Naming Conundrum (warning: long)

Hello all!

I am pregnant with identical twin boys, and they will be our first children. We finalized names for them a few weeks ago. It was a difficult task, since my husband’s family has a tradition of giving two middle names.

The names that we have decided on are [name_m]Miles[/name_m] [name_m]Henry[/name_m] [name_m]Graham[/name_m] and [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m] [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] [name_m]Pierce[/name_m]. Following tradition, the first middle names are honoring family, and the second middles are just names that we liked that fit with the other names.

[name_m]Miles[/name_m] was an easy choice for us, and we had it picked even before we knew that they were boys. It turned out that we had both always loved the name, so we decided to stick with it. [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m] was a bit more difficult, since I was at first convinced that it didn’t match well enough with [name_m]Miles[/name_m]. We got past that, and we now love it just as much as [name_m]Miles[/name_m].

Skipping ahead to the second middle names, the choices were a bit harder but we managed. With the honor names that we had chosen, we knew that one syllable names sounded best. Eventually it got to the point where I loved [name_m]Graham[/name_m] and wasn’t budging and he loved [name_m]Pierce[/name_m] and wasn’t budging. It worked out perfectly, since we had two children to name!

Okay, back to the honor names, which is what is giving us trouble. [name_m]Henry[/name_m] was easy. It is my father-in-law’s first name and it fits wonderfully with [name_m]Miles[/name_m]. [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] is, conveniently, the name of two people who are close to us: my husband’s brother and my sister’s husband. We thought it was a neat way to honor two very special people at once, and we both love the name.

Here’s the problem: we recently found out that my sister and her husband ([name_m]Calvin[/name_m]) are going through a divorce. Pretty soon all of our ties with him will be gone. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though we are very close, we won’t see him much because there won’t be a reason to. And [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] will not be family anymore.

We have fallen in love with [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] as a middle name and still love that it honors my husband’s brother. But would it cause hurt feelings since I have a HUGE family that are all suddenly anti-[name_m]Calvin[/name_m]? None of them really know my husband’s brother, so I am worried it might be awkward. I still would love to use [name_m]Calvin[/name_m], though. Please help!

Thanks in advance!

I wouldn’t worry about using [name_m]Calvin[/name_m]. If it was your husband’s third cousin twice removed, or if your ONLY link to “[name_m]Calvin[/name_m]” was through your brother-in-law, it might be weird…but [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] is your children’s biological uncle! And I think the explanation that “it’s my husband’s brother” should be sufficient. I definitely wouldn’t reconsider the name based on that, especially if you love it.

[name_m]Miles[/name_m] and [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m] sound perfect together, by the way! And congrats on the twins :slight_smile:

I agree with ^^. The names you picked are absolutely perfect; I wouldn’t try to change it now.

I’m sorry your family is going through this. Divorce truly sucks. I think that as far as the name goes, it could very well be left as it. As PP said, it might be a different story if your only tie to [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] were your soon-to-be former [name_m]BIL[/name_m], but you do have another [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] in the picture. If people are upset about it, be firm and let them know that it was to honor your husband’s brother and was picked out long before your sister’s situation occurred. I do think that it may be a good idea to talk to your sister privately, so she isn’t blindsided by the revelation of her nephew bearing her ex-husband’s name. [name_u]Truly[/name_u], I believe that her feelings would be the only family member’s feelings that should be taken into consideration (other than your husband, of course). [name_m]Even[/name_m] if she isn’t warm to the idea, it is at least a middle name that won’t be used too often.

I agree with the others, you should still use [name_m]Calvin[/name_m]! The connection of your husband’s brother trumps the connection of your sister’s (ex)husband. [name_m]Don[/name_m]‘t worry about what your side of the family will think. The story of the boys’ names is something you’ll tell once and a quick explanation that [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] is your husband’s brother’s name should clear things up. After that it will be tucked away in the middle spot and no one will think of it day to day. [name_m]Even[/name_m] your sister won’t have to refer to her nephew as her ex’s name, I’m sure she’ll just call him [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m] and it will be a non-issue.

Congratulations on finding perfect names for your little boys! Relax and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

I love the names and remember voting on the poll for these names lol
I wouldnt change it now. Its not like sister hubby was the only calvin you knew. Its your childs uncle as well! keep it.
I actually ran into something sort of similar with my first son. Middle name [name_u]Michael[/name_u] was chosen to honor my husbands best friend growing up. Its why we chose that spelling specifically. at the time he happened to have a friend named mike. as in life sometimes friendships dont last and new friend mike is no longer a friend of ours. But our son wasnt named after him (although he liked to tell people he was) son was named after someone else. So in your case like in ours, if anyone asks (not that they will.) You can politely explain [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] is from your husbands brother. (Not sisters ex) And voila, no issue. I love the names and wouldnt change em if i was you.

I disagree. I would absolutely not use [name_m]Calvin[/name_m]. I would be really upset if my siblings used an ex husbands name

Other than giving your sister a heads up so she isn’t blindsided I would say stick with [name_m]Calvin[/name_m], it may be different if you were using it as a first name but as a middle your reasons for sticking with it are perfectly fine. Obviously if your sister really objects then may be time to reconsider it but otherwise your name choices are stunning!

As an outsider, I’m tempted to say go for it- as I remember how much time and effort you put into naming these two. However the name [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] will always bring up memories for your sister; painful and heart breaking memories. On top of that, depending on the situation, your other family members may really be disgusted with your sister’s husband and be appalled when you tell them you chose the name (even though you have a super legitimate reason to use it). I guess I would say feel out the situation. If it were me, I would most likely find another name; unless the whole family (of course your sister most importantly) was on good terms with her ex-husband. Are there any other honor names you could use? Grandfathers? Your husband’s name? I’m so sorry you might have to give up the name you love :frowning: but it may be what’s best to show support for your family. Let us know if we can help you make some decisions!

Thanks for all of the suggestions. We are really in a pickle because both options seem equally necessary. My husband is extremely close with his brother, and it seemed obvious that we use him as an honor name. We were leaning towards still using [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] but are now starting to change our minds because we are learning the ugly details about the divorce. I just don’t know. [name_m]How[/name_m] would you feel if your sister used the name of an ex? [name_m]How[/name_m] would you feel if your very close brother used a different name even though yours was the obvious choice?

I’m still in support of [name_m]Calvin[/name_m]. As previous posters have said, talk with your sister, explain the reason for sticking with the name (assuming she doesn’t already know your husband’s brother), and hope she’ll give you her blessing. And again, the fact that [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] is in the middle spot is another positive: your sister will think of her nephew as [name_m]Gabriel[/name_m]/[name_m]Gabe[/name_m].

I’m also in support of changing the name if you’re truly uncomfortable with it on your sister’s behalf, but I would make sure that she feels strongly about it before going back down the rabbit hole of name-hunting. It’s natural to want only positive associations with your child’s name, but I can’t help thinking that all the beautiful details of your husband’s lifelong relationship with his brother have to outweigh the ugly details of your sister’s (relatively) temporary relationship with her ex.

Good luck.

I agree with everyone who says you should keep [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] as long as you’re able to talk to your sister about it. That’s a tough situation for her, and the details of the divorce might matter somewhat, but it would be unfair to your husband and his brother if their relationship can’t ever be honored just because of an unfortunate coincidence. The timing is probably the hardest thing — if the divorce happened after your boys are born, I would hope everyone in your family would just cope with it and not suggest you change your son’s name after the fact.

Ahh that is sticky. My gut is go for it, but like others have said, tell your sister first. Personally, I would be fine, if it’s in the middle spot (would not want it as a first name)

I think you will be fine to keep [name_m]Calvin[/name_m] as a middle name. Your husband’s brother is a stronger family connection than an in-law anyway. The name was already in the family biologically, regardless of people married into the family. It is a lovely name, and works so well. I think it is definitely worth keeping. And if he queries when he is older, you are able to say that he was named after his uncle - 100% still fact.

THIS. Exactly, this.

Does Calvin on your brothers side have a middle name? My only concern is you falling out with your sister over this. Sisters are forever.

I dated a guy named [name_m]Alan[/name_m], and the breakup was QUITE messy. We didn’t date for long, but he really made a mess of things. Shortly thereafter, my brother gave his son the middle name of [name_m]Allen[/name_m]. It wasn’t a divorce, but it was still a little bit like, “Why, out of all the names…?” When I mentioned it, we all had a laugh…

I would take your sister aside, and just say, “DH’s brother is named [name_m]Calvin[/name_m], and we love the name. We’ve had it picked out for awhile, how would you feel if we used it?” Keep an open mind, and have a chat about it. I do think it would be worth pointing out that you won’t be calling him [name_m]Calvin[/name_m]. At the same time, I would keep exploring in case you stumble upon a less controversial name that you love more…

Congratulations on your pregnancy! [name_f]May[/name_f] your children be happy and lucky in their lives!!

I disagree with the majority, I wouldn’t use the name. And of course, I would feel betrayed if my sister used the name of a possible ex-husband of mine. Yes, definitely, you can explain that it honours your husband’s brother but it will hurt the members of your family. I know that since he’s your child, the choice is yours (and your husband’s) but this doesn’t mean that people in your family will be okay with that, definitely not forever but now it feels like it’s the wrong moment to use [name_m]Calvin[/name_m]. You could use it for a future child if you plan having more than two.
It’s kind of difficult deciding who will be the person you’ll hurt, your sister or your husband’s brother. Personally I wouldn’t care if my sister wanted to use my name on one of her children but it was connected with something bad for her husband and they chose another name. I think that your husband’s brother will understand but maybe for your sister is more difficult. Definitely the person you honor is different but it is still weird.
However, if it’s the only name you can imagine your child wearing, definitely go for it and let nobody change your mind. There is a long time till November and maybe bad associations fade away

All the best for you and your family!