AIBU to be surprised that in 2013 people are up in arms about a woman keeping her surname on marriage?

(239 Posts)
ComposHat Thu 31-Jan-13 23:45:48

For clarity's sake, it is worth stating that I am a gentleman mumsnetter who is due to get married in the spring.

My fiancée is keeping her surname after the marriage. It wasn't something we'd discussed, it was just something both of us assumed that we would both keep our surnames on marriage.

Anyway over the last few weeks I've been shocked at some people's reaction to this.

My fiancée met her Aunt who was over from Australia who asked her what her surname would be after marriage, to which she responded 'same as it is now.' her Aunt was a bit dumbfounded and her Aunt's husband who is a bit of a stereotypical unreconstructed Aussie male, starting going on about 'what sort of bloke would stand for that' I'm amazed he hasn't put his foot down' etc etc.

A male friend of my parents had a similar reaction. He asked my mum how she felt about there being another Mrs Hat in the family and when she explained there wouldn't be, he was beside himself.

Am I really surprised that people have such definite opinions on such things and feel entitled to express them to us in quite vehement terms?

ZombiesAreClammyDodgers Fri 01-Feb-13 00:51:51

Obviously ms and not Ma!! grin

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 00:53:09

Actually that reminds me we used to visit dp's gran in an OAP home, mil would sign in herself and dp and the children and me all with only his surname, I would cross it out and sign in with my surname and the children with the double barreled name... Petty yes but god she drove me mad with it!

ComposHat Fri 01-Feb-13 00:53:26

Cheers for the congrats everyone.

I really have no problem with a couple deciding on whatever surname or combination of surnames they prefer, but I am surprised how engrained the idea of 'thou must take your husband's name' is in some people's mind.

I mean it is hardly a brand spanking new idea to keep your surname on marriage and surely someone who hasn't spent the last 30 years or so in coma will have come across it happening before.

musicposy Fri 01-Feb-13 00:54:05

I think it's probably the fact that SIL has categorically (and very loudly - she's quite forceful!) stated that the children will have her name, and not his at all, that has probably upset my parents most.

But I absolutely agree with this -

"I just think its one of those traditions that has continued but there is no reason for it to continue. My children will give their children whatever name they choose and I don't think I will be bothered tbh."

And yes, my children will be free to have whatever name they like. I don't think it would bother me. They could change to my former name, or add it, but I don't think they will as it doesn't mean so much to them. My eldest is not far off 18 so I certainly don't have a say in that any more! I could add it back to mine, too, you're right. It just might seem a bit odd after all these years and I suspect I would upset DH's parents - he's the only son. I also quite like the connection I have with MIL of us both being Mrs X. But, again, that is my choice just as it is SIL's choice to keep her name.

I do find it an interesting discussion, though, because it is weird to know a feeling is unreasonable and yet still feel it. I suspect a lot of people somehow take it as some sort of slight without checking themselves to tell themselves they are not acting rationally.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 00:54:54

I go by miss or ms.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 00:57:30

I guess its just ingrained and has been taken for granted for so long that it is assumed to be the 'right' thing to do but once you question it you can see its not but that emotional response is hard to overcome?

TheDoctrineOfSciAndNatureClub Fri 01-Feb-13 01:02:33

YANBU. It's weird which people take this in their stride and which do not (looking at you, DM, with your "hope I don't forget what to write on letters" - well, do what you've done my whole life, hey?)

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 01:05:36

I tell you what else is annoying, if dp and I ever do get married then we have to re register the madthings! They will get a new birth certificate showing dp and I as married, but we weren't married when we had them. I have no idea why this is necessary?! Will it undo their 'bastard' status?!! Very kids and we have to play for it if course!

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 01:05:56

Very odd not very kids.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 01:06:37

And pay not play! Autocorrect gone mad.

AdoraBell Fri 01-Feb-13 01:06:48

In the UK I was Mrs Me-OH. DDs are Me-OH too, much to the PIL's disgust. In Chile I am automatically Señora Me, in Spanish it's always Father-Mother until marriage when it changes to Husband-Father, which the DCs get too. When people see DD's documents they assume it's Mr Me and Mrs OH, and address him accordinglygrin. He genuinely doesn't object now that he's got his head around it.

MIL went as far as registering my DDs at the Drs in the UK under OH's name despite knowing what their name is.

stickygotstuck Fri 01-Feb-13 01:15:30

Firstly, congratulations Compo!

This gets on my nerves. I did not change my name when I got married. It never occurred to me I would and, frankly, I find it unbelievable that people still do such a thing, I think it's sexist and something out of the dark ages. There, I said it! And I don't get the 'preserving the family name' line at all. You mean your family as opposed to mine? Er... why?

LRD is right, some people do seem to take it personally when you don't. I would not dream of telling someone else what I think about them changing their names upon marriage (as above, other than to a bunch of strangers on the net grin), and certainly not without being asked directly and by someone I am very familiar with, and being at pains not to offend them. However, people do see fit to tell me what they think of me and DH for not having changed it.

My answer is always "Well, DH didn't want to change his, what was I supposed to do, beat him into submission?". DD's name is double-barrelled (as is mine) and PILs chose to ignore it. In fact, I am convinced they don't even know how to spell it [rolls eyes].

The thing I just don't understand is the amount of people who have asked me 'So you haven't changed your name. How does that work then?' Honestly, you need to be told how it works? confused It works by not spending ages and a fortune telling banks and passport offices, the DVLA, work colleagues, clients, etc. that you have a new name. No?

zipzap Fri 01-Feb-13 01:20:23

I've kept my name because I like it better than dh's surname but even after being married for nearly 10 years, I still get post addressed to Mrs <dh surname>. or occasionally to Mrs <my surname>. Very rarely does dh get called mr <my surname>. If I'm asked, I give Ms My surname. I'm not married to my father so I'm not Mrs My surname yet as I am married it's nice to move away from Miss and so be a bit more grown up (that makes me sound about 14 and desperate to be old, I know grin).

However, it's amazing the way that lots of institutions are not set up to deal with it. My bank I was able to register my marriage certificate and it is on file electronically and so when I get cheques to Mrs <dh surname> I can put them in, no problem. On the other hand, when I tried to put such a cheque into our joint account which is at DH's bank (yes, I'm looking at you, Natwest) they said that the only way I could deposit such a cheque is to take my passport and marriage certificate in each time (so no quick deposits then), they couldn't have it on file and see that sometimes people guess deliberately get my name wrong. Their loss, means all my cheques (not lots but probably a couple every christmas or birthday - always the same people!). It's not like it is a very rare thing, it's something they should be able to sort out in their systems. And other things where they automatically assume that if you are married you have the same name and you can't change it on the system if you don't.

I would have like to have had my surname used for my dc's names as well as dh's as my parents only had 2 girls and so the name is about to die out. However, as dh was very ill around the time ds1 was born, it was as much as we could do to choose a name and we never even got on to talking about surnames. When we came to register ds2, I said I wanted to include it - I suddenly remembered at the registry office (again, we hadn't got round to discussing it beforehand because we were still trying to sort out first names for him and still didn't really agree/decided - we both thought we had agreed something different for the middle name so when the registrar asked what the name was going to be, we gave different answers. Not good when you have already booked a date right at the very end of the time available legally to do it!). DH did a flat absolutely not to including my surname (even as a middle name rather than a surname) because ds1 didn't have it and he didn't think it fair for one of them to have it and not both, and he didn't think it was worth the effort of changing ds1's name by deed poll, that it would cause complications for him later hmm. In hindsight, I wish I'd stuck to my guns and got it included as a double barrelled surname so both kids had both our surnames but I was ill at the time and time was running out and we were disagreeing about the middle name too - something had to give and it was that.

dh's brother got married to his second wife, who happened to have the same first name as his first wife. She didn't want to be a 'Version 2' or discover that stuff got sent to the wrong wife (not remarried, had kept her name, lived in the same place). So at their wedding BIL had changed his name the day before and dropped his surname as his middle name was one that you could use as a surname or first name. Then when he got married SIL automatically got his new name (it wasn't a surprise to her, they had decided jointly to do it and had looked for a surname they both liked, this was their joint favoured solution) However when FIL realised what was happening he subsequently didn't speak to BIL for a couple of years on the basis that he was so upset that his family name was being discarded.

A friend of mine married a while back, and not only did she keep her surname, her dh took her surname as well.

The family fall-out was massive and there were fireworks aplenty, but they've all come to terms with it now.

Selvedge Fri 01-Feb-13 03:11:44

(aside) Musicposy, it is 2013...

Selvedge Fri 01-Feb-13 03:20:11

Although it wasn't last summer. Apologies Musicposy.

OP,YANBU. But this response does not surprise me. Lots of people are idiots.

utopian99 Fri 01-Feb-13 05:21:20

Just to add a possible angle to this, i was engaged before i met and married my now dh; we never got married (i called it off,) and are now still good friends and even went to each other's weddings, although this is maybe beside the point.

ANYWAY when I was engaged the first time I remember feeling more and more strongly as the day approached that I didn't want to take his name, and we agreed we'd make up a joint new one. I told friends who asked (and yes there were many) that this was because we would be starting a new family, and why should I become 'his' in a property/old fashioned/anti feminist way, but my TRUE reason was because I really did not like his parents and much of his wider family, and the idea of sharing their name made me think of being bound to them and to a lesser extent him, and really uncomfortable. This amongst more intrinsic other reasons lead me to call things off, and i have never admitted the name issue i had as it seemed so petty but really pointed to a more serious problem.

When i married dh i wanted to take his name, partly because I saw it as a semi-romantic thing (yes i know I'm not his possession, much as I'm also not now his responsibility to look after/keep). The reason for my long waffly response OP, is that although this was personal and I'm sure not the case with you, maybe the reason people feel the right to express their views so strongly is that they wonder about underlying issues which although your fiance doesn't have, I certainly did, so they worry for you...

That being said, it's none of their business so YANBU to think their behavior should be curtailed! As someone else said, weddings bring out the opinionated side to people like nothing else!

SkinnybitchWannabe Fri 01-Feb-13 07:37:45

I was a dumb naive 21 year old when I automatically took my hubbys name when we got married.
Im now a 37 year old woman who hates that surname with a passion and I wish I'd got him to take mine (which I know he would've done)
I really should find out if we could change it. My 3ds prefer my old surname as well!!

SkinnybitchWannabe Fri 01-Feb-13 07:39:10

I forgot the all important YANBU OP. grin

ledkr Fri 01-Feb-13 07:44:51

I didn't change my name but dh's GPS ignore this and even address mail to mr and mrs ledkrs dh!! I consequently have never been able to cash any if my birthday cheques from them.
These are not doddering old people they are active intelligent people in their 70s.
I never mention it. I wouldn't give them the satisfaction.

redexpat Fri 01-Feb-13 08:03:41

It's astonishing isn't it? I kept my name and my title. I was a lefty feminist before I got married, and I still am.

Also I gave up enough for this man, I am NOT giving up my identity too!

DS has DHs name. We decided that a British first name and danish surname would probably be the best combination.

BornInACrossFireHurricane Fri 01-Feb-13 08:06:30

We both double barrelled by deed poll when we got married, as this seemed the most equal thing to do for us (we knew we both wanted the same name as our children when we had them, and giving up my name was a feminist issue for me personally).

My husband had various ridiculous comments about adding my name, and the fact I was keeping mine (including that I didn't think his name was good enough for me) and that he was clearly under the thumb grin

Just ignore the comments OP. Congratulations smile

msrisotto Fri 01-Feb-13 08:09:36

I find it weird that people find it weird too. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the older generations in my family have ignored my wishes and refer to me as Mrs. Hisname anyway. Infuriating!

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 01-Feb-13 08:10:05

We kind of did it the other way. DH took my name.

Computer systems at bank etc really didn't like that.

TomDudgeon Fri 01-Feb-13 08:12:50

What skinny bitch said
I was 21 and didn't have the knowledge or balls that I have now at 32
Not sure what I would have done as my 'maiden' (I hate that more than the name change) was a boys name so double barrelling was odd.
I did suggest to dh that I kept my name but he was funny about it.
Weirdly since then I found out that his father changed his surname as soon as he was old enough as the family name was so awful, so there was was no history behind it either.
I've been Dhs surname for 10 years now so I'm used to it but I do regret not keeping my own. Ds1 has it a middle name instead, I kind of hope that that might be the start of a new tradition and though the surname might one say stop, my old surname may continue as a family name.

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