6 Things Not to Say to Married Women Who Kept Their Name

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Unlike most married ladies, especially the ones where I come from (Staten Island, NY), I didn’t change my last name when I married Paul. And just as being childhood sweethearts and an interfaith couple has caused confusion among traditionalists–and even forward-thinking folks who don’t realize their comments and questions can offend–so has this. Learn from those people’s mistakes and never utter these to women still proudly sporting their maiden names.

But then you won’t be connected to your children.
Anything that lives inside me for nine months, whether or not we share a last name, is pretty damn connected to me for life. This also presumes that my children will have only Paul’s last name, which might not even be the case.

Then you won’t be a united family.
Paul and I have this crazy plan to live in the same home as each other and our kids. We’ll eat dinner together, go on vacation together, and help each other when we need it. I have plenty of friends who share a name with their fathers–men they resent for leaving their families. I have a feeling we’ll be more united than they are.

That’ll be confusing for your kids.
Mommies and daddies have lots of differences. Paul grows hair on his face; I do not (usually). I have boobs (sort of); Paul does not (not yet at least). Paul’s name is Paul, and my name is Meredith. So I think our children will be able to process that Paul’s and my last names differ too.

That’s disrespectful to your husband.
So is it disrespectful that he’s not taking my last name? Why isn’t it disrespectful to my father if I change it? This logic is poop.

A girlfriend who wouldn’t take my last name would be a deal-breaker for me.
A friend of a friend said this to me, and I thought, “A boyfriend who was a total chauvinist like you are would be a deal-breaker for me.” Besides, when you’re truly, completely in love with someone, her name shouldn’t be the reason you don’t propose marriage.

Oh, you’re such a career woman.
Sad, but true, this was also said to me. I’m as much a career woman as Paul is a career man, except nobody would ever call him a career man for having a job he enjoys. And while my byline, the name that’s associated with every article I’ve ever written for magazines and websites, is partly why I kept the name Meredith Bodgas, it’s not even a big part. The fact is at last count, there were fewer than a dozen people with the last name Bodgas on this planet (maybe there are more on Mars). And because so many of the people with that last name were slaughtered in the Holocaust, I’m hoping to help this name survive as long as I can, which is ironic because I have a notebook from 7th grade filled with scrawls of my first name with Paul’s last name. Then again, that was before I became “a career woman.”

What’s the most obnoxious remark you’ve heard someone make about a married woman who didn’t change her last name? Do you think a lady’s a little weird if she isn’t dying to assume half of her husband’s identity?

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  • http://twitter.com/alyssaloring Alyssa Loring

    Totally support your reasons for keeping your name! It’s YOUR name, after all. My sister recently announced she’s not changing her name and caused quite the uproar.

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      Thanks, Alyssa! Yes, exactly–people have as much right to weigh in on what I’m called as they to do pick my clothes and meals. I hope the folks who balked at your sis’s decision realize it’s SO none of their business.

  • Alix Honore

    Totally agree! It shouldn’t be such a big deal if you don’t want to change it.

    • mereditor


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  • http://twitter.com/santafetraveler TheSantaFeTraveler

    I kept my own name when I got married 38 years ago. At that time, not many people did. It was uncharted waters. I was a pioneer. We had a none- he had a hyphenated name. It was a bit of a hassle for him, and if I was to do this part again, I might do it differently. And like you, we also come from different religious backgrounds. All these years later, I’m glad I kept my name and would do it again.

    • mereditor

      Glad to hear you’re happy with your decision!

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZSX3AOIDUSZUGTLZDXRTNOIQSA Youyu.

    I would change the name because it just sounds weird.

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      I like my weird last name because it’s MY last name.

      • farla zooie

        it’s such a weird last name….like body gas…if i were you, i’d change it!

        • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

          Yes, I got that when I was about 8 years old, but I think I’ll keep it :)

  • Marty46

    My husband and I have been married for 42 years – and as
    he says, “most of them happy!”  To my
    father-in-law’s dying day and my mother-in-law even to this day – they wondered
    if we were legally married because all those years ago, I did the unthinkable
    – kept my maiden name.  My husband is a
    strong, secure man who wasn’t worried that I loved him less.  He simply realized it was important to me to
    remain “me.”  And I love him
    even more for understanding that!  During
    our entire relationship, he has been and is still my rock…I love him dearly!

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      Love this story! Thanks for sharing, Marty!

  • JustInTime205

    All of these
    people claiming that you must retain your maiden name to prevent the trouble of
    divorce, IF it were to happen, are setting themselves up for failure. The
    divorce rate in this country is sky rocketing, and it’s “forward
    thinking” like this that is partly to blame. I believe that it is an honor
    for a woman to take the man’s name, it’s not giving up yourself, your maiden
    name is still in existence, you still put it on applications, your children
    still use it for student loan applications, among other things. This article is
    stupid because there is no right answer. My opinion is that a family should
    share the same last name, Mr. and Mrs. Smith is much better than Mr. John
    Smith, and Mrs. Jane White-Smith. Do what you want, but stop coming up with
    idiotic explanations for your own justification, you should love your husband
    enough to give him the honor of taking his name and creating a family under
    neath it. It’s always been that way and it doesn’t make a woman any less of a
    woman. If you feel that way, than maybe you are with the wrong man.

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      Why is it less of an honor to keep a name that people died for having?

      • JustInTime205

        Who said it was less of an honor to keep a name that people died for having? Do you read comments before you reply? I said that it’s always been that way and it doesn’t make a woman any less of a woman by taking the last name of your husband. Your reply was completely unrelated to anything I had to say. Been a long time reader but your high and mighty attitude just lost you another reader.

        • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

          You said: “I believe that it is an honor for a woman to take the man’s name.”

          I should’ve responded: “Is it less of an honor to keep a name that people died for having?” instead of assuming that you do think it’s less of an honor.

          Thanks for being a long-time reader, but you called my reasons for keeping my name idiotic, made an assumption that I don’t love my husband enough because I didn’t take his last name–and then said I’m high and mighty. 

          I agree with you that a woman isn’t less of a woman if she changes her last name. But a mother isn’t less of a mother if she doesn’t share her name with her children. A man isn’t less of a man if he changes his name to his wife’s. And just because something has been a certain way for a while doesn’t mean someone doesn’t have the right to change it as it pertains to herself, as my name does.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9507644 Sara Bittner

            I’m a new reader, and I am happy to replace JustInTime. I’ve been engaged for a few months and have been going back and forth as to whether to keep my name as is, or to hyphenate to include the husband elect’s last name. We had our son unplanned (he’s turning 3 this May), and I’ve had a different last name from him the whole time, and I am not less of a mother for it. In fact, the reason I’m thinking about not changing anything is because having a different last name has been SUCH a nonevent in the past 3 years, which included an international move, residency permit, and buying a home. And it NEVER MATTERED that my name was different.

          • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

            Aw, happy to have you Sara! I’m so glad to hear that it hasn’t mattered that your last name is different from your (extremely adorable) son’s! Congrats on your engagement!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/V4YNRCFRKTUS34DJ2Q4UCWUVO4 Trisha

    If keeping your maiden name is “the unthinkable” then I have really set the bar of keeping my first husbands last name when I remarried. Yes, it was to give my children a connection to a parent, and my current husband still proposed after I offered that we both change our last names with a hyphen to include both of our last names; his and my maiden. 

    • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

      My mother did the same thing. She took my father’s name because she simply liked it better and also because it is a name that is difficult to pin an ethnicity to (this was many moons ago obviously!). It was advantageous in her career and when she and my dad divorced and she eventually met and married my step father she kept it because she likes it (and my step-dad’s name doesn’t work well with her first). I say to each their own. 

  • Amanda Marron

    It’s pretty crazy how upset people get about it–and the subject of name-changing in general when it comes to marriage.  I changed mine, partially because I like my husband’s last name, partially because my maiden name (and my first name as well) are both very common and I was tired of getting confused with other women named “Amanda Jackson,” and partially because it was just what I wanted to do.  Strangely enough, I’ve had more comments and shocked questions about why I chose to change it than I would have expected, but it really makes me wonder why people take so much of an interest in it, and why they think it really matters whether I do or don’t to anyone outside of our family.  My parents are fine with it, my grandparents are fine with it…does anyone else’s opinion even matter, if they’ve okayed it?  At work they looked startled when I brought in a copy of my marriage license and driver’s license to have it changed, too, which made me feel like no one must be changing their name anymore.  

    Good for you for keeping your name because that’s what you want to do.  I have a Jewish friend who kept her name when she married because she’s the last of her family with that name and wanted to pass it on to her son, especially since her husband was not born Jewish and converted later, so that there would still be a Jewish name in the family.  Their son has a hyphenated last name, and it works fine.

  • Whitney Hill

    Here’s one I got from a male colleague when I said I’d be keeping my name after I get married: “You ought to change your name to prove you’re fully committed to him and to the marriage.” His personal history with women aside, why shouldn’t my future husband change his name to prove he’s committed to me? Or why shouldn’t we swap names in that case? I wouldn’t marry a man I wasn’t committed to, I like my name and I’m keeping it – and anyway, how is it fair that only half of the couple has to go through the hassle of changing the name?

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      Infuriating! I never understand that–doesn’t the fact that I married him show that I’m committed to him?! And I agree–why is it only the woman’s place to “show she’s committed” by changing her name?

  • grazalema

    No need to explain your decision – who asks the man why he’s keeping his name and not ‘honouring’ or ‘respecting’ his wife by taking hers.  It really is appalling in 2012 that this is even an issue. 

    To the person who asked me what was the point of getting married if I wasn’t changing my name my response was “I had no idea that marriage was founded on a shared name – I thought it was founded on a shared set of values, love and mutual respect for one another”. 

    I remain mad at the registrar who, despite being told I was keeping my name, still introduced us as Mr & Mrs X after our ceremony.  It was the one low point of our day.

    I totally agree with everything Meredith has said but look forward to the day when it is just an accepted choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1274684753 Cristina Gómez Ballesteros

    I find this so strange! Here in Spain, we have two names: the father’s name and the mother’s name. We all keep our names when we get married and then our kids have both names. I don’t understand why someone would feel that not taking your husband’s name is disrespectful or bad to your kids!

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      I like how they do it in Spain, Cristina! Thanks for weighing in.

  • Alexis_H

    ANOTHER list of things not to say to you?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just make a list of the things that don’t elicit offense and self-righteous indignation from you?  That would probably be a very short list.

  • BigMike1285

    I feel really bad for your husband.  Most women are honored to take their new husband’s last name, as they should be.  Since you didn’t take his name, you should give back your engagement ring.  Either that, or you should have gotten him something of equal value.  He gets you a ring, gets down on one knee and throws himself out there, asking him to marry you.  And what does he get in return?  Nothing.  He gets you the ring, you take his name.  It’s not that complicated.  I’m sorry, but women should not be allowed to have EVERYTHING.  It’s immature, embarrassing, disrespectful, and a disgrace to not take the husband’s last name.  It shows that being “independent” is more important than being a single married unit.  Any man who isn’t spineless would agree with me on this.

    • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

      He got a 42″ flat-screen LCD TV (which cost the same as my ring back then) as an engagement gift from me. But even if he hadn’t, marriage isn’t about exchanging a ring for a name. It’s about making a promise to love each other and face life’s challenges and triumphs together. You can do this without an engagement ring and a big-screen TV. That was just the path we went in to celebrate.

      • BigMike1285

        Well at least you got him something I can respect that.  But it’s still disrespectful, even in this day and age.  Men are told to treat women with the utmost respect, even with more respect than our fellow men.  Well, women need to return the favor.  Not taking the name pretty much denies that man’s family.  

        • mereditor

          But that’s one of the points I make: If it’s disrespectful to my husband’s family if I don’t take their last name, why isn’t it disrespectful to mine if I do take his name? Isn’t my husband denying my family by not taking my last name? And to say “because that’s how it’s always been done” is a dangerous rationale. Cheating on my husband would be disrespecting him. Keeping a last name that nearly died in the Holocaust is not disrespecting him or his family; it’s honoring my family.

          • BigMike1285

            Because you are a woman and he is a man!  Jesus it’s not that complicated.  Ever since I was a little boy, I have dreamed of having a Mrs. (my last name).  I would be devastated if that wasn’t the case.  I would only feel half-married.  He’s not expected to take your name, because he’s a man.  THAT’S HOW IT IS. Don’t you get sick of people calling your Mrs. (husbands name) and having to correct them? You might as well get it changed.  

          • http://twitter.com/mereditor Meredith Bodgas

            And there’s that dangerous argument: “THAT’S HOW IT IS.” It was used as a reason why women shouldn’t be able to vote; why blacks shouldn’t be able to own property and more ideas that are now ridiculous. You can have your dream of marrying a woman who takes your last name, and I hope the person you fall in love with (or have already fallen in love with) has dreamed of taking her husband’s name. But don’t feel sorry for my husband because he doesn’t share your dream; he doesn’t feel sorry for you that THAT’s your dream. The point is that women should be allowed to choose what works best for them, regardless of what you, BigMike, think is best for them. I think I’ve been called Mrs. My Husband’s Name twice in the four years we were married. People mispronounce my last name all the time, and this is the same thing. I’m not going to change my name because of that. If you, as a man, treat women with the utmost respect, then you’d respect women’s choice to do what they want with their names because they’re THEIR names. And if you can’t respect a woman’s right to make that choice, you absolutely don’t have the utmost respect for women.

          • BigMike1285

            Well here’s the thing: a woman not taking the guy’s name to me means she is screaming at the top of her lungs: “I’m independent and I can do whatever I want!”  From a guy’s perspective, there is nothing more annoying than that.  It’s a major turn-off.  I actually admire independent women. I admire those ones with  great minds, great skills, and that can get by without the help of anyone.  However, I cannot stand the ones who have to proclaim it constantly.  Ever see a man do that?  No.  I will not have respect a woman who robs a man of his birth right.  That’s right I said birth right.  There are certain things men and women are entitled to.  Women are surely entitled to much more this day and age, which makes me sick.  Do NOT take that away from us.  Our birth right as someone born a male is to carry on your FATHER’S last name for the rest of your life, and give that to your children and wife, as one family unit.  I mean, really, I know the woman wears the pants in most relationships, why can’t you just let us have this one?  Too much to ask?

            And another thing, I do not associate my wife taking my last name as “owning” her at all.  I am not put on this earth to own anyone. Look at any typical relationship, do you really think the man is owning?  If she isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.  So I don’t know how anyone could possibly think men can own their wives/girlfriends.  

          • mereditor

            This says it all: “Women are surely entitled to much more this day and age, which makes me sick.” Take a cough drop.

          • BigMike1285

            What….you think they aren’t?

          • mereditor

            You said it makes you sick that women are entitled to much more these days. Women should always be entitled to as much as men. It shouldn’t make you sick that the gap is closing between what men and women are entitled to.

          • BigMike1285

            No, that’s not what I said.  I said that women are entitled to more than what men are entitled to these days.  

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Blair-Caviness/1341797624 Blair Caviness

            BigMike, two words : Benevolent Sexism.

            You’re chock full of it. You love and respect women….as long as women do what they’re supposed to.

            Sad, sad.

          • BigMike1285

            I’m not sexist, I just have a huge issue when women do shit like this that keep men from being men.  Part of that is having a wife and family that identifies as having your last name.  Anything else is unacceptable from a man’s point of view.  (Well, any man who isn’t spineless.)  

          • acg1983

            I know these comments were made months ago but I cannot help commenting.  I am horrified that in the year 2012, there is flat out sexism at this epic epic level.  If a woman wants to change her name, that is one thing.  HOWEVER, to act as if she must do that is just beyond anything.  Not to mention, the argument as to why she should is “because you are a woman and he is a man.”  Next thing you know, this poster will claim we shouldn’t have the right to vote.  

          • mereditor

            Totally agree. I thought it was a joke at first. His comments, not to mention his username, are dripping with insecurity, and since he can’t fault his own sex for that, he blames it on women. It’s scary people like this still exist and scarier that they think their way is the right one.

          • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

            That’s bullshit. If you believe that then find some backwards woman who will do what you say and stop reading posts on the internet you don’t agree with. 

          • BigMike1285

            There’s nothing more annoying than women who don’t know their place….this page is loaded with them.  

          • mereditor

            Because if anyone knows his place, it’s you…on a weddings, marriage and baby blog for women. If you do find someone you want to marry someday, show her everything you’ve said here about women. And if she still wants to be with you, then you’ll have exactly the kind of marriage for which you’ve yearned.

          • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

            I literally do not know any men who believe this who are under the age of 60. Literally. Not my father, not my father in law, not my husband or any of his or my friends. There is no way this is for real. I smell a troll. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.stone.921 Elizabeth Stone

            So, how do you take this one, Mike?

            For us, it was my husband’s idea for me to keep my name. I hadn’t even really thought about it and he came to me and said “Liz, I really can’t think of you with a different name than the one that I have known you by for the last seven years. I think you should keep your name, because it’s who you are.” I agreed with him, as it would also be weird for Ian to lose his name and we both value those identities. Our decision to keep our own names had nothing to do with screaming or entitlement, we just wanted to keep the same identities that we had when we fell in love.

          • udolipixie

            Using your logic a guy not taking the gal’s name means he is screaming at the top of his lungs: “I’m independent and I can do whatever I want!”
            It’s not your birth right for you to have your partner change her name. Being born doesn’t entitle you to that though I’m aware that not being entitled may be a lost concept on a male.
            A similar question can be asked of you: most gals earn similarly contributing financially and do all or most of the childcare/household duties so why can’t you just let them have this one? Why is it too much to ask?
            You don’t know how anyone could think men can own their wives when you go on about how it’s a birth right that for the guy to have the gal’s name changed to his meaning she has no birth right other than to have someone else’s name.

          • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

            I can’t wait until the entire generation of half-men loser like you dies off. Real men aren’t put off because their women refuse to be treated like chattel and branded with their husband’s name for the rest of their lives. I am so happy men like you are now few and far between. You sound like someone’s cranky great grandfather. I supposed women shouldn’t work outside the home as well? How did you even learn to use the internet? Idiot. 

          • BigMike1285

            And I’m glad bullshit feminist women are few and far between.  Jesus Christ, know your damn role, and shut your damn mouth.  The type of woman who insists who keeping their last name is not a woman most men would want anything to do with, and for good reason.  The fact still remains that everybody in the same family should have the same last name, and the ONLY way to do that is by taking the damn husband’s name.  The insecurity of believing that taking your husband’s last name will mean ownership is absolutely pathetic.

          • Rey M.

            You are the biggest idiot I have ever come across, and with that attitude, I don’t think you’ll ever have a girl to give your last name to.

    • Denise Woods

      What about women who propose to their men? I proposed to my boyfriend on New Year’s Eve and we both decided to keep our names. I think many traditions are illogical, especially this one. This also isn’t something EVERYONE does, in other countries naming conventions are very different than here. Clearly it’s also not the norm everywhere in the US either since so many people keep their names in New York, too. Just because you think it’s the “correct” way doesn’t mean everyone else thinks so. You can go off and marry whomever you wish and have them change their name. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, but to say that you feel bad for people making different life decisions than you while calling these men spineless and the women selfish is just disrespectful.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001369952906 Alexa Rae

      My husband and I decided together that I would keep my last name and he would keep his. In fact, when the issue came up at work, he told me that he would actually be upset if I changed my name. He knows that I don’t particularly want to change my name. It has nothing to do with wanting independence, but instead the idea that this is my identity. He also understands that the taking of the man’s surname is an antiquated tradition that was used to show ownership. My husband is the first to tell you that he does not “own” me. I am not property, nor is he. I would never ask anyone to take my name; just as I would not agree to take another’s name. My personal identity is set. For some men, this would not be okay. You are allowed to think what you want, but remember that women who chose to keep their names have the same right. Honestly, I am not sure why my personal choice even matters to other people. Does the keeping of my own name cause you pain? Does it hurt your family or your friends? No. So why waste your time fighting a one sided battle? 

    • supernaturalmylifemylove

      I don’t think that’s true at all. My husband to be would actually prefer me to keep my last name. I have not decided fully whether to hyphenate or just keep my name. When I ask him why he wants me to keep my last name he tells me “I fell in love with Sarah ‘Last name’ and that’s who you are to me.

    • MrsEsq

      Well, if the couple has kids – she will give him kids. When you can come up with a comeback to that, I will entertain your opinion. I have three college degrees, a whole professional community who knows me, as me. I think your concern about value of her engagement ring is a concern. I think hubby’s true feelings are much more significant than the value of the ring.

    • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

      Gag me. My army veteran husband (who was fine with me keeping my last name and didn’t feel the need to do the whole embarrassing down on one knee bullshit) would take a punk like you on any day. He wasn’t spineless when he was fighting for your freedom to be a chauvinist and he isn’t one now. This literally made me laugh out loud. 

      • mereditor

        Thank you SO much for sharing this, Frances.

      • WelcometotheJungle12

        My father is a successful and anything-but-spineless person who couldn’t have cared less when my mother chose to keep her name (he felt it was entirely her choice, and he is secure in himself and his marriage.)  And in the same vein as the military comment above – my boyfriend is also military, and has no issue with me keeping my last name if we choose to marry (he knows that’s what I would do.)  Why would you presume to tell other people what to do, or to imply that such a choice makes a woman “immature” and “disrespectful?”  I think perhaps you are the immature one, BigMike.

    • BigMike1285

      Go fuck yourself.

  • http://zuungols.myminicity.com/ind Bichon Bisou

    I’m getting married very soon, and I’m still deciding if I want to change my name. It seems like getting new documents and whatnot will be a pain in the ass, and my betrothed doesn’t care either way. I don’t think any of my friends or family will care if I don’t change it, but I’m sure someone will make a crass comment!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001369952906 Alexa Rae

    I hate when people suggest that I am somehow less committed to my husband/marriage because I did not change my name. I think that the 8.5 years we were together prior to marriage is a testament to our love for each other. As a side note, I honestly dislike that anybody should have a problem with a choice I make for my personal life. It does not hurt anyone and my husband and I are both happy. 

  • Lynn Newsom

    I love it when people suggest that having a different last name must be a hassle. Nope, it has caused exactly zero problems for me.

    The other is that it will confuse my children’s teachers. I was a school secretary for years. There were families where everyone had different last names. All of the children still got educated.

    • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

      I always get confusion from my daughter’s teachers, but sometimes I think it’s straight up judgement and not confusion at all because really, it isn’t that hard to understand. I had one teacher outright ask me why I kept my last name, as if I was a heretic. It only makes matters worse that my oldest is from a previous relationship and she has an entirely different last name!

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.gellman Susan Gellman

    Well, I have been married for 30 years, and it hasn’t ever been a problem for us.

    The silliest thing anyone said: “But how will the mailman know you are married?”

    The most tiresome: a variation on “but what will your children’s names be?” – We hyphenated our children’s names, and you wouldn’t believe how many people asked, “What happens if they then marry someone else with a hyphenated name?” with a triumphant air that suggests that they are the first person to think of that.  I don’t see what the big difference is between that and marrying someone with a single last name.  My answer was always, “They’ll do exactly the same thing as we did: whatever suits them, without worrying about what we expected.”  

    And that is exactly what happened.  Our son got married last year.  His bride has decided to take his whole, hyphenated name.  Surprised me — I wouldn’t have — but that’s what suits them, so that’s exactly what they should do.  

    And by the way, it is both perfectly legal and socially acceptable to use more than one name for most purposes (not passport or SS card) anyway, if you like, as long as it isn’t fraudulent.

    • mereditor

      Thank you so much for sharing this. I love that your daughter-in-law took your son’s whole hyphenated name. A woman I worked with had added her husband’s name to her hyphenated name…and she has a hyphenated first name. It’s what worked for her, so why should anyone question it? And congrats to your son!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/CWIMO6E5YPUXAZ3VIDRGUI5IUI Ani

    Hi, just was googling something and came across this article and loved it. Things is that in my country (I’m from Georgia, Europe) no one (well nearly) takes her husband’s last name and I absolutely love the way we are doing it. This does not have anything to do with being disrespectful or carrier oriented feminist, just the fact is that I’m from a different family and even though I’m creating my own, still want to keep my roots and yes, my kids will have both family names, mine and my husband’s. anyway thanks for sharing the post :)

    • mereditor

      Thank YOU, Ani! I love hearing what women in other countries think of this tradition. And I adore that your children will have both your and your husband’s family names. Thanks for writing. So glad you liked this post.

    • Guest

      That’s awesome! I’m realizing that women keeping their last names is very common in other parts of the world. So you and your husband hyphenated your children’s last names? How did you decide which name to go first and which second? That’s something that I wonder about. My last name is Landin. His is Liu. He suggested combining the names into one…I’m not sure about that one…haha!

      • mereditor

        Liundin! I love it! Landin-Liu is also quite nice.

  • acg1983

    Love this article!  I had this debate with a guy a few years ago who flat out said he wouldn’t marry someone who didn’t take his name.  When I asked him why that was such a deal breaker his response was “because she is joining my family.”  So apparently, through marriage, only SHE was joining another family.  Here I thought both parties became part of the other’s family of origin.  Silly me.

    • mereditor

      Seriously! Husbands become part of their wives’ families as wives become part of husbands’. What a lame excuse to justify his backwardness. So glad you liked this post!

  • jd200600

    I just found this article…late to the game!  I am in a similar spot with my girlfriend of 2 years.  We have started to talk about marriage and she wants to keep her last name.  I am ok with it because she tends to go against traditional ways, which is why she wants to keep her maiden name.  My family on the other hand is telling me to run.  I am all for going against traditional ways, so I brought up that I did not want a wedding and had no intentions of wearing a wedding band.  (I can wear rings, watches or anything around my neck…it all just bothers me).  She of course, blew up with this and said that is not the way that marriage goes.  Me not wearing a wedding band, and I do not care if she wears one either, is against policy but her not taken my last name is ok.  Am I out of line?  

    • mereditor

      Ug, sorry your family is giving you a hard time about a decision that belongs to your girlfriend. I don’t see how her wanting to keep her last name means you should run anywhere! I also don’t think you’re out of line if your reason for not wanting to wear a wedding ring is because you hate how jewelry feels. I understand why your girlfriend would be disappointed that you don’t want to wear one; I’d be bummed if my husband didn’t want to wear one because I love wearing mine and thinking of the day we exchanged vows whenever I look down at it. But just as a woman doesn’t have to change her last name to be married and be a good wife, a man doesn’t have to wear a wedding band to be married and be a good husband. And just as it’s a woman’s choice as to what last name she has, it’s a man’s choice as to what he wears. If, however, the reason a guy didn’t want to wear a wedding band was because he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s married, then yeah, that’s a problem. I think your girlfriend will see that the wedding band thing isn’t a deal breaker, but you may find you like wearing a wedding band–my husband never wore rings before (thought they got in the way), but now he likes his.

      • jd200600

        Thanks for the reply!  I can say, with 100% certainty, that I will never enjoy wearing a ring.  Now how can I convince her that the wedding ceremony is traditional and that I really want to skip that too…I just don;t think any of it really matters.  

        • mereditor

          I don’t have any language to use to convince someone to skip a wedding ceremony–I loved my wedding ceremony and thought it was more significant than any other part of the wedding events–but as with anything else you don’t agree on with your significant other, you have a conversation on why it’s important to you, in this case, to skip the ceremony, and she offers her piece as to why it’s important to her to have the ceremony. And then you find a way to compromise: Is it important to her that her mother sees her get married? Maybe you can do a small, quick ceremony with just immediate family. Is it important to you that you keep religion out of it? Maybe you have a friend or a justice of the peace do the honors.

          • jd200600

            Hi.  The ceremony for her is a deal breaker.  I am fully expecting to have to give in on both the ring and ceremony but I guess we will see.  I guess I feel like I am doing all of the compromising…

          • mereditor

            Neither party should feel like s/he’s doing all the compromising. But she probably wants a certain kind of ceremony and you want no ceremony. You’d both be compromising if you choose something short and simple.

          • jd200600

            Thanks for the reply.  We have decided to take a step back and re-evaluate the whole thing.  

    • equinoxa

      I wonder if you need to slow down?  If she strongly disagrees with you on these issues and you will either have to respect her feelings (not just deal), or question how good of partners you will be.  You may have very different ideas about what marriage is.  This isn’t too uncommon, but it’s sad how many people have trouble because of this.

      Maybe your family picks something up about her.  If they are simply unhappy with her name issue, that seems really sad.  But remember, you may be together until the end.  She and your family should get along.

      I don’t know if it is your girlfriend’s situation, but as a female who has known a lot of females (relate more to men…), a lot of them seem in love with marriage.  Being Mrs., having the ring, the dress.  Some have a whole huge dream, and this can include a pretty tall order about the happily ever after.  If you find yourself with someone like that, you will have to be in love with or accepting of that part of her, too. 

      After 12 years with someone, not feeling a real need for marriage, we’re thinking it might be practical.  I have never wanted to change my name, nor hyphenate.  It’s too darned long already and there is no reason.  If we were having kids, maybe.  But we’re not, it’s pretty certain at this point.  If I don’t take His name, his family will joke about it endlessly, but I’m sure they won’t look down on me too much if at all.  I like wedding dresses, but don’t want the usual wedding.  I don’t care for wedding rings.  I would probably lose or destroy mine!  I’m looking pretty unconventional here!  But I like seeing strong relationships and marriages, really want to see people find them, too.  I’ve seen too many couple pull in different directions and I hate saying that they shouldn’t be together for them.  But everything needs to feel like it can be worked out–before you are married is obviously best.  If these little issues are that important that someone blows up, they may be more important than the relationship.  I hurt saying this, but who is in love with what?  The good things, the dreams?  Despite all I’ve said, I truly hope you can talk with your lady and work things out.  If you’ve come this far, it might be worth fighting for, but don’t work too much.  If you do, then slow down or move on.  Take care!

      • jd200600

        Thanks for the reply!  I think we have decided to take a step back.  The wedding is crucial and a deal breaker for her and there are some other things to work out.  

        • equinoxa

          No matter what it will be, wishing you both the very best and happiness!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637890029 Keith James

          Another late male perspective here: A lot of women I know would be VERY uncomfortable having their husbands out in the world without their wedding ring.


          Because it shows the world of women (and some men) that they’re spoken for, they’re married, don’t cross that line. Even if you were never going to get weak and have an affair, the ring is a symbol of your love that helps guarantee that. And a lot of women like having a little symbol of their love on their man 24/7. And I don’t blame them one bit.

          Ask yourself, why do so many cheating men take off their ring when they go “hunting”?

          • Jackie

            I agree. You can get married and not go “traditional” by her keeping her last name, but a ring is symbolic. Taking her husband’s last name is not, it’s traditional. A ring shows unity between two people, it expresses that unity to the world. My boyfriend and I have talked about what I would do when we get married. He knows I’m very feministic, so I will most likely keep my last name. But he wants us to have a ring together, preferably one that matches so we can be united for the world to see.

          • http://chaoticallyyours.blogspot.com/ Chaotically Yours

            Mm. But, as you say….all they have to do is take the ring off. So, really, if someone is going to cheat, a wedding ring isn’t going to keep them from doing so.

            And you’re spoken for whether or not you wear the ring, so I really don’t understand the whole “I want other people to know you’re married!” You know you’re married. If that’s not enough…then that’s where the problem lies.

            Neither my husband or I wear a wedding ring. I have a ring we used at the county clerk’s office but it looks like most of the other rings I often wear and he’s allergic to metal.

            Granted, at the end of day, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with. But the idea that a ring keeps someone from cheating/reminds them not to cheat is spurious, at best.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1294119081 Fannelle FromNewyork

            One day, after the cleaning lady came in, my husband’s wedding ring was lost and we never found it. My husband kept saying that he wanted to replace it immediately. Frankly, I did not care. I told him to take his time. A wedding ring never made a man act married. If it did, so many men would stay faithful. I laugh at people who think a wedding ring keeps the women away. I work in a male dominated career and after I got married, the men told me that married men get “hit on” MORE often than single men. Go figure!

  • Zeplin87

    Okay regarding this Big Mike guy, I pretty much agree with everything he says.  I don’t like how he’s being a jerk about it though.  I also have a male perspective on this.  I am not a married man yet myself, but as a guy I can imagine how upsetting it would be for my future wife to tell me that she’s not taking my name.  I would only feel half-married.  I mean everyone of course can do what they want.  Do whatever makes you happy, as long as both people are happy with whatever decision you make.  But in my case, I can’t sit here and pretend I would be okay with my wife not taking my name.  All I am saying is that it would be a big disappointment.  

    • mereditor

      Thanks for sharing your opinion respectfully.

    • http://www.facebook.com/sunny.rabit.7 Binny Cat

      Then why don’t you take her last name! problem solved!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637890029 Keith James

      A big disappointment? There are a lot of much larger issues that would be a big disappointment to me. Here’s a list that might help put it in perspective:

      1. Kids/no kids – you know, she gets to help decide this too.

      2. Extra-marital affairs

      3. Child upbringing styles (strict or permissive? You better talk about it)

      4. Financial affairs (does she get to spend all your money?)

      5. Daily domestic duties (is that all up to her or do you share?)

      6. Work Schedules (is she ever available?)

      And the list could go on and on. All of these are reasons people get divorced. I don’t think the name thing is a deal-breaker for many guys.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1274684753 Cristina Gómez Ballesteros


  • http://www.facebook.com/sunny.rabit.7 Binny Cat

    A man should take a woman’s last name and women should start encouraging men to change theirs…I guess it works the same way then..a man can never love a woman more because he won’t!  I think all children should be under the mothers last name after all the divorce rates are high and children tend to stay with them mom’s!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sunny.rabit.7 Binny Cat

    I will not change my last name and my children will have my last name as it is better sounding!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kirsta.reisinger Kirsta Reisinger

    I was told that we were being written out of the family will because of our non-traditional last name choice. 

    • mereditor

      Wow. That seems like a totally reasonable reaction.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637890029 Keith James

        LOL, love your snark! :-)

  • http://siberiancentral.blogspot.com/ Amanda

    I just came across this post trolling for ways to tactfully tell people that I will not be changing my name, because at this point most of mine include some choice words and an inappropriate gesture. (Ideas, anyone?) My fiance finally understood why I did not want to change my name after I told him that I would hyphenate if he did, too. The look on his face was priceless – utter shock and revulsion. When I told him that how I felt about changing my name was the same way he was feeling right then, he agreed to come to terms with it, which he has over the last few years. But now his family is making our lives difficult. When I posted online about a wedding invitation we had received addressed to Mr. & Mrs. X (when we’re not even married yet!) and said that my personal hell was beginning, one of his relatives took the opportunity to tell me that she hoped I was kidding and that I should be happy to be connected to my man in any way, shape, or form. When she was informed that I was, in fact, quite serious, she then told me it was a “bummer.” She doesn’t believe that we can be “partners in life” if our names don’t match. Even my own mother has assumed that I don’t want to change my name because of my academic degrees, no matter how many times I inform her otherwise. My name is my identity, and that identity is incredibly important to me. My name has already been changed once due to adoption, and my surname is my last tether to the family that raised me. It is frustrating and unfortunate that in this “enlightened” day and age, we women are still being forced into following traditional rules or facing constant questioning and disparagement.

    • mereditor

      That’s so frustrating. I wish more people understood that it’s our choice and it has NO affect on their day-to-day, yet it would change our daily lives. It’s as though they all like the color red, and we prefer to wear purple. They don’t have to like purple, but they wouldn’t dare question our clothing choice, so why bother us about our name choice? I hope they keep their mouths shut from now on!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/HKF56RNEW3OW4MADOGKY7B2IM4 yahoo-HKF56RNEW3OW4MADOGKY7B2IM4

    The problem with this issue in North America is that the legality of changing one’s name after marriage varies widely from jurisdiction.  There was a recent story of a Florida couple where the husband elected to have his name changed to his wife’s last name after marriage only to find out months later that he had been charged with fraud for his progressive choice.  I would like to see a push to fully legalize the choice for both the husband or wife  may elect to change their last name. 

    I feel sympathetic to women who have to deal with scorn for their choice to keep their last name, but believe it or not there is a jurisdiction in Canada where it is actually illegal for a married woman to officially change her last name to her husband’s after marriage.  This is in Quebec were I met my wife who would love to share the same last name as mine, but the law will not permit it.

    I would consider changing my last name (if it were legal, but apparently isn’t in many jurisdictions anyways, yet) if not for the fact that my last name is particularly fitting.  My last name is Donaldson, and my father’s first name happens to be Donald, so my name accurately describes my relation to my Dad, so it would seem disrespectful to forgo my last name when it suits me so well.  Basically I feel it makes sense for whichever couple has less sentimental attachment to their last name to consider changing it to their spouse’s last name. 

    • mereditor

      Yes, several Canadian readers wrote in to explain that women CAN’T change their names to their husbands’ in their areas. I totally agree–whoever wants to change his/her name should be allowed!

  • http://twitter.com/Kel_Moran Kelly Moran

    My co-worker told me that women changing their name was “the law of the land.” The whole bunch of my lunch buddies are shocked I’m keeping my name. I told them today that my finace really didn’t care, and that if he did we’d have a conversation about it, and they all looked at each other knowingly.  I’m not sure what it is they think they all now, but they don’t know my finace.

  • Jackie Landin

    My boyfriend is Taiwanese and I’m…well, I’m a melting pot of everything. Our relationship is moving forward and we have discussed whether or not I would take his last name. I remember starting out with “I don’t want to take your last name. I want to keep my name.” I feel that women who take their husband’s last names is sort of demeaning.. especially when they are announced at a wedding reception as Mr. and Mrs. Husband’s Last Name. That just repulses me so much putting the husband first and introducing the woman as the husband’s wife, not the other way around. And then my boyfriend came back by saying “Good, cause I don’t want you to have my last name.” That shocked me. It honestly did. And now that he doesn’t want to share his last name with me has me doubting whether or not I want to keep my last name. 1, 2, and 3 of your article are my main concerns. But you pretty much helped me understand them better. :) If I choose to keep my last name, I wouldn’t have to change my email address, my login names for various websites, medical/financial papers, it just seems so much easier to keep my own last name. But at the same time I want to share something in common with him. I guess that common share would be our kids if/when we have them, right?

    • mereditor

      Not only will you have kids in common if you have them, but you’ll share a home, hopes and dreams, memories…much more than one name can offer.

      • Jackie Landin

        Thank you so much for your input! :) We still have some ways to go before he pops the question and we tie the knot, but we are definitely talking about our future. Heck, he’s asked me to move to another state with him! So I guess I shouldn’t be so taken aback by him not wanting me to take his last name. :) 

  • mike

    Hello everyone. I recently proposed to my girlfriend and we had talked about name changing before, but I just came across this blog and thought I’d see what some of you might say about children’s last names. My fiancee doesn’t want to change her last name and I understand why. I don’t want to change mine, why would she want to change hers? But practically what might some of you plan to do if you have kids? I’m simply looking for ideas. Do you plan to hyphenate the kid’s names? Just go with the fathers last name or just the mothers last name? Or make up some new last name? What have some of you already done or plan to do? Thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/KDenton101 Kathryn Denton

      I had a friend in college whose parents kept their names and then used their last names as middle and last for their kids. The boys had the mother’s last name for middle and then shared a last name with their father, the girls had the father’s last name as a middle and then shared the mother’s last name.

      So if the parents are John Doe and Jane Dear the daughter would be Mary Doe Dear and her brother would be Mike Dear Doe. It was a little confusing but it made sure that both family names were tied to each kid.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mead0wlark Sarah Gross

      A friend of mine kept her maiden name, but her daughter used the father’s name simply because it sounded better with her name. I think the child typically takes the husbands last name, but I like name way they approached it….because the father’s name definitely has a better ring to it.

      I’m getting married in August and plan to keep my name, even if it is Gross. Not sure about our kids (if we have them) because both of our names warrant plenty of teasing from classmates.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kit.ko.777 Kit Ko

    I don’t really want to change my name either…  Except that it’s not my maiden name, it’s my ex husband’s.  I have a child with that last name.  All of my degrees are in that name.  I’ve done a lot of work building a reputation for myself with that name in a highly word of mouth profession.  And it just has a nicer ring to it than fiance’s last name.  

    My fiance doesn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to get rid of my previous married name, and seems a little hurt by it.  

    Am I crazy?

    • mereditor

      Of course you’re not crazy! Even if it’s not the name you were born with, it’s your name (and your child’s). I think it’s important to acknowledge your fiance’s feelings–is he hurt because you won’t take his name or because you’re keeping an ex’s?–and once you know the why, you can do things to address his concerns and remind him how many others ways you’ll be connected once you’re married (and before!).

  • http://bellerenee.wordpress.com/ Renee

    Just wanted to stop in and say thank you for your thoughts on this topic on my own blog! I love this conversation and am so happy to see so many women grappling with this issue. Careful consideration is all I can hope for. :-)

    • mereditor

      I’m only sorry it took that long for me to see it! Yes, putting thought into the decision and making it because it’s what YOU want to do is a win for all.

  • ggirl@sympatico.ca

    Typical feminist claptrap. Good luck on your pending divorce.

    While were at it, let’s get rid of the tradition of having a wedding ($30k saved), purchasing an engagement ring ($10k saved), a fancy wedding dress ($5k saved)…..
    For that matter……….why are we even following this stodgy tradition of getting married? To the incinerator with that as well.
    Living together also seems a little to ’20th century’ too. That is SOOOOO 1999.
    It really is appalling that in 2013 people are still following the above archaic traditions.

    • meredith

      If you believe a marriage’s strength is determined by one partner’s last name choice, then I don’t think I’m the one who needs luck.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=637890029 Keith James

      I agree with you, partially. It’s not feminist, it’s independent thinking and (thankfully) progressive.

      As to saving on the wedding and dress and the ring? I agree wholeheartedly, the money that is wasted on a 1-day party in this country is shameful. You can still have a ceremony, a dress and a ring for under $3000 easily. Many people do it in other countries, but it seems that in the U.S. it’s all about “How Large Can I Make It?” and a total competitive show-off.

      Imagine what that money could do for your future together instead? The downpayment on a house, your future kids’ education, a fund for any vacations or remodeling or just in case there’s a job loss. It’s foolish to spend like that on one day and I’ll never understand it as long as I live. Big weddings are a foolish waste of money and the “wedding industry” is loving every minute of it and promoting them as a “must have”.

      I find it very odd.

    • M Raff

      Yes! Let’s get rid of the consumerist traditional wedding, the status symbol engagement ring, and the overpriced dress that MAYBE will get reused (but not likely because the trend is to buy it new).

      Sarcasm aside, as well as the fact that you’re misusing hyperbole and conflating real issues with non-factors–you’re really not that far off. I’ve been saying this for years, and people think I’m strange, or that I’m putting on a front because how could a girl not dream of those things????? What the f— ever. I’d rather have my education and 8 year relationship.

      Yes, we live together and no one is suggesting that everything about relationships is archaic, just that some traditions put too much strain on relationships right from the start, which are hard enough as it is. When you’re trying to start a life with another person, you worry about your finances, how to juggle both of your careers, whether you will have kids, how you’re going to raise them, taking care of your pets, what kind of insurance to buy, whether you will grow apart over time because of your divergent political views… who the f cares about dresses and flowers and rings and name changes?????

  • Debbie Liu

    do not worry, changing last name are only English world tradition. My last name was often mistakenly “corrected” to my son’s name, I once joked that: we have tradition of kids taking their father’s last name, women add one character to the last name. lol The tradition is changing also with one child policy (yes, China), since both being the only child of their family, some couples would fight their only kid’s last name

  • None

    Women like you will be the downfall of this society….

    • mereditor

      Just as societies in which women traditionally don’t take their husbands’ last names have fallen? Good one!

    • Anonymous

      who are you to say that? Did you know in France that women NEVER change their name? It’s just because your chauvinistic self wants to continue to devalue women in this society– or rather value them like a prized, OWNED possession.

      • anita81

        Same in Italy. Actually, you are not even *allowed* to take your husband’s name. You can use it socially, if you like it, but for official purposes (documents, or if you run for elections, and so on) you will always retain your maiden name. Since nobody can do it, it’s pretty normal, and society didn’t fall apart. Plus, you don’t have to change it back in case of divorce, and it’s way easier if you have a career (you won’t lose any offer from former customers/employers unaware of your marital status).

      • Vanessa Foussier

        This is absolutely not true. In France women have the choice to take their husband’s name, keep their own or hyphenate (the latter two options being relatively new, 10-15 years at most). Most married women do take on their husband’s name. However, in France a lot of couples do not get married at all, maybe that’s why you had the impression that French “married” women kept their last name.
        Please, do not make any assumption without knowing the actual facts.
        P.S.: I am French, born and raised in France.

  • http://twitter.com/KVClowerT Kat Clower-Turner

    If a man cannot be a good provider for myself..I will not take his last name. I am sick and tired of the lazy men in American using women to their advantage…whether its for sex or financial gain.

    • Bob Evans

      Doesn’t matter what that man is made of or not…it’s his choice to propose to you or not. It doesn’t benefit a man to marry you. Especially if he’s a man of means. Why should a man of means wrestle an “I do” out of a woman??? Women proclaim they have options, yeah, but most of you all have more temporary options, than men willing to spend the rest of their lives with you.

      A man of means has the opposite!!! More women that he can find, who are willing to spend the rest of their lives with him.

    • neil5

      Oh please – you are being ridiculous! Besides, every man knows that modern women really don’t want a provider. American women usually want a “bad boy” douchebag-type of guy instead of a hard-working provider-type.

      • M Raff

        Must have taken you an awful long time to get acquainted with every American woman enough to know what they all want. I applaud your effort.

    • egm80

      Provide for yourself. Lazy women are no prize, and I say that as a woman.

    • M Raff

      women use men just as much as men use women. there is no reason to get self-righteous because you’ve had this or that kind of experience. everyone needs to carry their own weight. there is no reason to put that burden on a man alone when you are perfectly capable of supporting yourself. maybe if we changed that ideology of men as providers, the role of women as dependents would loosen it’s influence as well and you wouldn’t feel the pressure of changing your name. glad to see that you’re headstrong about what you want, though.

  • Rose magret

    My name is Rose Magret, this is a testimony that i will tell to every one to hear. i have been married four 4years and on the fifth year of my marriage, another woman had a spell to take my lover away from me and my husband left me and 2 kids and we have suffered for 3years until i met a post where this man Dr.npitmeh have helped someone and i decided to give him a try to help me bring my lover back home and believe me i just send my picture to him and that of my husband and after 48hours as he have told me, i saw a car drove into the house and behold it was my husband and he have come to me and the kids and that is why i am happy to make every one of you in similar to met with this man and have your lover back to your self. His email: npitimehspirituralhome@gmail.com

  • Bob Evans

    Women have no right to be offended!!! You all should take your husbands last name fully!!!

    “-” < This leaves room for doubt. If I were married and had to see that my wife carried her last name, I'd doubt the marriage!!! What is she saying??? She has her side of the room and I have my side of the room??? If a woman hasn't built a successful franchise or company logo with her last name, or if she's not a celebrity. She has no business keeping her last name. And not surprisingly, marriages aren't lasting for 20, 30 plus years anymore. It's not about what a feminist wants. You so-called independent women don't respect the marriage tradition. Yet, expect a man to honor you!!! However, you all don't honor him when you all don't fully change your last name to his!!! Tacking on his last name to yours sends a subliminal message to a man's mind that "this marriage has a possibility of a divorce." And, it also sends the message to a man that his woman is not going to be fully committed to him. The dash represents rebellion. Period!!! You women don't like it??? Well, too bad!!!

    Marriage benefits a woman more so than a man. We don't have to marry any of you all. Most of us men are happy just being in a solid relationship. So, for women to dictate marriage terms to men. That too says that they don't fully respect the men they want to marry!!!

    A marriage on the fritz is one where the woman doesn't respect her husband. And, many times she doesn't even see the divorce coming, or that she's already lost his interest. Most men get wiser over time and began to see men and women differently. Women don't really get wiser with age.

    When I marry a woman and see that she has my last name fully. It's a message to my mind that this good thing we have is sealed in stone!!!

    Marriage is an age old tradition that has been working for eons when practiced correctly. Nowadays women want to put an independent spin on marriage and that's why they don't last…I guess women don't really want their marriages to last. They keep their last name just in case it doesn't work!!! A failed marriage has already been expected!!! Yet, what good does that really do them??? even a 50, 60 year old man can date a 20, 30 something year old woman. A woman in her 50's and 60's can't get a young man to marry her for love. Women should be doing everything they can to solidify their marriages in the beginning, not sow seeds of doubt in her man's mind. Women!!! don't think you know your man inside out, because you don't!!! A lot of women who've got divorced and cheated on thought they had their men under control. They thought wrong!!! A vagina is only worth so much ladies, and it becomes more worthless to us the older you get. So, you all would do well to please your husbands. Because most men are just fine, not having to be locked into a marriage contract with you all. Being married in spirit is just fine.

  • Bob Evans

    Women nowadays over estimate the value of their vagina. Most intelligent men don’t stay with one vagina for the rest of his days because her’s is just too special to leave. He stays because that woman has other valuable qualities to offer!!!

    • udolipixie

      Hmm seems guys nowadays are the ones overestimating themselves going by how they don’t even consider taking the wife’s name and are adamant that it’s his way or no way.

      • Bob Evans

        Marriage is an age old tradition that’s been working fine the way it was until these feminists decided that it needs to be changed to where the man really has no benefits in getting married. Women have made it to where there’s absolutely no benefits at all for a man to get married! Most men are fine not being married. Women and their domineering ways and the court systems have made marriage and the consequences of a failed marriage so one-sided in women’s favor that there’s no incentive for a man to get married. Women have the failed marriage safety net of over hyked spousal support and child support! Think about it fellas! What benefits do us men get out of marriage? If you’re not strong willed enough not to cheat as boyfriend and girlfriend. A marriage certificate isn’t going to imbue you with dick/vagina discipline in the ways of holy matrimony anyways!

        • udolipixie

          More like it was working fine for the guys. No different than slavery is an age old tradition and it was working fine for the whites in America.

          If marriage was working fine for the gals then there wouldn’t have been a national outrage movement like feminism. There wouldn’t be laws against marital rape, domestic violence, and such.

          Meh in my opinion excluding a tax break there’s no benefit for either gender to get married. Gals seem to get the very very short end of the stick what with having to do all/most of the household and childcare duties and working as well while having the concerns and complaints dismissed and belitted as nagging while being pressured to oblige their male partners sexual demands at his request otherwise they’re withholding or using sex as a weapon if they don’t want to have sex with someone they are upset with.

          It’s no surprise to me that studies show that gals are the main ones to initiate divorce, most gals are unhappy in their marriage, or that studies show that gals are actually most unhappy when married and happiest when single. The only benefit it seems gals get from marriage is when it’s over.

    • M Raff

      I’m not sure how to take that comment. Last I looked, it wasn’t women who put a value on our bodies, it was men. Women wouldn’t objectify themselves unless there was a audience there to provide attention, affection, security, financial support, etc. You can’t blame the victim of the system–everyone knows that sex doesn’t sell, the FEMALE SEX sells.

      I agree that in general intelligent men don’t use sex as the only factor in finding a life partner, but people are motivated by different things. Intelligence is not the only marker for how men form their standards; maturity plays a huge role. I know plenty of men who truly believe that it is incredibly important to have a “hot” wife regardless of the qualities she has–this is the view they have held since *HIGH SCHOOL* and have yet to let go.

      • Bob Evans

        Your own reply only verified points of my own comment, and it also contended against the air.

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  • Regina

    Thank you! I kept my name and my husband was fine with it and respected my decision. We even gave our son both our last names. He made sure his traditional father knew what our son’s last name would be. My fil actually asked me why wouldn’t i change my name and still sends me cards with my husband’s last name. It’s very frustrating. Haven’t received anything in the mail for our son yet. So we’ll see what he puts down. Funny thing is his new wife kept her ex-husband’s last name. Some people will never have an open mind. I try not to flip out as much as I can.

    • mereditor

      That’s so frustrating that he’d give you a hard time about it and not his new wife!

  • Ftloosenfanzfree

    I had been thinking lately about whether I would take my boyfriend’s name if we get married, and I’m leaning heavily towards not. The thing is, I have no reason not to, and keeping my name is not something I ever cared about. But my last name is easy to spell and his is difficult with many silent letters. And honestly, it just seems like a pain.

    I asked him once if he would care about something like that, and he said that he actually thought it would be weird if my name became something different than what it was when we fell in love. I thought that was an interesting way to look at it, but it’s nice to know he wouldn’t be offended if I ultimately make that choice.

    • mereditor

      I love how he looked at it! I’m glad he supports the choice you’ll likely make, even if you’re not feeling strongly about it.

  • Aaron LaMonica-Weier

    My wife and I got married back in September and we decided to both hyphenate. (WHAT?!? The husband changed his name at all. . . I know. Its crazy. btw, your jaw is on the floor.) My last name was LaMonica and hers was Weier. Now, we have both become LaMonica-Weier and the only reason that we chose that over Weier-LaMonica is how it sounded. Through our discussions of last name options, we wanted to combine them into something new as that is how we saw our marriage, taking two and creating one new thing but we never landed on something that worked. Our solution has allowed us both to retain our identity while showing we are fully bringing the other person into our identity. It also provides a “unified” name for us and our potential children. Anyways, even as the husband (maybe even more so) I have heard all of the above statements and they just infuriate me. Thanks for post!

    • mereditor

      I love your new last name! Sorry you’ve had to deal with the same irritating statements. So glad you liked the post!

    • egm80

      You’re super cool! She lucked out.

    • M Raff

      i love the fact that you acknowledge that your status changed as a result of getting married as much as your wife’s did. Part of the reason that so many guys want their wife to change their names is because they view marriage as an acquisition to their own identities; so she has to be absorbed into his worldview, but he makes no sacrifices to her. It makes no sense. Like with the ring thing–I know so many couples where the girl wears the wedding ring but the man doesn’t. Why?? I can’t believe that in this day and age, it still comes down to women being property.

    • Stacey Stiles

      Men like you give me hope for the human race.

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  • Sam Marshall

    I also kept my name and I have the ‘but what do you call yourself, Miss or Mrs?’
    Ahhhhh! another bone of contention. I call myself Ms just like before, as I don’t see why my name should be an indicator of my marital status.
    Don’t get me wrong, I am proud to be married to a wonderful man, but it just is not relevant to how you should address me.

    • mereditor

      Totally agree! I prefer Ms., too.

  • CIU 16

    I hyphenated my last name almost 22 years ago. I am still amazed how people, even strangers, take it as a personal blow to them. I didn’t do it to anyone. I did it for myself. My husband and I are still happily married and our teenage sons used to think it was weird that other kids’ moms didn’t hyphenate their last name!!
    I can’t get over why people say, ‘why did you do that?’ My response anymore is ‘why did you change yours?’ It seems to quiet them.

    • mereditor

      Yes! The whole “this is a personal affront to me” thing is so ridiculous, but it’s what I face most often too. Good for you for sharing that response, which reminds them how their choice affects your life as little as your choice affects theirs.

  • disqus_iQPy3ZnKEF

    I’m getting married in February and I don’t want to take my Fiance’s name, we are both Christian though and he believes that I should take his last name as He will be the head of the household and it’s part of becoming one unit. What do you think?

    • egm80

      I’m a Christian and didn’t take my husband’s name. It’s a cultural thing, not a religious thing. And if you are marrying a guy who plans on being your boss instead of your partner, you may want to do a search for a new husband to be. My husband is a Christian and treats me like his partner. We submit to each other’s need vice one being subordinate to the other. That is how relationships work best.

      • M Raff

        it is indeed a cultural thing, but it is also a religious thing, it just depends on which sect of christianity she follows. each sect of christianity has been developed among different cultural/social groups and that is why some christians have different beliefs than others. you can’t assume from the statement that she is christian that she shares your exact beliefs, and you can’t assume that she also shares your view of what a good marriage is. she is most certainly going through this on account of her faith in some way. there are sects of christianity that hold the male figure as being the head of the household, and if that is her belief, you don’t have the right to tell her to look for a new husband. keep in mind, i AGREE with your sentiments, i just don’t think it’s fair to chastise her because the values within your own marriage happen to be clear and shared by both parties.

        • egm80

          Simply because they share a value doesn’t mean it’s right. Would you give the same advise to a woman in a Muslim couple who both “agree” that the husband can beat his wife as a form of discipline? Religion does not excuse abuse, whether emotional or physical. The woman i responded to said that her fiancé was forcing her to change her name AND SHE DOESN’T WANT TO. This isnt shared belief, this is one person imposing his beliefs on the other.

          • M Raff

            she never indicated that he was forcing her, only that it was his belief that she should change her name and that she didn’t want to. i said i agreed with you, and i don’t think she should allow him to destroy her identity by taking on his beliefs. she also didn’t indicate whether or not she shared his belief. she might share his belief and still not want to change her name. she also might not share his belief and this may be the reason she doesn’t want to change her name. who knows? her question was rather open ended and did not have much detail.

            my comment to her was simply about encouraging her to figure out what her beliefs were and talking it out with her fiance to determine what to do. the fact that she would ask such an open ended question about a life decision to a bunch of strangers (“what do you think?”), is a good indication that she might be confused about what which direction to take based on her faith and personal feelings. i wasn’t trying to tell her the answer, just give her a method by which she could figure it out on her own.

            my comment to you was about the fact that you basically told her that because she was a christian and because you’re a christian, that you both should have the same views and since you chose not to take your partner’s name, that she should find someone who agrees with that view and doesn’t make her change her name. that’s not a fair statement to make to someone in this situation and i just thought it was rather judgmental EVEN THOUGH I AGREE WITH THE CONTENT. that’s all.

            i think the islam issue is not on point simply because there is a difference between agreeing to change your name, and allowing yourself be subject to bodily harm because of your belief system. i’m not going to drone on with a response about beliefs, theism, and brainwashing because i’m not trying to invite controversy.

        • Stacey Stiles

          I’m in seminary right now and I’ve been a Christian for 17 years. I haven’t yet found a place in the Bible where it says I have to change my name when I get married.

    • M Raff

      it sounds like you are having trouble reconciling your cultural/religious beliefs with your personal beliefs. while I do not subscribe to your religious beliefs and probably not your cultural beliefs either, if your personal feelings tell you that you have reason not to take his name, then maybe you should discuss this with him some more. i’m not sure this is an issue you want to simply drop for the same of being cordial. but at the same time, you have to decide whether your personal identity is important enough that you would risk discord with your fiance or if your religious and cultural faiths are important enough to you that you can put your personal identity on the back burner. It sounds like if you change your name, in the eyes of your fiance at least, you are agreeing to adhere completely to his personal, religious, and cultural identity. whereas is if you don’t change your name, he sounds likely to view it as a religious/cultural rejection. My own belief is that changing your name under those circumstances leaves little room for the personal growth that should be facilitated during a marriage, and that would be too much for me. But it your choice and I recommend talking it out.

    • Kit

      HE is going to be the head of the household. And where will you fit in to all this? Sounds like a recipe for a disastrous (and short lived) marriage.

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  • neil5

    A woman who won’t take her husband’s last name is most likely very selfish and views marriage as a non-permanent thing.

    I could maybe understand if the woman married later in life and was an established doctor or lawyer. However, if she isn’t an established doctor or lawyer, then there is no reason for her to not take her husband’s last name.

    • mereditor

      See above article for the reasons women may not take their husbands’ names–that have nothing to do with being selfish or believing marriage isn’t a permanent thing.

      • neil5

        It really only makes sense if the woman is a career woman and she makes more money that her husband – in that case, she is really “the man” in the relationship and she can do whatever she wants.

        However, most women choose to keep their own name simply because they are selfish man-hating feminists.

        Also, any man who takes his wife’s last name or hyphenates his own name after marriage should turn in his man card, as he has no stones.

        • egm80

          If you hate men, why would you marry one? I don’t hate men but I can’t suffer fools of any gender.

        • Shannon

          Then wouldn’t you just as easily take your wife’s last name? If you wouldn’t, does that mean you don’t respect her and don’t see the marriage as permanent?
          And by the way, Jay Cox Mohr is definitely a man, and comes across as having more “stones” for his security in including his wife’s surname. If you’ve ever seen her…she’s not “the man” in the couple. She’s beautiful.

          • Kurt55

            Why would I take my wife’s last name? That only makes sense if the wife makes a lot more money than me and is essentially the “man” in the marriage.

          • Stacey Stiles

            Too bad an IQ test isn’t a requirement for sharing your opinion.

        • M Raff

          there is no reason to respond to this person. his views reflect the idea that a woman’s identity is and should be subsumed within her husband’s the second she agrees to get the wedding cuffs on her. this is a kind of pervasive ideology that you cannot persuade to think any other way and your words are wasted on him. the system of gender roles is just sad and useless and people need to realize that no one has to be anything or any way they don’t want to be. if tradition put as many restraints on mr. neil5 as it does on women, for no real reason, then he would be screaming like someone stepped on his “stones.” what he doesn’t realize in his distorted view of gender relations is that essentially, it is the way women behave that validates what he calls his “man card” and the fewer women who buy into his views, the more irrelevant and obsolete this “man card” of his becomes. sounds like a poor 6 inch existence to me.

          either that, or he’s trollin y’all.

        • Kit

          The definition of a feminist is someone who sees the full humanity and equality between men and women. Feminists are NOT man-haters. ‘Man-card’? How old are you, 15!? I think your comments just highlight your own backward way of thinking, you clearly belong in the 19th century.

        • Stacey Stiles

          You’re still an idiot. A paycheck doesn’t determine gender.

    • egm80

      I’m in the military and didn’t feel like changing all my name tapes and my 7 different email addresses.

      Of course, if you want the same last name YOU could change it just as easily.

    • udolipixie

      So using your logic a man who won’t take his wife’s last name is most likely very selfish and views marriage as a non-permanent thing.
      There’s as much reason for her to not take her husband’s name as there is for guys not even considering taking his wife’s name.

      • Kurt55

        If the wife makes less money than the husband then she should definitely take her husband’s last name – that is part of the marriage deal and has been that way for a long, long time. On the other hand, if the wife does make a lot more than the husband, maybe he should take the wife’s last name as in that case, the wife is the “man” in the relationship.

        • mereditor

          Paul and I should just keep switching last names because sometimes he makes more than me, and sometimes I make more than him. And we’ll have our kids’ last names change based on which parent is earning more at the time.

        • Kristin Uszak

          So, Kurt55, or the should I say the poster formerly know as Neil5? If you are so against the idea of a man changing his name…why did you do the exact same thing yourself? (Or maybe you are just two people who have the exact same profile picture that looks like Screech from Saved by the Bell and share the exact same ideology about women changing their names?).

        • Stacey Stiles

          You’re an idiot.

        • udolipixie

          Care to cite the evidence that the decision of who changes the name is based on who earns more is part of the marriage deal? As far to my knowledge that decision was based on gender.

          Nice bias so for the gal to change her name she just needs to make less however for the guy to change his name he needs to make a lot less.




  • Karleanne Matthews

    When my husband and I were soon to be married, I was going back and forth on changing my name because I thought it really didn’t matter–it’s just a name, right? Then people got absolutely outraged that I was simply CONSIDERING not taking his name. Maybe it’s just my natural ornery-ness, but I decided that if names mean SO MUCH, I’d better not give mine up :)

    I still remember being at the county clerk’s office getting our marriage license: The woman behind the counter kept talking to me like I was an imbecile because I hadn’t filled it out to indicate that I’d be changing my name after marriage–speaking slowly and loudly, over enunciating, the whole shebang. “This is where you put your *mar-ried name,* not your *mai-den name.* You put your mai-den name.” Since I operate mostly in academia and journalism, two areas where it’s quite common to keep one’s name, I luckily don’t have to deal with most of the hullaballo anymore. But when I do, it’s the “career girl” comment that really makes the steam come out my ears. I’m not a secretary in 1961, for Christ’s sake!

    I am still baffled sometimes at how confused people get. “Hi, I’m Karleanne Matthews, and this is my husband, Collin Paran.” “So it’s Karleanne Paran?” “No, that’s Collin’s last name.” “But I thought you said you were married?” “We are.” “So your last name is Paran?” These circles tend to go on for at least a minute. Oi. I can’t help but think people are being purposefully thick.

    • mereditor

      Ha! Amazing how someone in a county clerk’s office would sooner believe you’re stupid than you’re keeping your name. I don’t see how you could possibly be clearer when introducing yourself with your full name and your husband with his full name. I agree–some people use that opportunity to make an issue out of something that shouldn’t be! Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Mary

    Making a big deal out of a woman’s name-change shows how much our society needs to accomplish yet! I am happily married to my husband who is the only man I have ever been with _ seems like very “old-fashioned” & “traditional”, we’re only in our late 20′s _ I kept my name because I did not see any reason to change it, if there was a reason then he would have considered to change his too. As to mention, both of us don’t wear our wedding bands most of the time NOT because we don’t want to be identified as married BUT because we happen not to notice it’s not there physically as it’s “supposed” to be!!? If you need something to remind you that you’re committed to somebody then you shouldn’t have gotten married at the first place! ( Need to clear this up: NOT OPPOSING WEARING THE WEDDING BAND AT ALL).

  • udolipixie

    The misogyny and sexism I find almost always as a response to when a gal doesn’t change her name is one of the reasons why I don’t see marriage for me. Awesome on you for finding a guy that was progressive enough that you keeping your name wasn’t a dealbreaker.

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  • beaaa

    Great post! Always love seeing what perspectives exist out there.

    I’m a woman who values her career and contributes significantly to the household. I recently got married and am taking my husband’s last name because I chose to, not because of tradition. I have put much thought into the ‘consequences’ of changing my name and this post (and comments) helped me see one side of things. This perspective however is becoming fairly common and I wanted to share another article one why a woman would still consider changing her name:
    The views expressed are not mine, but I think it illustrates another side of the ‘feminist spectrum’ of how upbringing, culture, and traditions can impact our decisions.

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  • Guest

    Wonder why Neil5 changed his name to Kurt55…?

  • Jonas Miseh

    I actually encouraged my wife to keep her last name. After all I met, fell in love with and married a girl with HER own name, not MY last name….and I want her to still be that person.

    Only an insecure little manlet would be offended by a woman keeping her last name.

    • Rey M.

      Here, here!

  • Gwen Q

    we should have a third (or fourth if you count middle name) name section for a last name that both parties agree to! lool… small things like these really doesn’t matter but it makes people go socially nuts and bewildered. I’m Eastern ASian and if my husband has an European last name and I take his name, I’ll look weird. It probably looks better if I retain my asian last name when I’m working towards into my career. His last name isn’t even Western european, it’s a weird eastern last name. It’s not a typical Canadian or “white” last name, so it wouldn’t make a big difference to me in the work force. Also if they see me in an interview, I’m automatically written off as a visible minority and not get hired because I’m not really “white” so stop pretending that u are–or something. Lame, but that’s just how REALITY is when I’m a visible minority who is female in a country that considers “white” as a neutral face representing Canada. fuc–ing bull-shi-t.

    Angry Asian Lady

  • Kristen

    My brother inlaws wife introduced me at their wedding with my maiden name just to hurt my feelings. Um I’ve been married for 9 years and have been part of the family almost a decade longer than your skanky pot smoking self. She did it out of hate and jealousy sorry your an ugly bitch and I’m not.

  • Andrea Nichols

    Fucking feminists….that’s what’s wrong with this country

    • mereditor


    • Chuckawobbly

      lol what’s wrong with this country is closed minded individuals like you who continually blame a movement for their problems.

    • texassa

      People who value equal rights are what is wrong with this country? Think again.

  • ChrisB

    I took my wife’s surname when we got married. She was the last person in her family with the name, and I had a very common surname that I had no connection with. So I offered to take her name, her family were very happy with my offer and now we have a son the name will continue.

  • LaurenSue

    I plan on keeping my last name. You know what my fiance said to me when I told him? He said “okay”. No arguments, no discussion. He automatically understood that I wanted to maintain my identity. His mom, not so understanding. But THAT is precisely why I have NO doubts about marrying him. He lives to make me happy. I wouldn’t settle for anything less. :D

    • mereditor

      Love that!

    • lululu3

      I see that your fiance feels that he doesn’t deserve you, therefore he is too scared to argue for you to take his last name. He might not let you own him forever.

  • Stacey Stiles

    If I ever get married again I’m keeping my maiden name. I’ve been told changing my name is a sign of respect. I’ve already changed my name when I was adopted, the first time I got married, and again when I got divorced. Now my name is a reflection of me and my personal history. Having had a horrible first marriage where I wasn’t respected at all but had my husband’s last name, and an abusive adopted mother, I know that respect is about how you treat someone, not about a name. I need a husband who is smart enough to understand that, and can respect my feelings. If he can’t THAT’S a deal breaker. I don’t need someone who wants to control me and tell me what my name is going to be. If its important to him that we have the same last name, he’s free to change his. I’m not going to ruin a perfectly good name like Stacey Stiles again.

    • mereditor

      Here, here!

  • 2014bride

    When we met with the pastor who is marrying us last night, it came up that I was considering keeping my last name. He asked me why of course. My answer was for one it’s been my name for 28 years (my close friends often call me by my last name), for two it isn’t 1960 and I will not hold a traditional gender role in our marriage, and for three just because I do or don’t change my name doesn’t mean I love my soon to be husband any less. He then proceeded to ask my fiancé, “So if you had your choice, would she change it?” My fiancé answered that he supports whatever my choice will be but if it was only his decision he would want me to share his name with him. The pastor then said “Well that gives you something to think about now.” I then proceeded to ask the pastor if he was going to ask me the same question and he straight up told me “No I’m not.” I was in shock. Um hello, isn’t it 2013?! I’m pretty sure my opinion matters in this relationship just as much as his does!! I realize no matter what as long as my fiancé is supportive of my decision that’s all that matters but come on!

    • mereditor

      My mouth dropped when I read the part when the pastor said that gives you something to think about. (Paul’s did, too!) I’m so sorry you encountered someone like that during your wedding planning. You’re absolutely

  • Rich Jimenez

    Not taking my name is deal breaker for me. All other arguments aside, it’s a window into what other feminist crap I’d be in store for. Like it or not, men and women are different. There’s great power in being a woman supporting her man. Without our woman behind us we’re done for. You think a man could make a house a home, or give a mother’s love? Not a chance. Too bad a lot of women have been brainwashed into believing it’s a sign of slavery. Ever meet a happy feminist? Of course not. Who would be happy doing something so unnatural?

    • mereditor


      • Rich Jimenez

        I know, nothing like a constructive argument to challenge your perceptions. You can’t even see admiration of the fairer species staring you in the face.

        • mereditor

          Hi, again, Rich. It’s hard to view your comment as a constructive argument when it includes the term “feminist crap,” but sure, let’s pretend. To me, feminism is about women choosing whatever’s best for them. It sounds like it means something different to you. I’m also not sure how you define a mother’s love, but having worked as a nursery school teacher with many nurturing men, I’m happy to say that men are as capable of giving the same amount and even the same kind of love a woman can give. Can they breastfeed? No, not usually. I’ll never argue that men aren’t different from women–I’ve been on this earth long enough to know otherwise–but I think sameness is beside the point. You don’t have to the same body parts or even the same proclivities to be able to make decisions for yourself. I don’t think taking my husband’s last name is a sign of slavery; I think reading my post makes my reasons for keeping my name crystal clear. And I think everyone who knows me personally would agree: I’m a very happy person. Plus, I don’t think any decision I’ve made has ever felt unnatural–only others may believe they are. All that is to say I hope you find your dream girl who doesn’t do anything you’d deem “feminist crap.” And if everything she does is her choice, then I imagine she’ll be as happy as you are.

          • Rich Jimenez

            Exactly, “whatever is best for them”, not the symbiotic relationship with a man. That right there tells me everything I need to know. Feminist=selfish. No way a man’s love is the same as a mother’s. We haven’t experienced the connection you ladies have with a kid. Again, you’re missing my admiration. I did read your article, but I think it’s a front for some deeper reservations about taking his name. Now bear with me sister because I don’t want you to miss another compliment, but you come across as way too smart to have those reasons. I’m also pretty sure your readers would be able to connect the dots. The tradition of taking a man’s last name is connected to biology. Men are genetically predisposed to have egoes. That’s the piece you’re forgetting. “She won’t take my name?”, “what’s wrong with me?”. There wasn’t a conference thousands of years ago when gender roles were divided out. It just happened that way. Your 7th grade notebooks were nothing more than subconscious natural behaviors. Women want to be led, that’s why confidence is so sexy to you gals. Embrace it and see the great power of being a “traditional” woman.

          • mereditor

            I appreciate compliments, really, I do, but one that says I’m too smart to keep my name because people in the Holocaust died with it doesn’t feel very complimentary. I’m not sure what you think I’m hiding–I’m pretty forthright in all of my blog posts. Switching gears, saying that feminism = selfish because it gives women choice would indicate that men who make decisions that are best for themselves are selfish too, right? Also, just because a decision is best for oneself doesn’t mean in reaching that decision, the decision maker didn’t consider the impact it could have on the people he or she loves. The truth is what my last name is doesn’t affect anyone as much as it affects me–the same way my clothes, hair color and food choices don’t have the same bearing on others as they do on me, even though they may bug some (I do wear a lot of purple). I don’t expect Paul to change his last name to mine, as much as I would like him to, because the change would affect him more than it would me. I don’t think that makes him selfish. As for a mother’s love vs. a father’s, I don’t think not carrying a child in one’s uterus precludes one from feeling love for that child fully. This would assert that adoptive mothers can’t love their adopted children the same way a biological mother can; women with both biological and adopted children would tell you otherwise (they’ve told me). Women don’t take men’s last names in many societies outside of the U.S., as the comments here show. Asserting that those men feel a blow to their egos because they’re genetically predisposed to that, well, I think you’re too smart for that.

          • Rich Jimenez

            You didn’t say choice, you said best choice for themselves first of all. Men that do the same are selfish. As far as your last comment about ego, that’s like me saying your emotions changing because of that time…, or being more in touch with your feelings than men are ridiculous and you’re too smart to do that. They’re connected to your biology. You simply can’t help it. I agree with your statement about a mother carrying a child but we’re on the wrong page. You view it as more while I view it as different. The symbolism of sharing a name effects a relationship. If you wanted to put it to a test you could tell your husband you’ve decided you’re so proud of him and want to be known as his wife to the world so you’re going to take his name. Then come back and say just kidding. That would be cruel because his reaction definitely wouldn’t be anything other than happy at first. Just because something is happening in other places as well doesn’t mean it isn’t having a negative effect on men. You’d have to perform a study to be able to make that claim. I’ve really enjoyed this discussion. I want to be clear that I don’t view you as the man-hating type of feminist, just a very smart woman that has let intellect get a little in the way of natural occurrences. A good example for you to read is the guy whose GF blew up at him when he didn’t want to wear rings after getting married in the other comments. She was okay with not taking his name though. A perfect quote made there was that both symbolize being “spoken for” but not in an ownership kind of way.

          • hunterrible

            Rich, you are a product of generations of patriarchal social reinforcement, training your “ego” to believe that certain gender dynamics are “natural.” The things you claim to be true for everyone are in fact only relevant to a small section of the world.

            In many countries like Spain, Portugal, and others colonized by Spaniards, women have kept their married names for hundreds of years, and children are given both names. Think about that: Men living in Spain have never assumed their wives would take their name after marriage.

            In the United States, we subscribe to a convention that was once law in England, which made women the legal property of their husbands upon marriage. (Google “coverture”) Though we outwardly profess to believe in marrying for love and emotional bonds, the name-changing tradition is a remnant of property ownership, and the fact that women had almost zero legal rights after marriage.

            Though opinions on a variety of marriage-related issues have been changing rapidly over the last hundred years (ie. the time period when women were finally allowed to vote), we still have many traditions that come from a time of stark inequality. And we may yet return to that inequality thanks to imaginative thinkers like you, Rich.

          • Rich Jimenez

            Certain gender dynamics are natural. I could never be a woman and you could never be a man. There’s good and bad aspects to both. Get over it and learn to embrace it. Stop buying the feminist’s lies.

          • Christina

            Do take the last name – Don’t take the last name… It’s really all a pointless argument. It’s all a matter of personal preference in a relationship. If it’s a “deal-breaker” for you – Go find someone who shares the same values and opinions as you. Any female who decides to keep her last name, for what ever reason that may be, let it be done. I really don’t get what all your fuss is about. I’m going to tell you that all men are different, and some of them see no significant value in your theory. While others feel more unsettled about it. Why? Simply because of cultural tradition, or it leads to some form of deep insecurity. Once again I say, if it’s a matter of cultural tradition – go find someone who cares about your opinion.

          • Adam

            why bother getting married at all live together have sex have kids who cares right ?

          • Chuckawobbly

            Stop seeing feminism as something that is simply there for your inconvenience. It’s not a woman’s fault that you are insecure and that you have bought into the lies perpetuated by the misogynistic MRA movement.

    • Chuckawobbly

      None of your ‘arguments’ anything to do with the real reason you supposedly ‘insist’ upon having a woman take your name. Men and women are different. Duh. Why don’t you take your woman’s last name to show you support her? Funny how your ‘logic’ is flawed. I’ve met lots of women who are feminists who are very happy. You are under the assumption that a woman has to have a man in order to be happy. Another reason why the divorce rate is so high because too many men assume they are God’s gift to women when really, it’s the other way around.

    • megerber

      I am a happy feminist. My boyfriend is a happy feminist. I have not dated a man who wasn’t a feminist in over 20 years. Of course men and women are different. That doesn’t mean they aren’t equal and it doesn’t mean I should have to change my name.
      My boyfriend also won’t ask my father’s permission to marry me, as it isn’t his to give. My father won’t give me away at the wedding as I am not someone’s property to give. Times change and forward thinking people change, too.

    • Jane

      I can see where you are coming from. To take on the guy’s last name can be very important and it’s good that you know yourself enough as to what is and isn’t a deal breaker.

      At some points in my life, I was adamant to keeping my name if I were to be married. It was for feminist reason. When I had my first serious relationship, I didn’t mind changing into his last name. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but it felt like the “right thing” to do. But now, specifically with the man I’m with, I’m looking forward to taking up his last name. When he would say, “Hey, Mrs. Hislastname” it always makes me all giddy inside until this day (We’ve been together for 4 yrs and we will be married soon). I am proud to have his last name because I want the world to know I’m his wife (Of course, it’s not the only way of showing it, but to me, it’s one of the ways). To me, taking his last name is very important, way more important than getting a creative proposal and an engagement ring (which I personally think is such a waste of money lol, but that’s another topic)

      I’m a career woman with a stable job, a side gig, co-founder/board member of a non-profit org. Now that I’ve registered so much under my current last name, I’m really starting to consider keeping it, just to avoid all the paperwork. I totally get where you are coming from with this mandate and feeling pride for taking your last name, but there are so much more things to consider outside the box. Keeping the maiden name isn’t always due to some “feminism crap”.

    • texassa

      It makes me sad that you think like this. I’m a feminist; and I am happy and proud to be one. I believe that women and girls deserve equal rights and opportunities to men and boys. I think that is a beautiful thing. I also value relationships and love being in a romantic partnership with a man (the right kind of man, of course). You are the type of man that I would never be interested in dating, because you are too hostile to the beliefs of others that may not fall in line with your life experience. The man I’m currently dating is amazing, but he initially had some opinions on gender and feminism that maybe weren’t too far off from yours. Honestly, I worried that it was going to be a deal breaker for me. We’ve had many mature discussions about issues on which we disagree over time, and we both have learned a lot from the other. Recently, he called himself a feminist in response to something his little sister shared. It was truly one of the times I’ve been proudest of him. I think there might be hope for you yet ;)

      • Rich Jimenez

        Hope for me means there’s something wrong with me. There’s not. Females deserve the same rights as men but that doesn’t mean that their roles can be interchanged. Get upset all you want but facts are facts. Being alpha isn’t misogyny. I’m not bothered that you would find me undesirable. I wouldn’t be interested in someone that can’t see a high view of them staring right back in their face.

        • texassa

          I’m not upset at all. But for future reference, females:males and women:men. When you compare “females” and “men” in the same sentence, it actually says a lot about your perspective. Beyond that, it’s inaccurate. You’re obviously talking about human women. Females would include female turtles, female trees, and female aliens.

        • texassa

          Oh and just curious, in line with these facts you reference, when I am smarter, more successful, more athletic and earn more than a man, is he still “alpha” over me? And how exactly do your facts determine this?

  • Mary

    I’ve never really considered taking my husband’s last name if I ever got married. Name changing just seems inconvenient and confusing. My father died when my brother and I were young, so I would like to keep his name. I don’t get the “family cohesion” argument, because ever since my mother remarried, I have had a different last name from her. It hasn’t caused many problems and I don’t think of her as any less my mother.

    I once dated a man whose mother had the same first name as me. If I had married him and taken their last name, I think that would have been a very strange situation.

  • Chuckawobbly

    I’ve never understood why women continue to take their husband’s last name and name their children with their husband’s last name. This is just another throwback to the times when women were viewed as property. Maybe men should start taking women’s last names but I bet they won’t because they are very well aware of this property ‘tradition’.

    • Adam

      i don’t really understand why we even get married period. Why not just go around having sex and kids to everyone you meet. Isn’t it kind of pointless to get married ?

  • Fiona

    This is what I said to my sister in law when she “reminded me” that I hadn’t changed my name on facebook: “I did not get married because I was bored with my name”.

    • mereditor

      I like that response!

  • Simone

    The day before my husband spontaneously proposed, he asked me, won’t you be so happy one day to be Mrs. His last name? I had told him many times before I would never change my name.

    This was a decision that I made in kindergarten, when I realized my mom had the same last name as my grandparents before she had my dad’s name. I couldn’t understand why my mom had to change her name and my dad did not. In my 6 year old mind, I thought the idea of it was stupid.
    My husband proposed anyway, with me later learning he just assumed I would give into societal and his own pressures to change my name. As the wedding approached he had to come to terms with it or he could have called it off.
    It has been a subject of discontent with our marriage, I can’t lie and say he is happy about it. He will say to me it’s a matter of being proud of who you are married to (well how do you show that you are married to me?) and that you love me enough to change your name (well what sacrifices are you making to show me that?).
    Another sore spot is my mother-in-law who will tell people she purposely addresses envelopes to us as Mr and Mrs His last name just to get under my skin. She even came to our home a few months shortly after out marriage and only addressed me as Mrs. His Last name. It caused a huge fall out that pretty much destroyed any sort of newly wed bliss. She definitely didn’t give our young marriage a very good start by her meddling.
    I hear things like tradition and the man is the protector. Well, I’m not traditional and neither is our marriage. I bought my own home prior to ever even being engaged, maintained a good and stable job & have jumped head-first into any opportunity that would help me as a professional, oh and now I am a graduate student and still work 40 hours a week.

    My husband jumps from job to job and was living in a rented bedroom in someone’s home when we were dating. I manage all the bills, the shopping, cleaning, cooking, on top of my 40 hour work week and graduate school.
    I love my husband. But I obviously had myself together and didn’t need to get married. I chose to get married.
    Just like marriage is a choice, my name is a choice.

    • mereditor

      Here, here

  • Darcie Owens

    I’m getting married in a few months and not changing my name. I live in a community where my fiancé’s last name is well known and respected (the county is named after his family), and the only thing he’s had to say about my choice is that he respects it and that he would never ask me to change it for him, but he thinks my career would benefit from taking his name.
    His mom went on a rant about how I am giving up “literally millions of dollars” by not changing my name, just because of “my convictions” (imagine the word conviction said as condescendingly as possible). It was pretty insulting. I have a law degree from a good university. I will do fine career-wise with whatever last name I choose. And I’m not marrying him to get a boost in profit.

    • Bob Evans

      Well out of respect for him you should at least remove the hyphen. Legally, just tack his last name behind yours so that your own last name becomes your middle name.

      • Rey M.

        Well, then, shouldn’t he also tack her last name behind his? Isn’t that only fair? I mean, both sides should respect each other, it shouldn’t be one-sided right?

  • Deb Rubolino

    I used my husband’s last name for several years, but took it back after 9-11-01, when all our legal documents had to have the same last name to renew a driver’s license. I had never changed my Social Security card, and didn’t WANT to. I had earned money toward SS under MY name, and wanted it to reflect that. Plus, we are from different ethnic backgrounds, and I love being Italian. I had to actually pay and go before a JUDGE to get my OWN name back, but I’m glad I did! Men do not have to give up their link to their heritage, so why should women? I love my last name, and I’m glad I took it back. My husband said, “As long as you’re my wife, I don’t care WHAT you call yourself”! His father, however, was NOT happy about it, but I’m not married to HIM! Women in Italy do NOT change their names. I think we should change the custom in the U.S., and give kids BOTH of their parents’ names; then no one could say there is “confusion” about last names. They have half of each of our genes, so why do they lost the family name of the mother? There are no boys to carry my family name. If my son had it as part of his, it would live on.

  • Killackey

    Me and my boyfriend are thinking of getting married sometime in the future (not anytime soon), but this discussion just crossed my mind. My full name including my middle seems to have a melodic flow with multiple syllables in each name. My boyfriend’s is a short one syllable word. Frase. My last name is Killackey. I would love to take his last name if it fit with my name, but it doesn’t.
    We won’t be discussing this topic for a while, but it’s a situation made more difficult than it should ever be.

  • Bob Evans

    Women actually think that most men want to get married…Only the love sick puppies and men who’ve simp’d out want to get married! There’s nothing that a marriage can provide that a committed boy friend/girl friend relationship can’t provide for a man. The law protects women the most in failed marriages, so what kind of man would subject his financial means and his piece of mind taking care of a woman for the rest of her life who’d be fucking other men, in addition to taking care of his own seeds? Marriage is a business arrangement in the court of law first and foremost. Love don’t mean nothing when a woman decides to take a man to the cleaners! So fellas, why get married? And yes I do consider myself a Christian! Men and woman should agree that “Hey we love each other, so if you’ll be loyal to me then I’ll be loyal to you.”

    Failed marriages are set up to fill the prison systems, especially black men. And the penalties against men when failed marriages go to court are becoming more severe in judgments against men, in favor of the ex wife. And too, there’s just too many women out here who’re just so quick to get a divorce. All-in-all the risks of marriage far outweighs the benefits that a man get’s from it. from a man’s standpoint.

    ~Real talk!

    • Chuckawobbly

      More MRA misogyny. Are you one of those MGTOW’s? If so, then go your own way and shut up. No one cares to hear your incessant whinging and hatred for women. Yes of course, it’s just AWFUL that some men actually LOVE women and want to marry them. We can all see that you will NEVER EVER have that problem! Lucky ladies!

    • texassa

      Hi (again) Bob. I am sorry you have not had much luck with women in your life. I am unmarried but have had lots of fun and fulfilling romantic relationships with boyfriends over the years. Sometimes, they made more money than me. Sometimes, they didn’t. A few of them wanted to get married but, unfortunately, I realized I did not. I now am dating a wonderful man that I may or may not ever marry. I do think about a future with him where we would build a home, life and family together. He would make an amazing dad. One thing I worry about is that I believe he earns less money than I do. I worry about supporting a family; I worry about making ends meet; I worry about protecting him and ensuring that he and any future children of ours have medical insurance/care and anything they need. If we do (jointly) decide to get married, I may or may not legally change my last name. This is a bridge I will cross when I get there. I realize lots of women do choose to change their names. I realize some do not. Some people have children outside of a marriage. Some families get divorced. The important thing to remember is that when you go online and write weird ranting posts complaining about how women suck, take money from men, are complaining hags, and are just generally crappy, the only person who comes out looking bad is you. Whatever the reason for your terrible mood, I sincerely hope you pull out of it. There are lots of nice people in the world, even women. I encourage you to join us and become a pleasant piece of the world yourself.

  • Bob Evans

    When it comes to marriage…Ladies!!! Out of respect for him you should at least remove the hyphen. Legally, just tack his last name behind yours so that your own last name becomes your middle name. That way you keep your own identity. That’s how it should be done! Remove the hyphen! The hyphen just looks like a convenient fix for a possible failure, and that ain’t how you want to begin a marriage!

    • texassa

      Bob!! Out of respect for her just tag her name behind yours so that your own last name becomes your middle name. Just do it! Start the marriage off right! Otherwise you are terrible, obviously ;)

  • Kirk

    How many women are ok with their new husbands not wearing a ring or being “in a relationship” on facebook? Just curious.

    • texassa

      I would want my husband to wear a wedding ring to represent our marriage, just as I would. I wouldn’t expect him to change his name.

  • texassa

    Thanks for writing this. I am not sure if I would change my name upon marrying, and it upsets me that there is anyone who would have a problem with a woman keeping her own name. I mean, even writing that phrase is silly to me: “keeping her own name.” It’s her name! Why should anyone else have a say in it – even her spouse!

  • heartkentucky

    It has been a strange day; and an even stranger two and a half years, I’m coming to realize. I had one of those “ah ha!” moments this afternoon, where I finally woke up, put my foot down, and said “this is who I am,” with no excuses or apologies. My partner’s response (all though not so different than usual) finally made me realize, there are just too many fundamental values we will never share.

    The discussion came up, as it periodically does, about marriage, kids, and our future together in general. It is always a fruitless venture that ends in mutual frustration and dissatisfaction.

    The main point for this forum, of course, is the Last Name Issue. In this case, not only do I question the legitimacy, practicality, and usefulness of the institution of marriage in the 21st century, but I am also decidedly for keeping my last name in the event I ever cave to a proposal. I have long contemplated even changing my current last name to my mother’s maiden name. As for kids? Well, I don’t see why they shouldn’t share both their parent’s names. Unfortunately, this overall issue is a line in the sand, where my partner and I stand firmly on opposite sides.

    Today, I think the “no brainier” I’ve been consciously ignoring for the past two and a half years could finally be ignored no longer. That being: Why on Earth would I want to be with a man, who not only can’t empathize or sympathize with my connection to my name as a basic part of my personal identity, but who does not even respect my stance enough to acknowledge it as a legitimate or important consideration for keeping my last name at all? The answer is I can’t. And today, I said “I won’t.”

    The truth is, I think, that even if you decide to take your partner’s last name, if your partner really sees you as a whole person unto yourself (and not an object or an extension of themselves), they will respect that decision as a Choice of your personhood, not a “joke,” or “an attempt at nonconformity,” or some form of “feminist embitterment” as my partner so often ridiculed my position to be.

    Goodness Gracious; why have I waited this long to let go?

  • Leanne

    When my mom first married my dad she didn’t change her last name and it was confusing to my siblings when they were little. My mom finally changed it to my dad’s last name and she’s been fine with it ever since.



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  • BigMike1285

    What I really hate in this argument is the how hypocritical the feminists are being and they don’t even realize it. That last name that you are so hell bent on keeping is a direct result of this whole “wife taking husband’s last name” system that you despise so much. That last name that you were born with is from your father. If that father is not in the picture, it’s from your mother, who got it from her father. Any way you slice it, that last name of yours is from a man. Let’s face it, men are the ones who have always, and should always carry on the family name. I don’t get how you can want to save a name that comes directly from a practice that you hate so much. It makes no sense to me.

    • mereditor

      I don’t personally hate this practice–I just wanted to keep the name I had for 25 years before getting married (and don’t think people should be so bothered by my choice, as I’m not bothered by anyone’s choice to change their names if that’s what they want to do!). No matter who had my last name before I did, it’s mine and I didn’t want to lose it (for all the reasons I outlined here…years ago). And while inheriting a last name from the father has been the norm in the U.S., it isn’t in many other countries–even Western ones.

  • MGT2014

    I have a slightly different scenario to this which is bothering me. My fiance says she wants to keep her last name; which is absolutely fine by me and I support it 100%. She was originally going to take my name (her choice) but she has decided she wants to keep her maiden name, largely due to her dad passing a few years ago.
    I have also agreed that any kids we may have will have both mine and her surnames hyphenated. However, she has now decided that we both should hyphenate our names in order to have the exact same surname as our kids. I don’t want to change my name and this has upset her. I feel like I now have been put under a lot of pressure to change my name. I have been called a chauvinist as I don’t want to change or add to my surname. She has made it clear she doesn’t have a desire to take my last name but I don’t have the desire to take her’s either. She will only change it to hyphenated version as I would like my kids to have my surname within theirs.
    She is so adamant that she has to have the exact same surname as her kids, even though they would have both mine and her surname within theirs. Therefore I have been given ultimatums that involve any future kids take her maiden name or I change mine so they can have both our names hyphenated or she takes my name and resents me for it. I’m struggling with how to cope with this; I don’t see the problem with keeping our names as it is and our kids having both our names; but this isn’t good enough for her. I’ve been told I don’t understand, but I have never put pressure on her to change her name. I want to keep my name for similar reasons as her, because it means something to me. Am I being unreasonable for not wanting to change my last name?