I'm getting married in four months. My fiancé and I have been in a bit of a tussle over the past year regarding what to do with my last name. I have no desire to change it for a number of reasons like the fact that his name always gets mispronounced in a derogatory fashion, and my first and last names go so well together. I'm a scientist with multiple publications under my last name, and I really want to maintain my own identity, both personally and professionally. I finally decided I would be the bigger person in this situation and compromise. I offered to hyphenate my name, but my fiancé has made it very clear that this still isn't good enough.
We recently received an email from our band leader with a list of questions related to the music at the wedding, and among them, we were asked how we wanted to be introduced when walking into the reception. I just put down our first names and when he saw this, he threw a fit. He said we need to be introduced as The "HisLastNames." He has picked multiple fights over this lately and I really don't know what to do. I'm concerned that if we are introduced as Mr & Mrs HisLastName, it will set precedence for everyone to call me Mrs. HisLastName for the rest of my life. Am I being too stubborn here and should I just give in and agree to change my name altogether? I don't want to start the marriage off on the wrong foot, but it really upsets me that he refuses to take my point of view into consideration. It makes me feel like I am his personal property and when I bring this up to him, he just gets angry. Am I the one being out of line here, or is there some way to help him understand my side so we can reach an agreement?
— Maiden Name Nancy
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Dear Maiden Name Nancy,
Changing your name is a very personal decision and while it's traditional to do so, it's not by any means mandatory. You're fiancé sounds very old-fashioned and while I'm sure it's his ideal to have your name be Mrs. HisLastName, people keep their maiden names all the time for reasons just like yours, work being the most common one. Have you considered changing your name personally but not professionally? Or what about changing your middle name to your maiden name?
I don't think you're being out of line for standing your ground, but I do think you should both take a step back and look at each other's points of view. Since you both feel so strongly, one of you is going to have to compromise here. Planning a wedding is hard enough as it is, so if you can't come to a middle ground, perhaps you should put off this decision until after the wedding — you never know if one of you could have a change of heart. And if you decide to be introduced as Mr. and Mrs. HisLastName on your wedding night that doesnt mean you've "caved" per se, it might just mean your excited to be the new wife of your new husband. I hope I was of some help, and good luck.