My Fiance Wants Me To Change My Last Name – I Don’t Want To?!

Wednesday – Reader Question


I could use some support or advice.  I am engaged to a man I have been with for four years.  We really love and support each other.  Last night I mentioned I would never change my last name (I really didn’t think it was a big deal to him.) Well it is a big deal.  <!–more–> He got really upset and is not okay with this.  I hate the idea of changing my own name – I mean your name is your identity.  (well to me.)  I am a reasonable and compromising person, but he is not letting it go and I do not want to compromise on this.

- Suggestions?, Dallas, TX

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  1. My partner and I had the same exact discussion. He felt I wasn’t committed to being a family with him if I didn’t change my last name. He also felt like it sent a message that I did not want to be a part of his family- couldn’t be further from the truth.

    After a lot of discussion, I finally asked him if he would ever change his name. His answer was no and he clearly had never thought about it from my perspective.

    Now he’s ok with me keeping my last name, but just thinks it will be difficult.

    I’m ok with that and I’m definitely keeping my last name.

  2. Coming from someone who has been married less than a year, from the get go before I was married I had desided I would change my name. My husband is always the supportive type and thus I knew he’d be okay with whatever desidion I made. Once I was married and the name change had fully taken effect, I was surprised at how much it affected me and my perceived identity. Even recently I’ve caught myself starting to slip with my maiden name. I don’t regret my choice one bit simply because it was my choice. In your situation I fear that if you do marry your fiance how this disagreement is settled will set relationship dynamics for how future conflict is settled. I hope the two of you have to good discussion in which you both understand each other’s point of view and neither feels ignored or rail-roaded.

  3. Will he agree if you just keep yours and add his? In Spain, where I come from, wifes never ever change their names when getting married, and sons and daughters have both surnames, one from mum and one from dad. We all have two surnames, but this way is not as patriarchal as the anglo-saxon system is.
    The old tradition stablishes a kind of belonging to a man, first, your dad, now your husband. I think nowadays your surname belongs to you, and shouldn’t make you feel as if you belong to anyone. If it makes you feel weird, he must understand.

  4. I personally would have a hard time changing my last name. For me, it is a tie to my father’s family because I am very close to him. My father gave me my full name, and he only had two daughters.

    I would say do some real soul-searching as to why you feel your identity would be gone if you gave up your last name. For example, do you like the way your name flows? Is it a unique name? What ties does your name carry? Is it that you just like the way your initials pan out? (For example if your initials spelled out a word such as “Met”. If they spell out “A$$” I would consider changing your last name).

    Also: Do you not like his last name? What connotations do either of your last names bring to you?

    I would also have the discussion of if you were to have children, what would their last names be.

    I wouldn’t dismiss your fiancee as being in the dark ages quite just yet. Maybe to him, the gesture of changing your last name is more symbolic of you accepting his care, or accepting his clan.

    While compromises have existed by hyphenating names, I (personally, if I was to get married) would make my last name my second middle name, and my husband’s name my last name. I would explain to my future husband that while I love him, and respect him as a man, I couldn’t bear to break the ties to my father, a man that I am so emotionally close to. I would also explain that his (my finace) also carries important emotional ties, since it reflects an important stage in life, and my link to him.

    I hope this isn’t confusing. This is the only solution I could think of in my mind because I would be in the same predicament if I was to get married.

  5. She should stand her ground. If she doesn’t want to change her last name, he shouldn’t make her. If he can’t get over it or compromise, then getting married isn’t the right decision for them. This will be a bone of contention between the two for a long time if they do.

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