So you just got married. While it may be all butterflies, kisses, and all of that other gloriously mushy stuff right now, if you’re struggling with the idea of changing your name, you need to seriously sit down and put your thinking cap on, sister. Some men find the notion of keeping your maiden name offensive, while others couldn’t give a damn. If you’ve found yourself in the former part of the equation, don’t pull your hair out just yet. You’re not the only woman wrestling with the great name change debate, and there are several options available in order to give you peace of mind.
Probably the most common solution to the name change dilemma, keeping your last name with his hyphenated after it is a simple solution that can satisfy both partners. If the hyphenated name turns out to be a tongue-twister or longer than you’d like it to be (Jacobson-Jingleheimer, you poor thing you), maybe you can explore a different option – and keep your dignity as well.
Maiden in the Middle
Instead of being stuck with the nightmarish “Jacobson-Jingleheimer” on every piece of identification you own, you can always consider changing your middle name to your maiden name and adopting his last name. This way, you won’t technically have to write both names down everywhere you go, but it can be a comfort knowing that your maiden name is still a part of you.
Pass it On Baby
Pass your maiden name on to one of your children, using it as a first or middle name, while taking on his last name. Your kids will probably appreciate this hand-me-down way more than those mothballed clothes from the 70’s and 80’s.
Keep your maiden name for professional purposes and use his for social purposes. This means that you could officially change your name to his, but still use yours professionally. The only road block to this option is that people may get confused and not know what to call you, which may revert to them just saying “Hey you.” Not very becoming. But if you can gracefully handle the confusion and steer people straight, it can actually work.
Channel your inner 5-year-old and make up a new name that the both of you can share. It can be hyphenated, short, long, something totally ridiculous – it’s your call! With this option, the two of you can put your heads together to come up with something you’re both comfortable with.
Put a modern spin on things- keep your name and have him adopt your name. Think this option is totally ridiculous? Well, honey, ask yourself why it seems so odd to you. Society has brainwashed us into thinking that we absolutely must take his name. This is 2012 people! Suggest this option to your hubby; the worst he could say is no. Spice things up. Avoid the norm. And if he does accept and his buddies call him “whipped,” smile with confidence and know that he was so open and willing to accept your suggestion. Now that’s manly.
His and Hers
You keep your name. He keeps his. Avoid the whole name-changing process and just stick to the names you’ve had your whole lives. This may cause some confusion as far as what name your children will take on and how people will choose to handle the difference, but if you’re both confident and comfortable with your decision to keep your names, all of that other “confusing stuff” will just become background noise.
Traditional All the Way
Take his name, and in doing so, unite with 90% of women getting hitched in present day. Probably the most convenient option (you won’t have to explain thousands of times that yes, you are married and little Jack is in fact your child), adopting his name can be seen as an act of true love and dedication. If he’s already given you his love and a diamond ring, it’s worth it to consider taking his name, too. However, just because it’s convenient doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the right option for you.
The best things in life are rarely easy to obtain, so sit down, relax (wine anyone?), and go over what is most important to you – and to him. With a little back-and-forth about how you both feel about the topic at hand, the two of you can come up with a solution that puts both of you at ease.
Kristy Kravitsky graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in English. She writes clever articles for the web, including determining diamond value and resolving newlywed dilemmas.