadenirvana jadenirvana 6 years
I would never change my name. Even the phrase "taking your husband's last name" creeps me out big-time. When my husband and I got married, we both took a new last name "Makana" which means gift in Hawaiian. We wanted to signify that marriage was about changing together into a new phase of life, not me clonishly turning into him while he stays the same. I hope in ten years, this stupid patriarchal tradition is gone for good. It sets up completely wrong expectations for the rest of the marriage.
AlyCarolina AlyCarolina 7 years
I have not really thought about it I think i would because I live in a spanish country so i would still have mine just his last name would be first.
alinealive alinealive 7 years
I didn't change my name. I'm not even that well established professionally, but I have published in my maiden name. I told my husband I would change my name if he changed his as well - neither of us did. There's also the issue of both of us having divorced parents: our mothers' names in our documents aren't our moms' names anymore...
weffie weffie 7 years
A friend of mine got married last summer and she didn't want to take his name because she didn't like it... It turned out he didn't really like it either, so they chose a new last name and both changed theirs. I thought that was pretty cool :)
JLBT JLBT 7 years
I kept my last name and took his..without a hyphen between, just a space. It confuses people a lot, but I don't care. I write my name with both last names or just his sometimes, that's why I didn't hyphenate. I kind of wish I would have just kept my maiden name. Getting my driver's license and social security info,etc. was such a pain. I will just have our children take his last name probably. It's a common Asian name and at least they will be half Asian!
Lyv Lyv 7 years
Waaait. You're telling me in the US women conventionally REPLACE their last names with their husband names instead of adding them up ? My mind was just blown. That being said... I wouldn't mind taking his last name if he'll take mine too! ;)
juicebox07 juicebox07 7 years
#51 - I feel the same way. When I get married, I will take my husband's last name because it is my way of moving forward with my life, committing to him, and starting a family with him. Plus, I'm not as close with my family as I once was, so I have no problem giving up my last name and getting a new family to go along with it.
mmgt2012 mmgt2012 7 years
I am not sure yet, but I'm leaning towards keeping mine. The reason is that my father is an only child, and has two daugthers, of which I am the youngest. Therefore, I am the last of my family with my surname, and it is quite rare where I come from, so I would like to continue it. My boyfriend is one of three boys, so his surname is likely to continue in his family whether I take it or not. He's wonderful in every way and totally fine with it, and he even said that if we have children, he's alright with them taking my name if that's what I want. I might hyphenate, but to be honest neither mine nor his are English-sounding surnames, so I think that might over-complicate things in terms of spelling and pronunciation considering that we live in the UK (and people never pronounce either of our surnames correctly). We joked that we could both change our surname to make it even and simpler - something like Smith or Jones. Not sure our families would love that...!
myfaircady myfaircady 7 years
I used to think I'd keep mine, then I decided I would hyphenate. I like the sound of it with my ex. His last name sounded weird to me, but hyphenated I loved it. It kinda sounded professional, which I loved even more. But now, I have no idea. I guess it's something to decide the next time I get super serious with a guy. I love that Fitzgerald was an example. I used to always talk to my friends about how when I got married, I'd change my last name... but to Fitzgerald or Belmont. I thought they sounded fancy. I just hoped my future husband would be game.
lwill2389 lwill2389 7 years
I don't know why you wouldn't change your last name. I think thats weird.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
To ImLizzy: I feel your pain! I'm also a W. When teachers hand back exams I always want my first but I have to wait forever. =( I will defiantly take his last name, I'll go from W to H! H's always look so good monogrammed. haha.
WTCelesta WTCelesta 7 years
Interesting point about the correlation between income and willingness to change the name. The thing is, name changing requires so many documents to be changed that if you are a businesswoman, it is tough to find a convenient time to do all of it. That might be one of the reasons. In my case, I was always proud of my name which is very unique, but I also loved my husband's name and did not mind to take it. But the day before the wedding my dad suddenly popped up asking for a favor - to keep his name! I was massively surprised, but it did not matter much anyway, because we were abroad and all the necessary documents change was out of question. I kept my maiden name. One reason I am pro taking a husband's name is, once you get children, it sorta feels wrong that they have "his" name and you have "yours". It is as if the kids belong to the father more. Feels more natural when the whole family bears the same name, as far as I am concerned.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
I've never had a thought of taking another person's last name. I love my name and am not willing to give it up but I will make a compromise with my fiance to hyphenate it. He doesn't want the hyphen and wants to keep it in his last name. :shrug: just because we won't have the same last doesn't mean we're not a unit or in love.
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
Haha for the record I was being sarcastic. :P I don't think it's okay for someone to imply that my priorities are screwed up simply because I don't like my name. No I'm not too fond of mine and no I'm not going to apologize for it, Mr. 41. I love my dad's side of the family and I'm proud of that name, but since I moved out of the homeland everyone here in the states just has an incredibly hard time pronouncing and/or spelling it, and I'm tired of the awkward pauses. I'm still going to keep it in my name though. Instead of KadBunny X, I'll be KadBunny X Y.
Girl-Jen Girl-Jen 7 years
I changed my last name when I married my ex-husband. We had a child together, who has our shared last name. Because of that, I will never change my name again. I want to keep my daughter's last name.
bengalspice bengalspice 7 years
As much as I love that my husband's last name means "king of the world", I kinda don't want to go through the trouble of changing my name. Plus, my last name is nice and short and easy for people to spell.
lawchick lawchick 7 years
Also- my family never cared, and his family has gotten used to it (well, except one aunt who refers to me by both last names now, LOL). I still get reactions from people I work with. It just blows their minds! I like to tell them celebrities do it and no one thinks twice about that :)
lawchick lawchick 7 years
I did not change my name. My husband didn't care if I changed it or not, and I wouldn't be compatible with a man who "required" it. I totally understand why most women change their name and everyone should do what makes them happy! For me, I don't feel like any less of a "unit" than if we had the same last name. Our children will probably have my last name as their middle name and his as their last name. I went to school with a girl named like that, and sometimes she used both her middle and last names (basically as two last names, just not hyphenated), sometimes she just used the last name. It didn't cause her or her family any grief, and everyone knew who her mom was even though they had different last names.
Pistil Pistil 7 years
I hope no one thought I was calling them shallow for deciding on a name. I was just suggesting that Anonymous #41 defeated his own point.
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