Communication breakdown over names! Any advice?

My dear husband and I usually communicate fairly well, but when it comes to naming our first, we are short circuiting! I realized this early on and haven’t broached the subject for a while, but I’m now over 38 weeks and all my name books have to be returned to the library today - lol!

My approach was to research and make a broad list of my likes. I showed him the list and in under five seconds crossed out almost all of my pics and made a not-interested-face at the rest. I was hurt by this and it made me feel frustrated. My hormones have been rampant and when I try to explain how I want him to keep an open mind, I want to cry. Not the best negotiation technique in my repotoire.

I asked him to make some suggestions of names that he likes. He gave me his maternal grandfather’s name. His mother is also named after her father. We all also have his maternal grandfather’s last name (another story). I [name]LOVE[/name] this grandfather but don’t want my child to have both of his names. Otherwise, he has provided one girl’s name and one boy’s name, both of which are very popular and a bit bland (top 10 and top 25 respectively). He has latched onto these like a life preserver.

Last night, I asked if we could talk about it again. Instead of discussion or even considering my names he tries to strike a deal. He said, “If it’s a girl, you can have S-, if it’s a boy, I get B-”. I’m so annoyed that he hasn’t even LOOKED at my favourites, let alone considered them. Also, by providing only one choice for me, I am forced to either accept or reject with no room for movement or compromise. I also said that he isn’t being fair, I’m the one carrying the baby, and that I already have his last name (to which he responded that that was my choice - LOL!). I asked him to be ready to talk about it soon but with an open mind. FYI, I have narrowed my favs to 3 girl names and 5 boy names and have made up a spreadsheet with all of their relevant stats and info (I KNOW - I’m a nerd. But if I can’t talk about it, I needed to get the info down SOMEWHERE so that I don’t explode!)

Any ideas on how to handle this? I need help fast, because I think I just lost my mucus plug an hour and half ago. :slight_smile:


I can understand your frustration! Someone here on another thread suggested a bracket idea, which I thought was clever. I think it was orangesunrise, but I’m not completely sure. I’ll try to remember what it was but hopefully she’ll see this thread and fill in anything I missed. I thought it may appeal to you like your spreadsheet of stats does :slight_smile:

Each of you write down a certain number of names you like, say 6, and exchange lists. You then take his list and write down names that are similar but better in your opinion for each of his picks. He does the same with your list. Then you make a bracket and discuss each name pair on its own, the pros and cons, etc. The winner moves to the next round. Each of you does have to have an open mind, but it’s less intimidating than scouring over endless lists and books since it’s direct competition between two names at a time.

Good luck!

It would be fair if you got more say on one name and then he got more say on the other name. For example you would get to pick the first name and he could pick the middle name. Then when you have another baby, you could switch. I don’t suggest this method for every couple, but I think it’s a good idea for your scenario. And I love Gwensmom’s idea so much - the bracket idea. But I’m not sure your husband would want to do all that.
This is how my husband and I handled naming our kids - he helped me choose the first name of our son. Then I picked my son’s middle name completely on my own. My husband chose our daugher’s name, and I chose to let him do that because it made me happy that he cared so much about it. I chose her middle name, and we both loved it. We still love all their names.
Of course it was really hard at times because I would come up with a list of names that I loved, and he would veto all of them! I felt really bad. But I really wanted him to love our kids’ names so I just kept trying to figure out names that he loved and that I loved, too.
One way you can be sure to include a name you really love in your child’s name is to have two middle names.

That sounds very frustrating – and all too familiar! There is advice on dealing with name disagreements on nameberry – – but I’m afraid much of it requires that you start the discussion much earlier. What would happen if you just cross the names off HIS list as absolutely as he crossed those off your list? It seems like you do a lot of research and build a strong case for your picks, and then he rejects them without discussion, but then he offers a few basic picks and you feel like you have to take them seriously.

I love the brackets idea but I agree, doesn’t seem like he’s going to go for this one. His idea that one of you get absolute control depending on gender seems like one that might work for you EXCEPT it feels centered on his choosing the boys’ name i.e. his grandfather’s name, which feels to be at the heart of this whole issue.

Maybe that should be your starting point? Finding out from him whether and why it’s so important to him to name a son after his grandfather? Maybe then you can come up with some alternatives that would honor his grandfather in a way that satisfies him but that you also like.

And if you have a girl, seems like he’s fine with you making the 100 percent choice. You might like him to get involved and be part of the decision, but maybe in this instance you should take control and run with it!

I just wanted to sympathize–my husband has been TERRIBLE about discussing names with me this pregnancy, so I’ve had to tiptoe around the subject that I most want to analyze steadily in detail, the subject that obsesses me most (I feel lucky for folks at nameberry). Also to say maybe when your baby is born he will come round to wanting to discuss names for him/her, so keep your list in your head. [name]Don[/name]'t be in any hurry to choose a name, if you can help it. Worst case scenario he/she goes down as “baby x” (or whatever they put down) until you file the proper paperwork.

Good luck, and keep us posted! I’m 36 weeks along myself and not sure what we will call ours yet, either.

I do sympathise with you! I think your husband is fairly representative of a lot of men and you are fairly representative of a lot of women. My husband and I had lots of naming battles on all three occasions! We are from different countries/ cultures and have v different taste. Like you, I made lots of suggestions, wrote lists, looked at books, websites, etc. He refused to discuss until I was at least 6 months and then came up with only 1 or 2 names on each occasion (for our second DD it was a re-hash of the names from DD1)! We found out the sex each time to make things easier and eventually, we managed to compromise. With our third child, we only decided on the name when she was 2 weeks old! I have to admit that he certainly did compromise although it was all fairly last minute which made me quite stressed!
Good luck- I am sure you will come to a happy compromise :slight_smile:

I’m in the same boat too, except that my husband doesn’t have strong feelings in favor of any name. He just vetoes my list, and then one day will say he’s “ok” with a certain name, only to say its out a few days later. But he never brings up the subject - I leave notes for him with the list, and then I have to ask him about it. He’ll look at the note and ponder a bit, but not say anything. Then I e-mail him a list with instructions: please veto the names you don’t like. no response. A week later, I ask, and get a limited response - like saying no to one name, probably no to another, and ignoring the rest. I’m four weeks out, so I think we may be making a final decision after the baby comes which is okay - I’m tired of this myself, and if its a girl, we do have a name for her! He was much easier on that one.

I like [name]Pam[/name]'s suggestion - why is he insisting on his grandfather’s names despite the fact that he’s clearly already been honored by other family members (if I read your post right)??? Were you aware of this tradition before you got pregnant? He might have assumed that you would just go along with it if you never voiced an opinion on it before.

At any rate, I hope he realizes that you both need to feel good about what you name your children and is willing to discuss it with you. Good luck!

Grrrrr Men!

I would be a drama queen by now. I would be insisting on my choice if it is a girl and he can choose the second name if it is a boy.

Sorry, I am no help at all but you have my sympathy vote.

Was thinking about this again. Definitely stick to your guns and don’t be ‘bullied’ into accepting his one choice. He has to discuss it so that you are both as happy as possible with the choice. I do think the woman should have the final say though- after all she has to carry the baby and push it out :slight_smile:

Perhaps suggest outrageous names in jest. That way, your actual choices won’t seem so bad after all! Not sure if it will work, but it could be fun anyway.

Thank you all for your great replies. It feels better to know that I’m not the only who has experienced this and I will take all advice in hand. Hubby and I had a talk the other night about the process of choosing names… I said I wanted it to be a fun thing that we can do together and both be happy with the results. I said I didn’t want it to be a battle (then I cried a little - haha). He explained that he is so focused on the jobs around the house that he wants to complete before baby and winter arrives that he can’t think about it. He gave me a hug and I think we will broach it again on the weekend.

For fun, we’re going to get some family tree info from our parents going back to great grandparents and maybe we can find something we both like from our ancestors’ names. If not, that’s okay. It’s an easy way for him to be more involved in the process.

I’ll let you know what we decide! Thanks again for all the help. Hormones are duly soothed!


That sounds like a great idea. I’m glad you two had a nice conversation. It seems like he is just as worried about things as you are and maybe he just handles it differently. I’ll think everything will work out just splendid! :slight_smile:

Good [name]Luck[/name]!

I saw that someone suggested bracket idea from orangesunrise. That was on one of my threads. Here is a carbon copy of what she suggested, they’re 2 different ideas:
"You write down your six favorites (if you have more than six and can’t pick tops, the first six that come to mind and make it on the page) and he does the same. Exchange lists. Next to each name write another that seems similar to you, but you like better. Put the combined list (your six, his six, your six alternative suggestions, and his six alternative suggestions) on the fridge. Discuss the pros and cons of each one.

Make a tournament bracket. Write your suggestions and his (limit it to maybe 20 each) on slips of paper, draw them from a hat, and write them on a tournament bracket. The matches will be random that way and each set of two will “battle” so one can be crossed off. In the end you’ll be down to two. They can be combined to form first and middle, both can go to the hospital to let baby decide, you could let the older kids vote, etc."

You can also read it on my thread @

Good luck!

Woohoo! We have a short list! FYI - surname is Sparks.

[name]Benjamin[/name] (His, and I like)
[name]Frederick[/name] (Mine)
[name]Oliver[/name] (Mine)
[name]Leonard[/name] (His, and probably my least favourite of the four)

[name]Sophie[/name] (Mine)
[name]Annika[/name] (Mine)

Middle names we may take from family names or choose from this list! What do you think?

H1N1 shot tomorrow and then birth this baby ASAP!!! Thanks again for all of the great ideas and just for listening - it really made a difference!!


I like [name]Oliver[/name] & [name]Annika[/name]/[name]Anika[/name] :slight_smile:

[name]Glad[/name] you got a list you must be so relieved :slight_smile:

Good luck with labor, hope you get to hold your baby soon :slight_smile:

Maybe you could try to convince of your choices via nicknames?
There was a woman I know who named her child [name]Penelope[/name], a name I don’t like because of how common it is in books and movies. But I forgave her as soon as she nicknamed the child [name]Nellie[/name]. Now I totally support [name]Penelope[/name]. Never underestimate the power of nicknames.

I think the list and bracket idea is an innovative solution, but if you find none of that works you can always bend him to your will in the middle of labour. Nothing’s scarier than a woman in labour!

I hope you resolve your issues and find a beautiful name you both like.

Whoops! Didn’t read the last few! Looks like you’re doing fine on your own!

Personally, I have love love loved [name]Annika[/name] for so long I feel like personally writing that on the birth certificate!

Of the boy’s names… i kind of like [name]Leonard[/name], but only because it can be changed to [name]Leo[/name]. Um… other than that… probably [name]Oliver[/name].

Good luck with your labour, I hope all goes well for you!

[name]Benjamin[/name] (His, and I like) - I think [name]Benjamin[/name] Sparks is just the cutest name, it has something special. This is definitely my favourite!
[name]Frederick[/name] (Mine) - I like the name, but the ick with the k in Sparks clashes a little for me.
[name]Oliver[/name] (Mine) - Very handsome, a close second to [name]Benjamin[/name] for me (and a little bit more unusual)
[name]Leonard[/name] (His, and probably my least favourite of the four) - I like [name]Leo[/name], but [name]Leonard[/name] still sounds a bit old man for me. On the other hand, I think [name]Leo[/name] Sparks is lovely!

[name]Sophie[/name] (Mine) - [name]Sophie[/name] Sparks. Too cute! She sounds like the heroine of a children’s book!
[name]Annika[/name] (Mine) - I like the name [name]Annika[/name] a lot, although again there’s the k-k thing. I think it flows better than [name]Frederick[/name] though, because of the a after the k. I actually like this just as much as [name]Sophie[/name] with your surname - sorry!

Good luck, and let us know what you decide!

[name]Oliver[/name] Sparks sounds fab! I love it.

Well done on getting your short list. All the best for the big day.