About my name and ILs

(70 Posts)
PukousMucous Thu 29-Aug-13 17:02:27

I wonder if I'm being over sensitive about.

When I got married I didn't change my name, I discussed it with DH and agreed that I would if he would but he wouldn't so neither of us did. Both of us very happy with this arrangement. I discussed it with my in-laws, not to ask permission but just to let them know which I thought was courteous. Their response was what it is to everything "doesn't bother us."

I agreed with DH that DCs would have his name and in-laws duly informed.

Now, three years on they persist in referring to me using my husbands surname. I feel less aggrieved when they address things to both my husband and I as Mr and Mrs DHs surname. But when they send me a birthday card it is addressed to pukous DHs surname. They have never referred to me by my actual name the whole time I've been married.

Reading this back it's a bit of a first world problem but just wondered if I was being a bit U to be pissed off by this.

specialsubject Thu 29-Aug-13 17:05:56

some things you'll never change. It was my 21st wedding anniversary the other day and the cards still arrived addressed to Mr and Mrs Hisname.

but they sent me cards which was most thoughtful. I know what my name is, use it in real life and am on first name terms with all the rellies so it doesn't matter!

pick your battles. Just introduce yourself by the name you want.

summertimeandthelivingiseasy Thu 29-Aug-13 17:06:56

My grandmother used to do that.

But she died 10 years ago at the age of 90.

Definitely U if there are no bank notes in the card........

elfycat Thu 29-Aug-13 17:07:16

I have this with my PIL. I've used the 'ignore, ignore,, ignore rant a bit at DH' method to good effect.

I did however return the cheque written to 'S. MrElfycat', 8 years after the wedding, as it's not my name, nor the name on my bank account. We now deal in cash.

I figure they're a) ignorant, b) stupid, c) combination of both or d) fucking ignorant and stupid, but they've got past retirement age and you can't teach old dogs and all that...

Youhaventseenme Thu 29-Aug-13 17:08:44

That would drive me mental.

The first three letters of my maiden name are the same as the first three of my married name, my snidey SIL said very loudly at a family dinner oh look Youhavent has kept the last two letters of her her maiden name and taken the first three of Bro's.

Wine taken: I replied, eh no I haven't, I have never felt the need to be defined by a man.

It went down like a fart in a spacemans suit. grin

Youhaventseenme Thu 29-Aug-13 17:10:32

Oh and meant to say 21 years later, I am still using my maiden name I only changed it at the GP's because the receptionists seemed unable to compute two different names for DS and I.

JoinYourPlayfellows Thu 29-Aug-13 17:12:02

"my snidey SIL said very loudly at a family dinner oh look Youhavent has kept the last two letters of her her maiden name and taken the first three of Bro's."

That's pretty funny.

I can't believe you replied to it the way you did. She must have been confused

NotYoMomma Thu 29-Aug-13 17:13:58

have you actually brought it up and reminded them?

PukousMucous Thu 29-Aug-13 17:17:47

DH is convinced they are joking and would be really upset if I bought it up directly but I have had conversations about how people get confused with DS and I having different names etc.

I think pick your battles is the best advice really. Will prob not say anything in reality cos I'm not sure it's worth it but it does drive me a bit bonkers.

BrokenSunglasses Thu 29-Aug-13 17:17:53

YANBU to be mildly irritated by it, but it really is just a minor irritation and you should let it go. It's really not worth causing any bad feeling over.

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 17:20:17

Address all their post as Mr & Mrs MILsMaidenName

Youhaventseenme Thu 29-Aug-13 17:23:05

When my sister wants to wind me up, she addresses her envelopes to me, as Mrs malename Dh's surname. grin

RegTheMonkey Thu 29-Aug-13 17:44:00

I kept my own name - tax, bank, passport, the lot. ILs not happy. They refuse to address anything to me in my own name. They get round it by just putting 'Reg' on the envelope and then the address. They won't write 'Reg Monkey'. When it's a joint thing, like a Christmas card, then they write 'Husband and Reg' and then the address. I couldn't give a flying one what they think.

waltzingmathilda Thu 29-Aug-13 17:50:27

Look, this sort of thread arrives almost daily.

It is polite social etiquette to address correspondence to Mr and Mrs Jim Smith - think about Mrs Michael Tindall - you do know her under a far more known name - but nonetheless that is who she is socially.

Professionally and individually is a different matter.

To put it in a wider perspective - I would expect a Christmas card to Mr and Mrs Jim Smith, I would expect my own birthday card to Ms Jane Brown.

Of course there will be the usual backlash of people who dislike anything remotely to do with etiquette. That is your choice of course, but don't try and dumb the rest of us down to that level.

luxemburgerli Thu 29-Aug-13 17:51:33

I have a feeling that I would have this problem with my ILs, but we moved to Switzerland and if the post is addressed to someone not registered as living here it gets sent back by the post office grin

Mr DHname is fine
Mrs Myname is fine

Mr Myname = not at this address
Mrs DHname = not at this address


And waltzing - sure its etiquette but it's massively outdated and also offensive.

Vintagebeads Thu 29-Aug-13 18:08:41

my inlaws did this untill we had DC who have both our names same as myself.My dd corrects them and said really nanny why cant you remember our names grin Its shamed her to stop

Jan49 Thu 29-Aug-13 19:04:45

I kept my own surname but my ILS addressed all cards to us as "Mr A Smith and Jan" or just "Jan". They claimed this was because they couldn't remember how to spell my surname (for over 20 years). After we split up, they continued to send birthday cards and Xmas cards to me for a few years and for the first time they found they were in fact able to spell my surname without me asking or mentioning it. hmm

Waltzingmathilda, sorry, I'd call you by your husband's name but I don't know it. hmm What a ridiculous idea. It used to be etiquette to refer to a woman by her h's name. Used to be. I just looked up Mike Tindall as it sounded like we were supposed to know who this person is and who his wife is. Are you a member of the royal family?????????? Do you honestly think it's "dumbing down" to refer to a woman by her own name rather than her h's name?

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 19:11:46

Insinuating that a woman who has chosen to change her name is a possession or subordinate to her husband is offensive.

It is polite social etiquette to address correspondence to Mr and Mrs Jim Smith - think about Mrs Michael Tindall - you do know her under a far more known name - but nonetheless that is who she is socially.

No, proper etiquette is to use the name used by the woman. If she does not and has not used her husband's name then you don't address her by it.

everlong Thu 29-Aug-13 19:14:53

What did you want your DH to change his name to? confused

TalkativeJim Thu 29-Aug-13 19:22:07

I would start a rumour that seeing as it seems that your name is getting marginalised within the family, you're thinking of changing your DS's surname to yours, or at least double barrelling - or, that any future DC will have your surname.

I predict that bringing that up over the Sunday dinner table will result in a positive BLIZZARD of correctly addressed cards grin

You could push it one further and get your DH to tell them, sorrowfully, that you had no idea that your wish to keep your name would be so ignored, and that it's more important to you than you thought. Though it would never have occurred to you to ask, had you not had to endure being called a name not your own, you have suggested that the family change its name to yours... which he is perfectly happy with.

Mwaaaaahhh (although I would actually have gone ballistic before now and changed DC to my name JUST TO AVOID HAVING TO STAB THEM TO DEADNESS)

HoldMeCloserTonyDanza Thu 29-Aug-13 19:23:50

No, proper etiquette is to use the name used by the woman. If she does not and has not used her husband's name then you don't address her by it.

Exactly. Deliberately calling someone a name they do not use is not "etiquette" it is appallingly rude. And cringingly passive-aggressive.

Unfortunately OP there's nothing you can do really. My parents have been happily married for over 30 years and mum still gets people calling her a name she has never used. I get this from DHs aunt.

It reflects poorly on them. You just have to roll your eyes. They are making themselves look like idiots.

Pachacuti Thu 29-Aug-13 19:28:43

It is polite social etiquette to address correspondence to Mr and Mrs Jim Smith

No, it isn't. It is arguably (but it would still be one heck of an argument) "polite social etiquette" to do that if you have never met Jim's wife, don't know whether she has taken his surname and/or have no idea of her preferences. If you do know someone's preferred form of address then it's "polite social etiquette" to use it. And if Jane Brown's name is Jane Brown and she has never changed it to involve the name Smith in any shape or form she isn't legally or socially "Mrs Smith" or "Mrs Jim Smith". It's not compulsory to change names on marriage in this country.

If anything involves "dumbing down" it's a failure to grasp those fairly simple points.

Pachacuti Thu 29-Aug-13 19:29:35

(As an aside, I notice that you appear to be perfectly happy with James Smith's decision to be known as Jim, but regard Jane Brown's decision to be known as Jane Brown as a breach of social etiquette and/or dumbing down)

FondantNancy Thu 29-Aug-13 19:30:30

"Deliberately calling someone a name they do not use is not "etiquette" it is appallingly rude. And cringingly passive-aggressive."


This. Etiquette is about making others comfortable, no? Not about point scoring by showing that you 'know better'.

I get this too, but only from very elderly relatives of DH's. I'm willing to let it slide. ILs on the other hand should know better.

WorrySighWorrySigh Thu 29-Aug-13 19:32:40

It is not etiquette to address someone by something other than their name in any setting without their express permission. It is downright rude.

Whether the person in question is still correctly named Miss/Ms Zara Phillips or Mrs Michael Tindall is her business and nobody else's.

Hebemajeebe Thu 29-Aug-13 19:33:40

Some of my relatives still send post to me using my exHs surname - which I never used even when I was married. Believe me, this is a whole new level of irritation.

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 19:36:48

As an aside, I notice that you appear to be perfectly happy with James Smith's decision to be known as Jim

How do you know his name is James and not Jim? Are you making an assumption based on "tradition"?


Pachacuti Thu 29-Aug-13 19:47:52

Nah, just that statistically if he's old enough to have a wife he's far more likely to actually be a James rather than a Jim. In either event, if Waltzing knew him exclusively as Jim I don't get the impression that she'd insist upon seeing his birth certificate before agreeing to put "Jim" on that hypothetical envelope.

Pachacuti Thu 29-Aug-13 20:04:42

BTW, the Court Circular does refer to Zara and Mike as "Mr and Mrs Mike Tindall" or "Mr. and Mrs. Michael Tindall" and to Zara as "Zara Tindall". I have no idea whether Zara has okayed that form of reference or had it imposed upon her.

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 20:07:21

IIRC, she said she would be known as that but retain Zara Phillips professionally.

justmyview Thu 29-Aug-13 20:16:59

My parents / aunts & uncles do this to my SIL. They insist on using the married name, not her maiden name. They justify it on the basis of social tradition / etiquette. I wince every time. When I point it out, it falls on deaf ears, as if she's a rebellious teenager, not a grown woman. I like tradition as much as the next person, but I think deliberately ignoring the name some one uses is downright rude.

Not as bad as my aunt & uncle who refuse to call their grand-daughter by the name her parents chose, because they don't like it. They insist on using another name. To my astonishment, they've persuaded many of their generation to do the same, so that, instead of my aunt & uncle looking like idiots, it's my cousin & his wife who end up looking stubborn / perverse. Baffling

amysaidno Thu 29-Aug-13 20:54:08

I have the opposite. I took DH's name because I wanted us to all (incl. kids) to have the same family name. My (feminist) Aunt sends me cards to Ms. Maidenname. I don't actually mind, I am not sure she has even twigged that I changed name, I like to think that it hasn't occurred to her.

Pilgit Thu 29-Aug-13 21:19:36

I have just about broken my PILs of referring to me as Mrs DH firstname DHsirname.' on mail sent only to me. I am NOT his property. I did not lose my name upon marriage. They now refer to me as "Mrs Pilgit DHsirname". A small step towards them using my actual name as I haven't changed my name. It irritates that pants off of me. My MIL did try and use the argument once that it's because the husband supports his family. I then pointed out that by that logic he should have changed his name to mine as I earn about 4 times what he does and so I support my family (of course he does in non-financial ways and i am not undermining non-financial contributions as they are equally important in family life, it was simply the argument she was using) it soon shut her up on that one. I married the man not his name. What I choose to call myself is my business and anyone who presumes to call me something else because they don't like it or because they want to enforce social conventions is just bloody rude. Otherwise I love my MIL to bits! (and the DD's have DH's name as quite frankly mine is not one you want as a child, but I've got used to it and have a professional reputation)

sarascompact Thu 29-Aug-13 21:34:02

Just tell the ILs that because the use of your own name is obviously causing them confusion (in a head tiltingly, "oh dearie me, one gets a teensy bit forgetful as one gets older" way) your husband and children are seriously considering changing their surnames to your own.

They'll either remember what you're called or self-combust in a fit of righteous indignation. Win-win. wink

PukousMucous Thu 29-Aug-13 22:15:03

Everlong, I thought we could find a random name and both change. My suggestion was Zorro but it was vetoed.

Portofino Thu 29-Aug-13 22:27:27

I love that in Belgium women keep their maiden name til they die. Though I love it on one level and when it was me, twice married and having never used my maiden name for 20 years, I was less keen grin it was like being back at school.....

SoupDragon Thu 29-Aug-13 22:41:17

Personally I love having a choice.

Bunbaker Thu 29-Aug-13 22:51:06

"And waltzing - sure its etiquette but it's massively outdated and also offensive."

Goodness, you are easily offended. It is rude and disrespectful not to call someone by their name, but I think calling it offensive is a bit OTT.

Incidentally, what is the etiquette when addressing Christmas cards to a married couple with different names. Is it Mrs Smith and Mr Jones or Miss Smith and Mr Jones or Firstname Smith and Firstname Jones?

Ms X and Mr Y, or Mr Y and Ms X, generally anyway.

Guess it depends on which of them you know best!

Wibblypiglikesbananas Fri 30-Aug-13 22:40:06

My own mother still addresses me as Mrs DH - and I've never been anything but Ms MaidenName. I think she honestly believes my name was changed automatically when we got married. There's no telling her.

MaidOfStars Sat 31-Aug-13 01:42:33

Not unreasonable. It's very important to define yourself, by whatever name you choose. They should respect that.

MaidOfStars Sat 31-Aug-13 01:44:04

Also, who the fuck writes their Christmas cards to Mr X and Mrs Y?

Jenijena Sat 31-Aug-13 06:48:59

My mum sent my Christmas card to Mr A and Jenijena Husbands name. Had quite a bit if a row with her on it as I feel so passionately that my identity is mine. ILs have got it - reluctantly, probably - but family/friends on that side (ie people i and my husband have no contact with) have not been notified.

MrsHoratioNelson Sat 31-Aug-13 07:15:23

"Also, who the fuck writes their Christmas cards to Mr X and Mrs Y?"

Erm, I do. Like I address cards to my uncle and aunt "Dr and Mrs X" and my cousin and his wife "Mr and Dr Y" because that is the correct and polite way to address people - with their correct names as indicated to you by them.

Roshbegosh Sat 31-Aug-13 07:21:24

I think it's pretty trivial and whether we choose to keep our father's last name or take our husband's is personal. I prefer DH.

TheRealMrsSmith Sat 31-Aug-13 08:35:03

I never took my husbands name when we married, both sets of parents and family knew this. I still receive cards from my parents, DH parents and my siblings addressed to Mrs Smith even though I'm still Ms Jones. Doesn't bother me in the slightest. I still have my own identity, I know who I am and so does DH grin

badbride Sat 31-Aug-13 09:15:53

"Proper etiquette" is the preserve of ghastly social climbers. grin

badbride Sat 31-Aug-13 09:17:51

Polite, sane people address a person using the name by which he/she prefers to be known.

MaidOfStars Sat 31-Aug-13 09:53:07

MrsHoratioNelson Erm, I do

Ok, fair enough, my comment probaby sounded unnecessarily abrupt anyway. I just write first names or Aunty X on cards.

I still use my maiden name. Otherwise, cards would be come to Dr and Dr SameName (The Doctors SameName?).

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Sep-13 08:51:58

Getting a person's name right as in the name they use is enormously important. It is part of saying that you value the person you are communicating with.

Getting it wrong says that you dont care. It says that the person is beneath the level at which you bother about getting their name right.

Using spurious claims of 'etiquette' is saying that this alleged etiquette is more important than the comfort of the person you are communicating with.

wherearemysocka Sun 01-Sep-13 09:09:39

I don't understand the whole 'it's your father's name anyway' thing. Nobody says that to my fiancé, my brothers or indeed my father himself, all of whom got their names exactly the same way as I did.

Roshbegosh Sun 01-Sep-13 09:22:59

Yes they all were given their father's names. Fine. But we can choose to take our husband's if we want to. It is a personal decision.

wherearemysocka Sun 01-Sep-13 09:29:54

Indeed it is, but nobody questions them for wanting to keep their birth names, or claims that it wasn't their name in the first place.

Zoe900 Sun 01-Sep-13 09:36:39

can I ask, so many of my friends have their own names and when I write chrismtas cards it looks a mess, addressed to
ms l mooney and mr p Clarkson

is that correct? or, can you put to THe Clarkson Family (eg) if they have children who are all Clarkson.??

Names not real.

Catsize Sun 01-Sep-13 09:53:08

It is annoying. I am forever being addressed incorrectly, as is my partner. We double-barrelled our names after our civil partnership nearly seven years ago. Partner's side of the family refuse to acknowledge it. Others get the names the wrong way around.

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Sep-13 09:54:31

Zoe900 - why not ask them?

Pachacuti Sun 01-Sep-13 10:10:23

I tend to put "The Mooney/Clarkson family" or "Louise, Phil and family".

Pachacuti Sun 01-Sep-13 10:14:44

Roshbegosh, it is a personal choice, yes. But why aren't you phrasing it

I think it's pretty trivial and whether we choose to keep our father's last name or take our father-in-law's is personal. I prefer my father-in-law


I think it's pretty trivial and whether we choose to keep our own last name or take our husband's is personal. I prefer DH


BiddyPop Sun 01-Sep-13 10:19:56

My PIL are fine about it. But after 13 years of marriage, I only recently stared getting any money from mum as a cheque to Biddy my name. The most recent was last week, where I got a letter addressed to Biddy DHname, but the cheque inside was to Biddy Myname - passive aggressive biatch! (There is history of belittling me anyway and she doesn't prove of people keeping their maiden names).

BiddyPop Sun 01-Sep-13 10:22:49

For Christmas cards and "mixed" families, I tend to address them to the Mooney-Clarkson family (putting That MUm name first, that DDad and DCs surname second), if that's any help

Zoe900 Sun 01-Sep-13 10:25:10

Worry, yeh that is a sensible suggestion, every time I see them it seems like the last thing on anybody's mind. I know they wouldn't mind. I think I have also written "Louise, Phil & Family" on Christmas cards in the past, but then thought, does a letter that goes through the post office require a sur name???? That thought would occur after I'd already posted it!

My cousin put up a post on fb bitching about people who sent her cards to Mrs P Chattel, I think I did that once shortly after she got married! But she's always done everything by the book, gone to a great uni, dated one rower before marrying a nice chap, sensible job. I don't know why but I thought she'd be the type to appreciate a formally addressed letter, but I was WRONG. I'll get it right for her fiftieth! ha ha.

cashmiriana Sun 01-Sep-13 11:27:37

It's rude, it's annoying and it's very common. I have been married for 16 years and while FIL and stepMIL use my name, the rest of DH's family still insist on calling me by his surname.

Etiquette changes, but slowly. Government ICT systems assume that any woman using the title Ms - which is hardly a wildly socially subversive notion - has been married and divorced. Last time I applied for my passport I had to fill in three extra sections because the Ms title assumed that at some point I had used other names.

I use the title Ms and my birth surname because I don't think my identity hinges on my relationship to my husband. That's not saying that I think women who change their names are submissive, it's making my own free choice. However it is interesting that colleagues at work were very uncomfortable about my name and the fact I don't wear a wedding ring, constantly asked if I was really married, and eventually concluded that the marriage was shaky, and that my attitude indicated that I wasn't fully committed to my DH.

They also refused to believe that in English law there is no legal requirement to change one's name on marriage, and that one can use whatever name one chooses, as long as there is no intention to defraud.

So, YANBU. It's very rude.

Pachacuti Sun 01-Sep-13 11:39:31

I am Dr Pachacuti on one membership card because it insisted I fill in a title and none of the options were actually my title -- so I thought as I was having to pick a title that wasn't mine I may as well pick whichever I fancied (also because whenever mail arrives for Dr Pachacuti it reminds me to check and see whether they've recognised Ms as an option yet -- no luck so far (and yes, I did politely suggest it back when they first made me choose a title)).

WorrySighWorrySigh Sun 01-Sep-13 13:52:41

That reminds me cashmiriana, not long after we were married DH & I were in Radio Rentals (shows how long ago!). When I explained to the person filling out the forms that I was both married and Miss, in all seriousness he asked "is that legal?"

PuppyMonkey Sun 01-Sep-13 14:00:10

Life would be so much simpler if people just used first names instead of all that formal Mr Mrs Miss bollocks. I find it quite hmm to think your ILs would send something to their SON calling him Mr Whatever instead of Dave or Barry or whatever he's called. Folk are bloody weird aren't they?

Anyway, I haven't sent a Christmas card since 2005. Which is nice.

nocarsgo Sun 01-Sep-13 14:05:14

I understand.

I kept my name when I got married and no one knows what to call me, on either side of the family. I mean, it's very simple, I have the same name I always did hmm

My mum "doesn't agree" with my decision, and addresses cards to Mrs Husbandsname.

lil1ady Sun 01-Sep-13 14:49:45

I took Dh's name when I married and rightly or wrongly I have an expectation that Miss means unmarried and Ms either divorced, or married with own name.

I believe in following tradition, but I respect other peoples decision not to.

Etiquette doesn't come into it in my opinion. You and your dh cane yo an agreement that suited you. you communicated this to your ILS even though you had no obligation to. They should respect yours and Ur dh's decision and if they don't I'd send all incorrectly addressed mail back through the postal system marked "not known at this address" (remember to put their address on the back as sender so they get the message!)

Pachacuti Sun 01-Sep-13 20:42:05

A lot of women who use Ms will have started using it either when they reached adulthood or shortly thereafter, lil1ady. I've been Ms instead of Miss since I was eighteen or so, just as my brothers started using Mr instead of Master. In fact I can't think of any Ms-users of my acquaintance who did switch title only once they got married (after all, part of the point of Ms is that it doesn't say anything about your marital status; it would be a bit eccentric, then, to only start using it to mark a change in marital status).

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