When your partner is stubborn

So, my partner has wanted kids since he was a teenager and has kept a list of favourite names for literally 20 years. He is deadset on the boy’s name and feels strongly about his girl names. I’ve asked him to run some tests, like finding out what the name sounds like in full when spoken aloud (first name + last name together). We even identified two of his favourites sounding really wonky and downright teasable when we did this. But he says he doesn’t care. Some of his other names are also bad associations for me. For instance, one of his favourite girl names is the name of a neighbour who terrorised my family as a child. I said it’s a hard no for me and he said he won’t give it up. And for his no-budge boys name - I can’t stand it. It sounds ridiculous. I understand his reasoning for why he likes it but I just cannot get behind it and I don’t have the same association to it at all.

I have only kept a list going for about ten years and my names keep on changing. I feel strongly that I don’t want my child to be teased nor have a name that means horrible things to my family. I also don’t want to dislike their name, but at least find a common ground.

What should I do?

While I applaud him for being interested in his future children’s names, he is not the only one who has a stake in naming and subsequently raising these children.

Let him know how you feel when he refuses to listen to you (which it seems he is doing), explain why you want to compromise and plan some time to sit down and go over your lists together.

If you don’t stand up now, raising children with him will be completely in his court because he got what he wanted up front – he will continue to expect things to go his way.

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I am sorry about this. I am also sorry to say this, but he is insensitive by demanding names you cannot stand. When men carry and bear children…

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When you find a quiet minute, perhaps suggest to him that both of you will start from scratch with your lists and try to find names that are entirely new and that the two of you can learn to love together.
I also think that it could be a good compromise to give your child two middle names, one for him to choose, one for you to choose, with the first name being something that has to be from your joint list.
I think most of us on here are in the same situation as your partner regarding having kept name lists for so long that some names just feel so natural to us, we can’t really imagine anything else on our future children. Being given the option to use at least one long time favourite would feel quite fair though.

I find this sentiment a little strange, because you can’t really hold that against them as they just aren’t able to biologically - even if they wanted to. What they are able to do is be as involved as possible. I think in this case this is less a man vs woman thing but a “I’ve had this list for many years and I can’t really imagine my children as anything else”, often a sentiment shared by women (who, generally, seem to be more interested in names).

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I would be concerned if I as a woman were open about names and my partner was insistent on only his choices. However unpopular or unshared the view, I do believe the person bearing the child should have more say in the children’s names than the one not. Not the only say, but more say. Not right or wrong, just what I believe.

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Yes, you’re right. I also find his stubbornness to be insensitive to our future child. I mean, he won’t even consider the possibility that his name choices could be a reason why they could be teased. I have a cousin named [name_f]Molly[/name_f] [name_f]Ester[/name_f]. It sounds like polyester or worse - molester. I think my uncle was criminal for giving her that name. [name_f]My[/name_f] partner doesn’t hear it nor gets it though.

But yes, I will talk to him about it, because it is important and will set the tone for how we’ll be as parents. We can’t always get what we want, but finding a middle ground can be more satisfying in the long run.

I should also note that we don’t know if I’m pregnant yet, but I very well could be. I’m hoping that he’ll change his stance and be a bit more openminded once we know for sure that a baby is coming.

From a personal perspective I think it would make pregnancy so much harder if I knew that my child would get a name that I hate. There’s more to look forward to if there is unison.

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[name_m]Can[/name_m] you give us an idea of the type of name choices he picked?

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Thank you. That is such a great idea. I think that’s what my parents did too actually. Me and my brothers each have three names - first name, a middle name that represents a significant family member and then a name that they just really liked.

Scrapping our lists sounds good too. I would love to start from scratch. And only work towards what we both like.

His boy’s list included;
Kemba
[name_m]Jarvis[/name_m]
[name_m]Heath[/name_m]
[name_m]Obi[/name_m]
[name_m]Donnie[/name_m]
[name_u]Rudy[/name_u]
[name_m]Chester[/name_m]

[name_m]Jarvis[/name_m] is his favourite

His girl’s list included;
[name_f]Heather[/name_f]
[name_u]Nova[/name_u]
[name_f]Tiffany[/name_f]
[name_f]Wanda[/name_f]
[name_f]Hazel[/name_f]
[name_f]Harriet[/name_f]
[name_u]Ember[/name_u]

His favourites are [name_f]Heather[/name_f] and [name_f]Wanda[/name_f]. [name_f]Wanda[/name_f] was my evil neighbour.

The only name I like on these lists is [name_f]Hazel[/name_f].

[name_f]My[/name_f] list for boys:
[name_m]Eben[/name_m]
[name_m]Elio[/name_m]
[name_m]Cassian[/name_m]
[name_m]Viggo[/name_m]
[name_m]Leif[/name_m]
[name_u]River[/name_u]
[name_m]Llewyn[/name_m]

[name_f]My[/name_f] girl’s list:
[name_f]Eowyn[/name_f]
[name_u]Alva[/name_u]
[name_f]Cosima[/name_f]
[name_f]Dorothea[/name_f]
[name_f]Willa[/name_f]
[name_f]Winona[/name_f]
[name_f]Ottilie[/name_f]
[name_f]Keziah[/name_f]

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Are you in the U.S.? More than likely, you’ll be given the birth certificate to fill out. You could tell him, if you don’t decide on a name together, then the courts will pick a name for you. [name_f]My[/name_f] personal advice is, that if you’re not married, don’t put his name on the birth certificate at all if he’s immature over something like this.

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We are in Australia so I doubt those rules would apply. And I would never allow it to happen, nor would my partner. I honestly don’t think he would fill out the papers with something he knew would hurt me. I think this is a big process for him to come to terms with. He was single for a long time before we met and was used to just getting his way. Compromise is a whole new concept.

See comment below.

His names feel very inspired by pop culture and a little more modern, while your names read more literary and vintage, but I don’t feel either list includes really bad, unusable names. Perhaps you could take the Nameberry DNA test with him and make the search a little more fun. There’s also magicbabynames.com where you can type in your favourites and get suggestions based on those. Apart from that, I think us berries would also be able to help you find some common ground names as your lists are different but not incompatible, I think (for example, maybe a different -va name would appeal to the two of you or his [name_f]Harriet[/name_f] could become a [name_f]Henrietta[/name_f], a little softer and more along the lines of Dorothea).

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Thanks. You’re spot on! His style is completely pop culture and modern. He takes his inspiration from comic books, movies and the kids he looks after at the daycare centre where he works. His three favourites (Jarvis, [name_f]Heather[/name_f] and Wanda) all come from the [name_u]Marvel[/name_u] universe.

I’m inspired by legends, mythology and literature. I want a name to feel like an entry point to a great story. [name_f]My[/name_f] own name was given to me after a character in a kid’s book and it has always been a good story to tell.

Some things that we have in common and could potentially be a place to search for names are; creativity. We are both very creative people. I’m a designer, he’s a potter and have dabbled in every creative art form. We love nature and are both very calm people. We don’t party and enjoy board games to a night out. We are both to the left, politically but not to be confused with hippies. As much as I love a nature name, I would never name my child [name_f]Rainbow[/name_f], [name_m]Bear[/name_m] or [name_f]Honey[/name_f] (side note: [name_f]Honey[/name_f] was on his list too :scream:). But down to earth nature names could be a good route to take.

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Does he ever compromise in other decisions you make together? If not I don’t think he’s going to change his mind…. Doesn’t sound very pleasant to work with.

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This is a true test of your ability to come together as parents and both compromise and communicate. Your child should have a name you both love and feel connected to.
This is difficult in relationships but with children it’s critical that you as parents can be on the same page.
What it sounds like really is that he has a vision (also perhaps likes WandaVision?) in his mind of what he likes and wants and he just needs to include what you and the potential child will also want.
It can be hard to adjust what you want to suit others.
This will come up throughout your journey through parenthood with everything, this is just the first decision that you must agree on and decide together.

[name_f]My[/name_f] advice here… Each of you make a list with ten points
Not ten names
Ten things that matter to you when choosing your child’s name
You can’t include any names

Example:

  1. No negative association for either of us
  2. They name must work in any languages we or our families or neighbors speak
  3. Cannot sound odd with the surname(s)
  4. There could be something included to honor someone or something meaningful to one or both of us
    5…

Both of you put the rules up on the table
Bring your lists for starters
[name_u]Read[/name_u] each others ten rules
If the rules are respectful of each other and the child then say they all stand
Discuss anything you don’t agree with
Really talk through but don’t bring up specific names
[name_f]Remember[/name_f] this is a human being
[name_f]Remember[/name_f] you don’t know gender
[name_f]Remember[/name_f] that most things you can’t control about your future child… Together you get to choose their name and it should be about them and about you both together
One thing about names is that they connect us to our roots but also follow us through life.
Names change over time, they get passed down and become family names even.
You’re right that you need to decide together.

Once the rules are in place, then present the two lists and go through them…
Explain why not for rule breaking names
Make a new list each with any non rule breakers

You can even say ok [name_m]Jarvis[/name_m] could be a middle name or a second middle
[name_u]Or[/name_u] maybe you have a girl and this never comes up…
But keep a middle names list each too…
A special these were vetoed BUT my partner said maybe for a middle

Chances are good you’ll only need to choose one name in the end but I suggest choosing a top two in both genders…
In case someone close uses your top pick
[name_u]Or[/name_u] you dislike it later
[name_u]Or[/name_u] you have twins
[name_u]Or[/name_u] you want to see the baby first
Or…

One compromise you may consider is choosing the first name together
And each choosing a middle and this way … First you each get something special you love and if you did have twins you could even just each give one a middle?
But that’s an idea

Okay so now assuming you haven’t suddenly found THE name…
Make a list of letters you would be ok with the name starting with…
and just sit separate once a day or once a week or over the course of a week and scroll through one letter.
Write down any names that jump out at you personally
Then find a day to sit down and go over the first letter… Does anything match?
does anything jump out at you from your partners list?
Veto anything that doesn’t … But start a list of the names you don’t veto…
Something is out there that you can both love.
(And you don’t have to do alphabet, you could do various categories and you could use a name book or website or family tree or nameberry lists/suggestions…)
When you’re done go through the new list and see if something feels right to both of you.

But you both have to be open to new ideas… It’s really special that you both care a lot about your child’s name and that your partner has real thoughts and feelings on the subject. It might turn out to be quite lovely to have someone else really caring about this decision along side you. But there needs to be an understanding between you that you need to be in agreement.

I hope everything works out well for the two of you and the possible little one, and that you’re able to choose a name together that will make you all happy.

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That’s what I thought. If that is something he loves, maybe you could look for names from the [name_u]Marvel[/name_u] universe that you like and that could inspire a compromise?!
Here’s a list in case you’re interested. Names Categorized "Marvel characters" - Behind the Name
I personally have [name_f]Ottilie[/name_f] nn [name_f]Dottie[/name_f] / [name_f]Dot[/name_f] on my list and Dottie/Dot seems to also be a [name_u]Marvel[/name_u] character, maybe going down the “formal” first name with a more unexpected “quirky” nickname could also be something for the two of you.
[name_u]Or[/name_u] maybe instead of [name_f]Wanda[/name_f], [name_f]Scarlett[/name_f], as in [name_f]Scarlett[/name_f] Witch could fit the bill. However, at this point, it’s not really about finding the name, just more names.

As he has [name_u]Nova[/name_u] on his list, which reminds me of supernova, and you have [name_f]Cosima[/name_f], which makes me think of cosmos (Cosmo and [name_f]Cosma[/name_f], too), maybe celestial names could be another route to go down.

As for names relating to creativity, maybe you have a favourite author, actor, character, writer, director, musician, song, etc. who could inspire your name choice.

Are there other franchises besides [name_u]Marvel[/name_u] that he likes? [name_m]Say[/name_m] if he were a big [name_m]Lord[/name_m] of the Rings fan you may be able to sell him on [name_m]Viggo[/name_m] or if he is a big fan of [name_u]Harry[/name_u] [name_m]Potter[/name_m], maybe there’s a name in there which you like (whether it’s because of [name_u]Harry[/name_u] [name_m]Potter[/name_m] or not) that you could sell him on because it’s part of the universe.

That is not to say that you should convince him to use a name he doesn’t like, either. But, as I already mentioned above, maybe exploring names and showing him that there are other great names out there that are related to other things he loves, could be a good first step. [name_m]Just[/name_m] to detach him from his list and make finding new names fun.

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Yes, he loves WandaVision, hence his top three names. They are actually all from WandVision.

[name_f]My[/name_f] favourite books are The Neverending [name_u]Story[/name_u] by [name_u]Michael[/name_u] Ende and [name_u]Wild[/name_u] by [name_f]Cheryl[/name_f] Strayed. [name_f]My[/name_f] name choice [name_m]Leif[/name_m] comes from [name_u]Wild[/name_u], it’s the name of Cheryl’s little brother. It’s also a nod to my Scandinavian background.

I also love [name_f]Rachel[/name_f] Maddow, the TV journalist. Would not be opposed to [name_f]Meadow[/name_f] as a nod to her. I’m a fan of [name_m]Lord[/name_m] of the Rings (hence Eowyn). [name_f]My[/name_f] favourite musician is [name_m]Sufjan[/name_m] Stevens, my cat is named Safi after him. [name_f]My[/name_f] favourite movie is [name_f]Gravity[/name_f] and [name_m]Black[/name_m] [name_u]Swan[/name_u]. Not a lot of good name inspo from those movies though.

The stuff we have enjoyed together include; a love for the Hungergames books, the band Crowded House, the shows Umbrella Academy, Broad City and [name_u]Love[/name_u].

you could also be in situation where you don’t agree till baby is born, then court rules your favorite names and his favorite name ends up as first middle. Sort of like [name_u]Ember[/name_u] [name_f]Ottilie[/name_f] or [name_f]Wanda[/name_f] [name_f]Eowyn[/name_f]. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you want to end up giving decision to court, who in turn might decide something you’re cross with?

I’m also intrigued how calm you are. People can be stubborn for a long time, and you only got few months before baby is born. What is baby is born and he still insist on name you dislike?

This simply won’t work out by itself. There are naming laws in Australia and you really should look them up. At least you should go inform yourself about who fills birth certificate.

Honestly I’m so sorry that your naming experience is becoming negative when it should be a fun process.

So my partner is stubborn (sooooo freaking stubborn) but unlike you when it came to naming our daughter he had no ideas just vetoed everything including my favourite [name_f]Rose[/name_f] (and her variants) because he felt the name as a first was too closely associated to the loss of his beloved mother who went by [name_f]Rose[/name_f] and died tragically. Other names he vetoed for numerous different reasons and we eventually settled on [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] which at first he wasn’t keen on but hey we had to name her something! Now thankfully he loves it. Anyways in a nutshell I understand stubborn partners are challenging

Ultimately I agree with @Harvest-Endellion maybe the opinion isn’t very PC but as someone who has been through a difficult pregnancy, a c section and a challenging recovery period that 4 months later I’m still recovering from I definitely believe the person carrying the child should have the final say! Of course it should be something that the other parent can get on board with (for example my partner hates names that are too old fashion [name_f]Theodora[/name_f] wouldn’t be happening for our child) but if you both can get on board then you should have the final say. I’ve just asked my super stubborn partner and he’s in agreement especially after seeing me so poorly after [name_f]Lilia[/name_f] that the person carrying the child should have the final say if it’s not something ridiculous quote on quote.

So going back to your partner you need to remind him that you are the one carrying the child, having to birth the child and then cope with the recovering process. Having a baby is hard!!! Your partner seems to be dismissing that you also have an opinion which isn’t fair but fairly typical of a stubborn person. I think you need to firmly remind him that he isn’t being fair and naming this child is a two person decision. I would then suggest coming up with a list together and the names from that list would be your child’s name. You need to ensure you don’t get pushed around by him as he seems with his uncompromising attitude to be pushing you around and say that this is what will be happening you’ll be making a list together to be the first name of your child. I would then say he gets to choose one middle name which can be from his list but has to be a name you can tolerate and doesn’t have horrible associations like [name_f]Wanda[/name_f] then you can choose another middle name with the same rules. [name_f]My[/name_f] daughter has two middle names one honours my Grandma and the other honours his mum along with a hyphenated surname. Yes her name is long but everyone is happy and you rarely say your middle names so I think following the same guide as I did will help you.

I wish you the best of luck & don’t forget to stand your ground

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Thank you for your advice.

I actually agree with you. Naming isn’t purely a 50/50 decision. It’s 60/40 in favour of the mother. I am the one who will go through unbelievable physical challenges and changes. The least I’m asking is for my kid to not be named something awful.

Veto power is truly a powerful thing and it feels crap when your favourites get shut down. It hurt when he shut mine down and I’m sure he felt the same when I shut his favourites down. I’m sure you felt the same when you’re partner just kept saying no to everything you suggested.

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