OPEN THREAD: Is keeping my ex-husband's last name disrespectful to my fiance?

Updated Jan 13 2016
Mrs and Mr WHAT!??? Photo by Whitney Lee.
I married young and divorced my first husband over five years ago. After the divorce I retained his name out of convenience and also because after five years, it felt strange reverting back to my birth name.

Now, I am getting ready to re-marry.

The problem I am encountering is that most of our relatives assume that I will change my last name to my current fiance's last name. I feel greatly conflicted. I would prefer to retain the name that I have had for the last decade, even though it is my ex-husband's. I feel like I would be changing my name to make others happy. My fiance supports my decision.

How do I respond to others who feel that retaining my current last name is disrespectful to my fiance?

-Conflicted Bride

Have any of you faced this conundrum? If so, how did you handle it?

  1. If you are each okay with it, then do what feels right for you. Names can be deeply personal topics and I know that I am struggling with the idea of taking a new last name after I've had mine for 35 years. And I know that whatever I chose, I will hear from someone about THEIR opinion on my decision. However, I am trying to keep in mind that it's THEIR opinion. Not mine. And I am not living my life for them. If you are still uncertain about your choice, think about this: in 5 years if you decide you DO want to take his name after all…there's no law that says you can't.

  2. Eek, that's tough.
    Well, first off, I think you've successfully pointed out the one person who SHOULD get a say in the matter, and that's your intended. If he's okay with it, and supports you, then you're a long way towards making a decision that is respectful to you both.
    I can see both sides of the coin, though, and the only suggestion I have towards changing your last name might be a conflation of yours and his – that way you get something completely new, he likes it, you like it, and the oppressing people who are demanding that you change your name may feel some releif.
    If you are totally against changing your name, don't. You already have the blessing that you need from your partner, and it's not up to anyone else but you. But if you do decide to change it, it might be fun to play around with combinations that suit you and your partner. Good luck!

  3. Do what you want and make no apologies. In a year or two, no one will think twice about it.
    You're not the first person to make this decision and you're definitely not the last.

  4. If your fiance is totally cool with it then i think you could just tell the truth when people ask; its easier, it feels right, hubby-to-be is cool with it, and go ef yourself if ya dont like it hahaha. (Ok maybe not the last part hehe)

  5. I'm going through a similiar situation. I was married young (21) and kept my ex husbands last name when we were divorced 5 years ago. Now I'm two months away from getting married again. I decided ti change my last name to my new husbands name. Not because everyone wants me to, but because I want to. I don't want to look at my last name and think of my first husband, I want to think of my fiancé and our future together.

    I say, do what you feel is right. For me, it's changing my last name, but for you it could be keeping your last name. Good luck in your decision!

    • I definitley agree with this. Im not into caring what other people think but i would be concerned that your fiance really would like you to take his name, not stay with your ex husbands name.. He could be keeping quiet to make you happy.

  6. I have to go with yes it is. To me, it would appear as if you are still "holding on" to that relationship for more reasons that you are admitting- even if that's not the case.
    I sort of feel like keeping the ex's last name just because its easy gives the message that you don't want to put too much effort into the new marriage (again, that's the message even if its not true)
    If it's an identity issue your facing then I would suggest you use the new marriage as a chance to go back to your maiden name. It's YOURS. Its not a name you ever have to feel like you have to give up or not give up.

    Of course in this case I think the best and possible least offensive option for all would be when you change your name to hyphenate them all. So you are madien-former-spouse. For me this is like the best of both sides. you get to honor the places you have been and the names that got you there without failing to acknowledge the places you will go with your new husband and a new name.

    • I don't think this comment takes into account the career implications of changing one's name.

      While the bride doesn't bring it up in her question, many people's careers are based on name recognition (politicians, real estate agents, etc). If she's had her ex's name for most of her career, changing to her maiden name could hurt her business.

  7. Usually, I tend to be open minded about nearly everything. However, I honestly do think its disrespectful, even if he is okay with it. I definitely understand not reverting back to your birth name. But I don't think you should be keeping your EX's name now that your getting remarried. Between the constant reminder of a failed relationship and someone you are no longer with, and having to explain it to future children and your whole family with no real reason besides it being easy that hasn't been changed. I just don't feel its right.

  8. I would just say, "I'm keeping my name as is," and if anyone says, "but that's your ex's name!" smile (or not…) and reply, "after a decade of having it, I can assure you it is MY name." The End.

    • I second this, and that is a great way to respond too. Your past is part of your identity.

      I suppose a related issue would be if you were healthy friends with your ex. Would getting married mean you have to give up that relationship? Not at all! Would it be anyone's business but your own? Nope! Same deal with the name.

    • If I'd had time this week to write a response to this question, this is what I would have written. 🙂

    • This, absolutely. If your fiance is okay with it, then what anyone else thinks is irrelevant.

    • This a million times. I am about to change my last name to MY NEW NAME. Not his name. MY NAME. It belongs to me now. It's who I am choosing to be. And after watching my mom change hers 3 times… I am only doing this once. Plus, if you have kids, wanting to keep your last name the same as theirs can be a reason as well.

      Also, if in the future you decide you would prefer new partners, you can change it. Or hell, he can change his to yours. There is no time limit (in Canada) for assuming your partners name.

    • Very well said! I'd also suggest that you consider A) if you have/plan to have children, B) what last name you'd like them to have, and C) if it's important for you to have the same last name as these potential children. I certainly don't think it's a necessity, but it's important to some people.

  9. You know, that is a fascinating question. I would offer you one piece of advice: do you think you are gonna stay married to this guy forever? Because, if so, at some point you'll have his last name longer than your ex-husbands. Also, I would ask that if you plan to have kids, will they take your current husband's last name or your EX-husband's last name?
    Names are such an important part of our identities, and I understand how much yours is wrapped up in this last name you have had for a decade, but if you do choose to have children, wouldn't you rather they have the last name of their father, and not a hyphenated name of not even your birth name?
    That said, it is really no one else's business, but this may require more thought than "I don't wanna change my last name", after all, it has only been yours for a decade. Even if you married young you still had your birth name longer and if you stay married for 50 years do you really want to look back at your 50th wedding anniversary and have carried your ex-husband's last name all these years?

    • "Do you think you are gonna stay married to this guy forever?"

      What kind of question is that? Who gets married with the notion that they won't last? Yes, in reality, many marriages end in divorce, but I don't think anyone goes into a marriage planning to fail.

      • I can assure you, some people do. They have this weird sort of skewed world view. I am acquainted with a man who, at this moment, is searching for, "The next ex-Mrs. So and So."

      • I don't think she was implying that it wouldn't last. I think she was just trying to make the point that BECAUSE it's going to last (longer than a decade) that her new name would become just as solidly a part of her identity as her current name is now (and most likely more so). Let's please not take comments out of context.
        Don't get me wrong. If FH supports the decision, I don't really feel there's a lot more to be said about it.

    • Of course, your children don't need to take any particular man's last name. We gave our children my last name (the one I've had and kept since birth). Other friends have chosen a last name for their two children that were completely different from their own, just as if they were choosing first names. Head on over to off-beat mama to check out lots of naming options if that's important to you.

  10. I, too, had the same dilemma when I remarried. I got married the first time at 21, so I had been "Jane Smith" for my entire adult life. I also have three children, and we always identified ourselves as "The Smiths." When I remarried at age 36, I was conflicted about changing my name. My new husband didn't care either way, so the decision was mine with no pressure.

    I considered hyphenating but decided that was too pretentious for me and would cause more problems than it solved. I considered keeping "Smith" as my name because I was known professionally, and since I had been a Smith for 15 years, it just felt comfortable. I also thought about taking my new husband's name, but a small part of me felt like that would be abandoning my kids in a sense, as well as dismissing the previous 15 years of my life.

    After much thought, I ended up taking my new husband's last name. I had reflected on my current name Smith, and I decided that at the root of it, I got that name from my ex-husband, and since that chapter of my life was far behind me, I decided to close the book on Smith and forge ahead with my new husband as a "Jones." It is a decision that I have never regretted! The only thing that was a little bumpy was having my kids adjust to me being called Jane Jones instead of Jane Smith, but we all worked through it nicely. They even tease me about it now 🙂

    You have to do whatever is right for you, and it's great that your fiance supports you. Don't pay any attention to the naysayers. If someone confronts you about it or makes a rude remark, simply respond, "Wow, I didn't realize that my personal decisions were any of your business."

    • It took me almost a year to change my name to my first husband's (did it right before tax day!), and I've had that name for over 15 years + I have an 11 year old daughter with the same last name.

      I got married again this past May (after being together for 7 years to the day 😉 so I intend this one to stick, thanks!) and …. yeah, well, haven't gotten around to changing my name yet. When I do, it will be hyphenated (Smith-Jones). 99% because I don't want my daughter to feel left out (although she did ask if she could change her name…she would like her new FIRST name to be Danielle, please LOL) / .5% because it's easier for schools, work, banks, everything / .5% because Smith is what I have built my professional reputation as, and don't want to lose that.

    • My best friend's mother went through the same dilema when she mairied her second husband. She ended up changing her name. My best friend ended up changinng his last name when he was 18 to his step-father's last name because his step-father is who he thinks of as his dad.

  11. I think that if others are suggesting that you're "disrespecting your fiance" by keeping the name of your choice, you can tell them that you think it's disrespectful to meddle, and that it's disrespectful for them to assume that you need to change your identity once you get married.
    I get that it's your ex's name, which makes it stodgy, but really, it's enough of a pain in the ass to change your name once, so if you don't have to do it again, and neither of you feels strongly about it, then don't do it. I have a feeling that most of the people that take issue with it would be just as confused as if it were your maiden name.

    • "…would be just as confused as if it were your maiden name."

      I disagree. I'm keeping my maiden name because I want to "keep my identity", but the fact is she changed her name once already. I understand that after awhile you identify with a name and that it's difficult to change something you've gotten used to, but her maiden name was her given name, and her taken name is her ex's. I'm all for new names, changing names, old names, whatever you want, and when it comes down to it it's really whatever you're comfortable with. But the fact is, that name is attached to an old, failed, relationship. You changed your name once already for your ex, why not change it again for your husband now? I say revert to your maiden name, or change to your new husband's name. Or make up a new name.

      What's good for you won't be good for everyone. I wouldn't say my opinion unsolicited, but it is how I feel.

      That being said, I also feel in the end you make the decision that's right for you, not based off the feelings of others.

      • On the other hand, her identity for the past ten years has been one that has included this surname.

        Also, on "you changed your name once…" Perhaps her reasons were different then. Perhaps she's come to a point in her life where she doesn't want her identity to be defined by who she is with. Perhaps she just hated her maiden name. Lots of possibilities.

  12. There's nothing to say that you can't change your name later if you decide now to keep your current name and later a few years down the line feel like changing to your husband's last name. A standard name change is a relatively inexpensive and uncomplicated process, at least in my state.

    I kept my birth/maiden name for various reasons when I got married and with the thought in mind that I might change my mind (take my husband's name) when we had kids. So I'm keeping that options open but feel more comfortable in keeping my name as is for now.

    I know of someone whose mother kept her ex-husband's last name so she and her son would have the same name, rather than changing both her and her son's name back to her original maiden last name. And he was a pretty crappy ex-husband but the name had become part of her and her son's personal identity and they were able to separate the name from the ex-husband and keep it as their own.

    • I have a friend who uses her first husband's name (she's been divorced twice) because it's her daughter's surname, and she couldn't change her daughter's name anyway because said first husband is AWOL.

  13. Reading this reminded me that my high school principal did just that – kept her ex-husband's name. I *think* she might have used her 2nd husband's name outside of work, but professionally she stuck with the name she'd held all her professional life. I remember finding out about this, thinking 'ha, that's unusual', and then forgetting about it for almost 20 years til today! My impression was that her decision to do things this way made zero difference to the world at large, so that might be reassuring if you choose to go down that path of keeping your ex's name.

  14. Does your soon-to-be-husband thinks it's disrespectful? To me, that is the real question. Who gives a shit what other people think? But if he is offended or hurt, then it's worth a conversation with him and some thought from you about whether you want to take that into consideration.
    The idea of changing my name is a strange one for me personally – for better or worse, it is entwined with my identity. I think you need to sort out your feelings and your husband's and make a decision based on that.

  15. Do you object to using your fiance's name socially? That is, if someone calls you Mrs. Newhubby, will that bother you? Because you don't have to legally change your name for that. A friend didn't do the paperwork to change her name till a few years into marriage (as a gift to her husband, who found later that it DID bother him) and continued to use her previous name professionally. Maybe you need a hybrid along those lines.

  16. This is one of the reasons I don't like the idea of ladies taking their husbands' names at all – the guy is gone and this has been the name you used for a decade, and yet, it's not "yours" in the eyes of many, maybe even your intended.

    It still "belongs" to the long-gone him. It's "his" name. Ugh.

    I personally won't give you any shit for what you do with your own name, no matter what, and I try to be a bully only in this way: nobody else is allowed to give women shit for what they do with their names, either, not in my company. Because this kind of situation blows and is mostly a burden only ladies get to bear (oh joy), and it sucks, and you don't deserve whatever trouble it brings you.

    If it were me, I'd consider going back to your maiden name, but only because if you're older than ten, that name has a lot of weight and is definitely, 100% yours, and you've a right to it. People tell girls their names mean nothing, but it isn't true. Anyway: do what you want, or if that's too hard (which is fine!), do only what you can bear to deal with.

    • Sometimes I even get a little frustrated with my maiden name because I know it's my dad's last name and not my mom's (who changed her name when she got married to his name). I like my mom's maiden name but she didn't keep it so I sometimes feel the loss of her name sometimes – that I don't get to be connected to her name history… Names are touchy business.

  17. Ask them if they think it's disrespectful of your new husband not to take your name when you get married. (I'm assuming he's not because the question didn't state otherwise.)

    In my experience, pointing out the vastly different expectations for changing names based on gender is a decent way to get people to shut the hell up about a decision that it yours, and no one else's. Because that's what it comes down to: it's YOUR name. You will be the one answering to it, signing it, having it on all your official documents, etc. You get to decide whether to keep it, change it, whatever. The only disrespect I see here is coming from people second-guessing your choices.

  18. You can't please everyone, so why not make sure you're pleasing the person you've committed your life to (re: your fiancé)? If he supports your decision, that's the most important part.

    My mom has been married three times and had four kids with four different men. She got her MD after marrying my dad, and changing that stuff is a b itch, so after they split she retained her married name (especially as it's also my last name). Whether the marriage worked out or not, it was—and remains—a part of who she is.

  19. I am all for keeping your last name. I feel its some what disrespectful for people to think you need to have a husbands last name in the first place, abandoning yours like it was only temporary until you married. But if you really don't want to take your future husbands last name for whatever reason I think you should go back to your roots..

  20. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel? Have you ever hassled your future husband for keeping gifts or momentos from a past girlfriend? You were willing to change your name once, why not do it again?

    If it were me, I'd change my last name. Keeping an ex-husband's name is like sleeping on his sheets- kinda awkward for the new guy.

    • Meh, I wouldn't say so after 10 years. Initially, yeah, that could be weird and awkward (although still totally up to the couple and no one else), but once it has been such a part of your identity without the guy who gave it to you (or you took it from?), then I feel like it's no longer a symbol of the old couple, and merely just a symbol of you. Kind of hard to say.

      Personally, if my ex-husband's name was aweosme like "Stormbear" or something, I would totally keep it no matter what.

  21. It's none of their business….but since you brought it up 😉 I'm a fan of keeping your own name, but…

    If you don't have children that share your current name….I have to ask: Would you want the person you're going to marry to keep his ex's last name?

    I think its a tough pill to ask him to swallow. It's one thing for you to have to explain/defend it, but for him to have to explain it to people must be awkward at best and more likely hurt just a bit.

  22. If you and your fiance' have decided that you're okay with keeping the old name, then by all means, keep it! This is a decision between you and your new husband. What other people think is irrelevant.

    Best of Luck!

  23. I'd say keep your maiden name or take the new husband's name. Get rid of the ex's name. If you didn't have any children together, there's no need to keep it.

    My fiance's ex-wife kept his last name as her own after their divorce…and then gave it to her two children. (Neither of whom were fathered by my fiance.) It's confusing and – frankly – kind of irritating.

  24. I think the question here was "How do I politely yet firmly respond to criticism of my choice" and not "Do I change my name"… her decision is made and the important people are fine with it. So… let's help with the question!

    My suggestion would be to say something like "It's been my name for most of my adult life and I don't wish to change it." If you don't engage in the debate, most people will drop it. A few months after the wedding, it probably won't be an issue that comes up.

  25. Remember that there is a big difference between responding to a question about whether or not you are changing your name and engaging in an argument about it or feeling as though you have to defend your decision. If someone asks if you are changing your name, you can simply reply that you are not. If they go on to bring up the fact that it is your exes last name and the matter of whether or not it is disrespectful to your fiance (which, unless it is your mother or your best friend, I personally think is rude), I would just say that neither you or your fiance had thought of it as a matter of respect, and leave it at that. To even bring that up is to suggest that you would purposefully disrespect your husband-to-be or disregard his opinion, and that is silliness!

    If you feel like it, you can also point out the fact that it is YOUR last name, too, not just your exes. 🙂

  26. You have many options and every right to choose the one that works for you.
    I didn't want to change my name when I married, but added his name after having our first son. I simply added hsuband's surname so now instead of J.L.X. my name is J.L.X.Z. and X. is treated as a second middle name.
    – and I use four intials
    it's great that your fiance' supports your choice!

  27. I wouldn't even bother explaining it too much to people who aren't very close to you (your besties and immediate family, if you are close to them, might deserve more of an explanation due to closeness). Others don't need the whole story – it just gives them more points on which to criticize you. I'd have a stock answer for those people along the lines of "I have decided to keep my current name and Fiance supports me in this." If someone persists, you can say "I'm sorry but this is a private decision, it has been made, and I trust we can all be adults and respect each others' choices." After that, don't respond.

  28. My mom and dad divorced when I was in the 3rd grade. At the time she wanted to keep the name she shared with her children so she didn't switch back to her maiden name. About 5 years ago she married my step father. Everyone assumed she'd take his name and ditch hers(since it was from a previous marriage). She decided to keep her name the way it was. Not because she shared it with her kids, we are all grown up and have since all married. She just felt like after 20 years with the name it was to weird to change it. My step father, who is uber *UBER* conservative, totally understands and to this day defends her choice to anyone who questions why she kept her ex's last name.

  29. If you both are okay with it, then do what you want 🙂
    Just like any other couple who don't share a common last name deciding what your kids last name is (that is if you have children) would be the only thing to consider.

  30. I think what really bothers those of us that independent free thinkers is the idea that anyone would assume who you are and what you should or should not do.

    Ultimately you have to decide what is right for you.

    If we were speaking in person the biggest question I would want to ask is, "How much of hanging onto the ex's name is convenience and how much is the irritation of other people jumping to conclusions?"

  31. My mom wanted to do this when she was considering remarrying. Her logic was that she wanted to continue to share the same name as her children. Her potential future husband was tremendously offended, but she stuck to her guns. However, she never did end up marrying that man or any other, and remarkably, she ended up going back to her maiden name when my sister and I were adults. Ha ha.
    I say use whatever name you want. Mad props to the couple who picks a new last name entirely!

  32. Went through the same conundrum recently. At first I was opposed to changing it because of the sheer mass of companies and documents that would have to be updated–laziness (or, I prefer, not rocking the boat) is a totally viable option in these cases. In the end, though, I decided that I will change names when we marry because I have less ties to that name, emotionally, or even my maiden name, these days.

    And I have a hard time seeing choosing not to change your name disrespectful. If he doesn't mind, and you don't want to, then everyone else just needs to deal with it and in silence–it's none of their business!

  33. I would imagine your husband-to-be has only known you with your current surname, not with your maiden name – to him, that's who you are – Jane Smith. It's the name everyone has known you by for basically your entire adult life. As for changing your name to appease someone else, that's what this board is all about – it's YOUR life, do it YOUR way. I don't advocate going out of your way to be ugly or hurtful, but this is a personal decision, and those who love you should understand and respect that. If something has been explained to them respectfully and they disrespectfully have an issue with your decision, then distance yourself from the constant negativity and live your life the way it makes YOU happy.


  34. I don't know if this helps but my mom who has been married twice (my dad first then my step dad) recently got divorced again and decided to drop the step dad's last name and hyphenate her maiden name and our last name which is also our dad's/her first ex's last name. Some people might think it's weird or that she still has some kind of thing for my dad. But for her since her 2nd husband's out of the picture now she wants to have the same name as us kids. She said it makes her feel closer to the 3 people that are most important to her. She doesn't really care what anyone else thinks and she's never been happier.
    So my advice is do what you feel comfortable with and if you feel differently later you can always change it.

  35. My mom's been married 4 times and she just switches it every time she gets married. I've changed my name before too and honestly, it isn't that bad.

  36. I ran into this myself. I was married for 8 years when I finally got up the nerve to give my ex the boot. I had originally planned to keep his last name after the divorce, for simplicity in dealings with our daughter's school. However, in the time between the initial separation and the preparations for filing the final paperwork, my (then) boyfriend became much more serious and we decided we might have a long-term future together.

    When we started talking about possibly marrying (he was also in the final steps of a divorce that started before we met, but had stalled out due to neither of them really caring enough to finalize the papers.), I realized that when I remarried, I didn't want to walk down the aisle as someone's ex-wife, I wanted to be my father's daughter.

    I know the distinction seems odd, but to me (and him) it became important enough that I changed the divorce papers to reflect my name change back to my maiden name.

    In the end, it was the right choice for me and for us, as I ended up filing another name-change document a little more than a year later, to reflect my new married name.

  37. I got married young too. I had 2 kids with my ex-husband and kept his name when we divorced, partly because I wanted the same last name as my children, and partly because reverting to my maiden name seemed silly. I couldn't ever go back to the way my life was before marriage, so changing my name again didn't make sense to me.
    I live with my boyfriend now, and when we get married I'll take his name happily. For me, it's like going on to a new phase in life, and I'm not particularly attached to my current name. In fact, when my boyfriend introduces me to people, he usually just uses my first name, which I'm fine with.

    I'd say the most important thing is to make sure your finance really truly is cool with you keeping your ex's name, and not just saying it to make you happy. I know my boyfriend would NOT be pleased if I wanted to keep my current name.

  38. I think that all that matters is what you two think. I kept my married name after my divorce but will be changing it when I marry. People assumed I would go back to my maiden name after the divorce but they have gotten over it. Other people will get over you not changing yours. If you want the option to later you can but don't feel pressured, it is not disrespectful.

  39. Hi,

    I would just like to say that I come from a patronymic (and more and more matronymic) society where you take your fathers first name and tag daughter or son on the end of it to get your last name. So for my family it goes something like this:

    Father – A. Jonsson, Mother – V. Petursdottir, Brother – D. Asgeirsson, Me – N. Asgeirsdottir.

    As you can see none of us have the SAME last name. When we get married you do not take your husbands last name as your own since you already have a name. It is YOUR name. This question doesn't even arise when two people get married. I do know of some people that do change their last name but then it is a change from a patronymic to a matronymic last name.

    I do live in Canada now and have been in a relationship with a Canadian for the past 6.5 years. He knows that if we ever get married I will not be taking his family name as my own. He understands that and has even explained that to any family member that doesn't understand. I am fully in the right to change my name but I identify with my name as it is. However after a long good conversation we have both decided if we ever do have children then we will go with the family name convention but I will still be me.

    My point here is that your name is YOURS, no matter where it came from. If you identify with a certain name you have every right to keep it or change it to something else you identify with. You are creating a small family of your own, so if it is fine with your fiancé for you to keep your name then who else can argue?

    I am sorry for rambling on but I have had the last name conversations so many times… LOL.

  40. I say do whatever you are comfortable with and as long as your fiance is fine with it then go for it. Personally, I wouldn't keep my ex-husband's last name but to each his own. Nothing says you can't change your last name again if you change your mind anyways.

    Also, Note to editor: The title of this post needs one less "is". lol

    • DERP! Title is is fixed. 😉

      Also, in the future, try clicking the EDITZ button at the end of the post to submit typo corrections!

  41. I would be more concerned about future kids. I personally took my husband's name b/c he wanted me to become part of his family. If I had been divorced and kept his name I wouldn't want to expl to my kids why I have my ex's last name. Kids ask a LOT of questions! I would take kids into account more so than anyone's opinions…

  42. I'd say you're mostly in the clear because your future husband doesn't mind. But ask yourself: is this an attachment to the name, or more of a "I reeaalllly don't feel like going through the process of changing my name on all my accounts/social security/driver's license, etc because it's a pain in the butt" (which it IS :)). If you honestly feel more comfortable with the name, then keep it – but if it's just a matter of not wanting to go through the boring tasks of changing it, I'd say cowgirl up and do it. Either way, make sure it's YOUR choice, and no one elses!

  43. If the tables were turned and my fiance wanted to keep his ex's last name (funny thought), I would be very conflicted. First, I would wonder why he wanted to keep it. If he were established in his career, or if the name was really awesome, I'd accept it without a question. If I had a weird name or his given name was weird, I'd also accept that. If he had kids with his previous wife and we weren't planning on having kids of our own, I would totally understand.

    Beyond that, I think I would feel insecure. Why would he want to keep something that belonged to an ex? It's one thing to keep a t-shirt, but a last name would be the equivelant of keeping wedding photos around the house or having a framed love letter above our bed. I think I would feel that he had something special with her that he's not going to have with me.

    If he gave me the excuse that he's had the name for 10 years and doesn't want to change it, I'd question his intentions. Didn't he have his given name for nearly twice as long? Wouldn't he have my name for the rest of his life?

    Depending on the relationship with the ex, I may or may not feel jealous. However, jealousy would not be my biggest concern.

    My biggest concern would be whether he felt our relationship was built to last. I'd be afraid that his line of thinking might be "Ugh, changing my name was such a hassle the first time, I didn't even change it when we got divorced. To hell if I'm going to change it again in chance we are divorced in a few years"

    Name changing is an extra commitment, as well. Not to say women who choose not to change their names aren't as committed, it's just an extra tie you make with a person (like having a joint bank account). If my guy made that extra committment with somebody else and wouldn't with me, I'd feel very insecure.

    My parents wouldn't like it, either. They'd feel just as insecure, if not more so because they don't know him as well. They may feel like he doesn't want to be a part of our family.

    Of course, if my guy talked to me about all this stuff in length and assured me that my insecurities were unfounded, I'd be okay. But he couldn't take my word for it, because I'd likely hide the fact that I was a little upset for awhile for the sake of keeping the peace. He'd also have to talk to my parents with me so they know he really does want to be a part of the family. They'd be unsure of it for awhile, but if he wanted to keep his name for the right reasons, they'd eventually accept it.

    Sorry for the long winded response, that's how I process issues like this! To sum up: Ask yourself why you want to keep your ex's name, and be honest with yourself. Make sure it's not because there are residual feelings or you are afraid to make the same level of commitment to your fiance. If you don't want to change it or a "good" reason, make sure your fiance is really okay with it. Suggest counseling if need be. If he really is okay (and he should be if your reasons are pure)then you need to find ways of letting his family know you mean no disrespect (if that is a concern for you and your future spouse.)

  44. A name is a label, an identifier. It's not who we are or what we stand for. Do what is easiest. If you're on board and your fiance is on board, who else matters? We all have bigger hurdles in our lives. Tell those nay-sayers that it's easier for you and your future hubbs is fine with it, so why should anything else matter?

  45. I think this is a good example of how women aren't respected when it comes to last names. The view is that your new name is never yours really. You just borrow it to show you're married. To me that's not an appealing idea. And it's why I would never change my last name. Has he thought about taking your maiden name? There is a reason why last names only seem to be an issue for women – our patriarchal society puts a woman's worth in terms of her name and status in whether she's married or not.

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