Lifestyle, One Pot Living

Did You Change Your Last Name?

By La Shell Reid Hoilett

Did you change your last name?

The answer to that is yes, I did. I didn’t replace mine with my husband’s. I simply added his to mine.

Now this has and always will be a mess of a debate among us women. Getting married changes a lot of things, and adjusting our last names, is one of them.

In wedding and marriage forums and generally all around, there is a constant battle about which way is the better or more progressive way. Many countries leave no room for changing a last name due to marriage. In others it’s the norm and somewhat expected.

But as we move further into the 21st century, fewer women are changing their last names. Some are even creating their own!

Reasons for and against changing our last names spread wildly. Some of us believe that sharing a last name with out husband makes us more of a family unit, it is tradition, it bonds us together and we all have a unanimous name to carry on with generations. Some of us think that that’s all bullshit, it’s based on sexism, patriarchy, gender inequality and oppression. The rest of us just say look, I already have so much established in my name; I have my business, my publications, my reputation, my career etc and I just don’t care to upset that by changing my name. Of course there are other reasons but if we dig into them all, we’d be here forever.

This discussion always turns nasty because many times we just can’t respect each others’ decisions.

I personally don’t like the patriarchal tradition in which changing your last name as a newly married woman is set. I am not property, you certainly did not birth me and quite frankly, I like my name just fine thank you! In addition to that, it’s just too much hassle to change a name. So as someone purporting to be a feminist, why did I adjust mine?

Well first things first, because I can. It’s my name and I can do whatever I want with it (within reason of course). I have that choice. And that’s the good thing about feminism. That is it’s core purpose. To give us women the choice to make decisions that can and indefinitely will change our lives. I am fortunate to live in a time where I have that option, and whether I do or not, no one really cares. It doesn’t affect anything or anyone, but me.

Secondly, should we have a family some day, I want our children to have both our names and be reminiscent of both our lineages. Yeah I didn’t need to change my name for that to happen, but guess what? I want to share a name with my new family. And there is nothing wrong with that. My husband could not care less about what I did with my last name though, and so he had no dog in this fight.

And last but not least, I love my new last name. I love both our families immensely and exactly how I wore my family name with pride, I am now wearing his too. I mean what can be wrong with that?

This is a non-issue for me. I don’t ever give this a second thought when I meet a married person, nor do I place judgement. Whatever the choice, be it for convenience or holding on to identity and heritage, it’s very personal and depends on each of us as individuals.

 

What are your thoughts though? Did you/will you change your last name? I’d love to hear!

Thanks for stopping by!

Photo by Pexels

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  Comments: 32

32 responses to “Did You Change Your Last Name?”

  1. Sam says:

    Preach it! I hyphenated our names as well, largely because we planned to do that with our children and I wanted to have the same last name as them. Agree 100% with everything you said!

  2. I did change my last name because I did not like my maiden name. I respect everyone’s decision though. Like you said, it’s your name, do whatever you want

  3. Irene says:

    I only ‘assumed’ my husbands last name when we married. Legally I am still my maiden name….but can use his all I want on all my documents. It was easy- just had to show my wedding certificate that I was legally entitled to do so. My husband was not happy that I chose to do this- he wanted me to legally change it- but I was unwilling to have to go through the process of getting a new birth certificate like some of my friends did. I like being both. If something ever happened with us- it is easy for me to switch back. We have a province here in Canada where you are not allowed to change or assume your husbands last name at all! I guess it saves on that argument- but it is nice to have a choice!

    • Yes I heard of this province. Very interesting! Here in Trinidad & Tobago, you don’t change your name on your birth certificate, but you can on your National ID, Passport and Drivers’ Permit. I don’t think I’d want to change my name on my birth certificate either. That’s a bit too much. I love the option you took.

  4. Bekah says:

    I changed my last name, kept my first and middle. For me it was because I had so many problems with my family, especially my Father. So I wanted to leave that all behind and make a somewhat fresh start with my new family and cut ties with the old.

  5. Great post! Agree that it should only be an issue for the individuals directly involved, not the whole world. I’m in the camp of taking my husband’s last name but kept my first and middle. Got teased a lot on my last name growing up so wanted some fresh memories!

    Elizabeth | http://nattygal.com

  6. I wasn’t so attached to my maiden name that I felt like it was my idenity. I knew that marriage would never strip my name, heritage or history from me, so I just wasn’t that worried about it. Although when my first husband passed away, I did maintain my widowed name several years later when I remarried. I only kept my widowed name with my new married name because of my children. If it had not been for them I would have dropped that name as well.

  7. Helen says:

    My maiden name was really hard to spell/read/pronounce so I took my husband’s last name and made my maiden name my middle name. I love having the same name as the man I love. I wanted to be a family so it was never really an issue for me. I just use all three names now to avoid confusion.

  8. Yes! I got married 21 years ago and did not change my last name. My family (weird huh?) got a little tizzy about it, but my husband was totally with me. I thought, “I’m proud of my name, it’s mine, and why would I want to give it up?” Some people I meet still think it’s odd (which I think is odd!!) that I didn’t change it 🙂

  9. Jenn says:

    I’m getting married in October and have also put a lot of thought into this. I am in my 30s so I have already established myself with my name in my profession but I also like the idea of having one name united myself with my new family I am creating with my fiance–so two last names it is!

  10. I did change my name, and our anniversary will be 20 years next year. I don’t mind having done that but I know with certainty that my daughter will not. Either she will keep her name or add her partner’s name. The name-changing notion is evolving and if you really think about it, we should just keep the names we are born with.

  11. I changed my last name to my husband’s and made my last name part of my middle name. It took me almost 3 years to finally do it though I was in no rush and I don’t believe changing last names makes us any more or less of husband and wife. I think it’s a personal choice and I hate when others judge or put so much pressure onto the female to change their names or judge a man if he chooses to change his name.

  12. I didn’t change mine. By the time we were married I was already established in my career and I thought it would be too confusing for people.

    xoxo Christie
    http://icanstyleu.com/blog/

  13. Jaime says:

    I didn’t take my husband’s name (and we didn’t hyphenate/double-barrel because our last names sound RIDICULOUS together), but I really don’t care/judge anyone whether they decide to keep their name, take their husband’s name, or (in the case of my dear friend who passed away from cancer two years ago) have their husband take their names. I couldn’t imagine NOT having my last name, so decided to keep mine, especially as together with my first name, it’s quite unique. My husband’s last name is more common, and I liked my identity of who I was, who I am, and who I feel I always will be.

    xo Jaime
    Angloyankophile

  14. Jamie says:

    After 7 years marriage I finally officially changed my last name to include both, no hyphen because I think it’s ugly 😉

  15. Jamie says:

    After 7 years marriage I finally officially changed my last name to include both, no hyphen

  16. Sarah says:

    I didn’t change my name. Our last names are both far to long to hyphenate so that was out of question. My last name is unusual and I love the connection it gives me to my family – people hear my last name and immediately say “Hey are you related to …” and the answer is always yes! (Due to a mix up at the border my ancestors assumed their place of birth instead of their actual surname so basically everybody with my last name can trace their origins to this one man).

  17. Lynn Woods says:

    I changed my name. For me it wasn’t a big deal, but its a complete pain in the you know what to change everything!

  18. I am not married, or engaged; though I have been dating my boyfriend for almost 5 years since college and we both agree that’s the road we are going down eventually.
    I honestly hadn’t given much serious thought to adopting his last name, keeping my own or hyphenating. Now with all the points and perspectives I am reading, I am really not sure what I will want to do when the time comes!
    Thanks for the interesting read, you’ve given me something to think about!

  19. Thanks for the insight. I have family members who did and did not change their names for many different reason. I have two cousins who kept their names (adding on their spouses) because they were their Father’s only two daughters and did not want his name to end with him. I on the other hand took on my husband’s name (dropping my own) because my Mother had given me her name – not my Father’s – and I felt I wanted to somehow start fresh with the family my husband and I would have together. As you said, I feel it is such a privilege to have the right and ability to make this kind of decision for our own reasons.

  20. Monika says:

    When I was young I always imagined I would keep my name, cause I was proud of it. Then I fell in love and I wanted to take my man’s name simply because I wanted us to be somewhat ‘united’ by that name. I loved him so much I just wanted to carry his name.. I sometimes think that the trend of adding the husband’s name to your one is a pain cause the names just become ridiculously long. But if I was an established name then I absolutely understand it, as well as not changing your one.

  21. Shell says:

    When I married my husband I was thrilled to take his name… now that we are divorced I took back my maiden name and I love it. I would never change my name again…

  22. sarah says:

    We have been married for 7 years and I did not legally change my last name. The paperwork and fees to do so is a pain and, as an American who is half the year abroad, makes it double the headache. It wasn’t important to us and I don’t think it has any effect on a marriage itself or how we are perceived as a family. Our 2 children, of course, carry his name. Interesting discussion, though. I enjoyed reading the responses.

    Sarah
    http://www.hitcontinue.eu

  23. I got married June 30th of this year and I have not changed my last name yet. I am going to I just haven’t done it yet. THere is so much that goes into especially when you have a Blog or online business. I have been married before and go by my maiden name on line. I have thought about just adding his last name to my maiden name.

  24. katie says:

    i’ve never really thought about this before, just assumed i’d take my fellas name because that was the norm. but you’re totally right to question it – i reckon i’ll go for both of our names now. i’d miss my maiden name a LOT if i lost it, it’s just such a big part of me i wouldn’t want to lose it totally!

    katie. xx lacoconoire.com

  25. ebony phillips says:

    Yessssss Amen!!!!! My father who has no boy children, always complained about him being the end of an era since his grand kids will most likely take another man’s name. My father was an only child and i remember feel so badly about having to take a man’s name when i got married later on in life until i got older and realized that there were options lol..

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