Surnames and marriage

While I’m no where near marriage myself a recent wedding in my home town led to a conversation with my family on should women change their names when they get married (I only know one person who kept their lastname)

Currently I have no plans of changing my last name yes it might be [name_m]Smith[/name_m] but it’s my name, I would consider hyphenation but only if my name works at the start. I’m studying teaching and I like having a name all students can pronounce as well as one everyone can spell. Plus my mum regrets changing her name especially since her father passed away, so that plays a part to.
I also want to give my children hyphenated names which shouldn’t be a big ask since [name_m]Smith[/name_m] isn’t overly long.
My little sister and her best friend are both planning on changing, my sister since [name_m]Smith[/name_m] is too common and her friend because her last name is difficult to spell and pronounce.

So what has everyone else done or is planning to do? And how did you come to that decision?

I’ve thought about this sometimes and I don’t think I’d change my name. My problem with the tradition of a woman taking a man’s name isn’t so much that it happens as that they’re automatically expected to (where I live anyway). So my short answer is no, but I don’t know what would be done about any kids.

If the response to me wanting to keep my name was disapproving, the relationship would end because we’d obviously not see eye to eye on related issues.

All of this is hypothetical though as I doubt I’ll get married.

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I’m only 17, so marriage (if it happens) is a long way off for me, and I guess until I meet ‘the guy’ I can’t be 100% sure of what I’ll do.

However, my stance right now, is I would keep my last name, AND I would want to pass it on to any children (either on its own, or as part of a double barrelled surname). This especially applies if a future husband has a common surname, as mine is uncommon. I think it would take a really special surname to get me to change it, as not only is it uncommon, it’s also a damn fine name. I’ve had people tell me, it’s a surname they’d love to have, so I’m not the only one who loves it.

I’m also quite young, though as a name lover I’ve thought about this!
…And I’m definitely not keeping my surname. Mostly because it’s very Greek and hard to pronounce, and I’m moving to [name_f]Scotland[/name_f] next summer where it would inconvenience me. Plus I “dislike” my heritage, as in I’ve wanted to move away since I was a little girl, when caring about heritage would be the only reason to keep my surname.
On the other hand, if/when I marry it’s going to be to a woman, so the whole part about sexist expectations isn’t a factor in my case!

I’ve kept my surname when I got married, but I’ve thought about it changing it. I kept my own name mainly because it means a lot to me: a connection to my family (this matters to me partly because a lot of my family, including my dad, lives abroad), my heritage etc. Where I grew up, in Iceland, most people feel differently about it then people in the rest of Europe, the US etc, because they don’t have actual surnames, only patronyms. My paternal grandfather was Swedish though, so we did have a “real” surname.
My name isn’t particularly hard to pronounce for most (European) people, so that’s not an issue. [name_m]Even[/name_m] if it was, I wouldn’t mind.

I’m not married, and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever get married, but I will definitely keep my maiden name if it happens. My mom kept her maiden name and it’s never been an issue for her or anyone else. Essentially, she kept it because she had just gotten her PhD (my dad does not have a PhD), and she already had a few publications with her last name. She didn’t want to start all over with recognition in her field.

My parents also say it’s a plus when they get telemarketer calls asking for “Mrs. X” or “Mr. Z”, they can honestly say, “There is no one at this address with that name.”

The most I’ll do is hyphenate but I doubt I’ll do that. As for my kids, my sisters and I have my dad’s surname but my cousins (my aunt also kept her maiden name) have a hyphenated surname, so I don’t know which direction I’ll go. My last name is a short, common English word so it wouldn’t be too over the top to hyphenate it. I think it would depend on what it’s hyphenated with.

So those are my thoughts. I obviously think that people are free to do whatever they want to their names, whether it’s keep their maiden name or take their spouse’s or make up a new one. I don’t like the assumption that women should just be expected to do it though. I agree with @midwinter in that if my future spouse has an issue with it, that will put a rift in the relationship because we probably wouldn’t agree on fundamental things. My mom has a colleague whose husband refused to marry her if she didn’t change her last name, and I’ve seen stories of men who are insistent their wives take their last name even when it sounds ridiculous (rhymes with their first name, sounds like a compound word, etc), and if these were the case for me, I’d drop him in a hot second.

I have always assumed I’ll change mine, even though it’s one syllable and very hyphenable. Now that marriage is actually a real possibility I’ve thought about it some more, and I’m still going to change it, not because it’s default, but my bf’s name simply sounds better. I still think hyphenating the lastnames is a good solution, it’s just not for us because the combination would be really weird.

btw omg [name_u]Abby[/name_u] your signature xD

I don’t see myself getting married even in the future at this point, but I’ve considered a few options (SO dependent, of course). I have a double barrelled surname already (let’s say name 1 is A and name 2 is M) which complicates things. Name A is my dad’s and grandad’s name; my dad just wanted it in somewhere, not necessarily in the surname. M is my family surname.

My current top option, is keep the first name (A) as a second middle and double barrel name M, which partner and kids would share. It’s guaranteed to not work stylewise at all, because my surname is very tied to a certain culture as is my entire name. But I’d share a name with SO and any kids would have my surname no matter what. That’s really important to me, because my whole name reflects my dad’s side of the family. My mum’s always been fine with it (and likes my name) but since my parents broke up when I was born, in name it doesn’t look like I’m related to my mum. I do like my name and being connected to my paternal side, but personally I’d want more of a place in my kids’ names. Plus I’m planning on getting a PhD in the not so far future, and I’d like my own surname on it.

Another option I considered is keeping name A as a second middle and changing surname M. The kids would get SO’s name. This works better if SO has a longer surname and avoids style clashes, plus SO could have a surname that works a lot better with kids’ names. The opportunity to have a [name_m]Caspian[/name_m] [name_u]Winter[/name_u] or [name_f]Pandora[/name_f] Nightingale would be difficult to resist. Name M is super common worldwide and name A is already an important family name, so there’s still a lot of meaning, but if things don’t work out, I wouldn’t share a surname with my kids, which I don’t like.

Most likely scenario at the moment will be I stay single and my kids (they’ll happen no matter what) will get name M as a surname. There’s a chance I’ll change name A to second middle by the time kids happen, so they won’t have to deal with two middles and a double barrelled surname haha.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get married, but if I do then I would just take his. Hyphenated names can be long, and I already like longer names for maybe-future children, so that could be a bit much. It just seems easier and less messy all the way around, to me. I’m fine with my own surname, but not particularly attached. So why not? Unless his last name is Grugledorpesche or something, in which case, it may depend on just how much I love him.

I’m a bit old fashioned about some things; changing surnames after marriage is one of them. Maybe I’d feel differently if I liked my own surname more (it’s very trendy as a first name at the moment, which might be part of the reason why I’m not a huge fan), but were my boyfriend and I to get married, I’d take his. For me it would be a symbol of our love and devotion to one another.

I’m half considering putting in my grandma’s maiden name as a second middle, in place of my mother’s surname, as a tribute to her while going through the legal name change - I’d still like something in there as a reminder of my own family, and if I were to pick any surname to have as my own, it’d be that one. I’ve always felt a connection with my grandma, and feel it’d be a nice tribute to her side, plus it’s a beautiful and unusual surname.

Not getting married anytime soon, but I doubt I’ll change my surname. From where I’m from, women do not take their husbands name, and the kids get two: first the dad’s first last name, and second their mom’s first last name. For this reason, my last name is already pretty long so hyphenating it with my husbands name would be too much of a hassle. It will probably be an issue where I live now (the US), because everyone expects women to take their husband’s name all the time, but I do not mind atm. If anything I’d drop my second last name and hyphenate my husband’s with my first last name. I also have this thing where my last name is pretty indicative of my ethnicity, and I would feel weird just erasing that. As for kids, I’m thinking either just their dad’s or their dad’s and my first last name. But we’ll see, that’s a long way down the road.

I think it’s completely fine if women want to take their husband’s surname, but it would be better if it didn’t have to be the man’s every time. Like maybe it could depend on what last name they like best, or something. Also, hate when people shame other women for not changing it.

I’m going to change mine.
I’ve never had good relations with my father’s family, so I don’t feel super connected to it. That and my fiancé’s last name is a bit easier. Hyphenated names have become kind of popular lately, but since we both have long last names, that’s out of question. I guess I would opt against changing my name if the possible new one was ugly or joke provoking.

Personally, changing my last name has never been in my plans. I got lucky with a pretty last name. I think no matter the name, unless something terribly embarrassing, I’d decide to keep my own name.

I married a year ago, and I changed my last name to my now husband’s and kept my maiden name as a middle name. I am very happy with this.

I plan on taking my future husband’s last name. But if it’s something really horrible like [name_m]Dick[/name_m], then I’ll ask him to change his last name to mine, but I won’t force him. I’ll want to keep my last name though, and ask if our kids can have my last name. I’m not adopting a surname like dick or anything like that. lol

I’ve thought about this as someone in a committed relationship. If my boyfriend and I get married, I think I’ll add his surname to my full name, but I have no intention of dropping my surname completely. He’s already agreed we can use my surname for any children’s middle names. I’m satisfied with that.

I want to as my name is uncommon, difficult to spell/read/remember and it’s an easy base for teasing and I don’t want my children to get that

I will probably take my SO’s surname if he’s comfortable with that.

My choice has nothing to do with tradition. It’s that my own surname isn’t particularly unique, and the way I see it you either have your husband’s surname or your father’s. Either way there’s not much escaping the patriarchal implications, so you may as well go with whatever option you feel comfortable with. If a man demanded I take his surname, he’s not the kind of person I would want to marry.

It’s nice to see a thread full of people who are comfortable with their own reasons and decisions about it. :slight_smile:

This is how I feel about it.

I personally am not particularly attached to my surname as I feel just as strongly connected to my mother’s side of the family as my father’s. Having extensively researched my family tree, I’m constantly amazed by the almost infinite number of women who have contributed just as much to my bloodline and my heritage as their husbands, and yet whose names, as a result of the patrilineal system, have not been passed down.

I do think it’s wonderful that women who treasure what their surname means for them are making the decision to keep it and pass it on to their children, but for me it just wouldn’t be that meaningful. I will make sure that my children have nods to both of their parents’ families in their names, but I’m comfortable with it being their surname which comes from his, and their first or middle that comes from mine. I wouldn’t rule out hyphenating, depending on the name in question and the feelings of my partner.

My last name is always mispronounced and I’m always asked to spell so I would change it, if and when I get married but only if his surname is easier to pronounce/spell if not I’ll keep mine.

I’m not overly attached to my surname to be honest and I would like to have the same surname as my future hypothetical children as my mum remarried and had a different surname and I hated it when teachers/doctors etc would say Mrs. X and then they would have to be corrected.