Is it a good idea to change my rl name?

(41 Posts)
Smurfsalloveragain Sat 20-Jul-13 19:22:54

I am a regular but have name changed on MN for this topic as it could identify me.

My parents immigrated from one European country to another where I was born. I was given a name from my parents' country of origin and annoyingly nobody has ever been able to pronounce my name.

I moved to the UK 10 years ago and, apart from a few close friends, people can't pronounce my first name here either. Most people cannot remember my name because its so unfamiliar and my DCs friends just call me 'DC's mummy' grin hmm.

When I was growing up, I was always mortified when we had new teachers in school as they used to single me out when going through the name list and ask me where I was from and I had to explain myself in front of everybody.

Moreover, whenever I introduce myself to people they always look utterly confused and ask what kind of name this is so I feel obliged to tell them about my family background. This happens pretty much all the effing time, regardless of how brief or inignifant the interaction is sad.

It really hit home how impractical and irritating this is when i gave birth to DC2 recently; the midwives didn't feel comfortable saying my name or said it (understandably) wrong during what was one of the most intense experiences of my life. My name just seems to always get in the way of things...

I am so fed up with my name but wonder if it would be really weird to change it (i am in my mid thirties). Could I ever get used to and identify with a new name? DH says he loves my name but I don't!

Are there any people here who have name changed in rl?

Please help me make up my mind smile.

YoungBritishPissArtist Sat 20-Jul-13 19:25:49

Could you shorten it to a nn?

SoupDragon Sat 20-Jul-13 19:26:35

Can you anglicise the spelling so it matches a mostly correct pronunciation?

Smurfsalloveragain Sat 20-Jul-13 19:32:57

I can't think of a suitable nickname and there is unfortunately no corresponding English name.

courgetteDOTcom Sat 20-Jul-13 19:40:00

Try out a name first. Possibly change the spelling or find an equivalent. If your husband likes it can you let him still use it?

midwives call us all mum so I wouldn't read too much into them.

SoupDragon Sat 20-Jul-13 19:44:05

I didn't mean find a corresponding English name, just spell it so phonetically it reads right in English. Like Sean and Shawn.

As you have name-changed, can you tell us what the name is?

sudointellectual Sat 20-Jul-13 20:04:38

DH changed his name when he was about 30. It's actually really easy to do in England as there's no such thing as a "legal" name - it's just whatever you go by. If you want to change your documents, then writing out a deed poll (you don't have to buy them) and getting it witnessed is useful for sending off copies to everyone. But actually just for changing your name? You can start tomorrow and see how you feel.

DH changed his name about three months before doing it by deed poll, to see if it was too weird, and actually it was fine. Everyone (except MIL) adapted with very little comment. I no longer think of him as old name at all.

Changing Your Name (CAB)

Smurfsalloveragain Sat 20-Jul-13 20:16:29

Sauvignon, i dont dare... my rl name is really quite rare. Even though highly unlikely, if anybody who know me would see this thread I'd be quite embarrassed which just goes to show how insecure I feel about it all. Also, this is not a profound problem in my life, more like a continuous ever present nagging irritation. It does however bother me a lot that I feel I have to constantly explain myself and my colourful background to people.

To top it all up my parents actually come from two diffent countries originally so I am constantly having to explain all of this family stuff to complete strangers because the way I look, my accent and the name just don't add up grin.

Smurfsalloveragain Sat 20-Jul-13 20:18:50

Sudo, that's interesting! Thank you for the link. How long had you and your dp been together when he changed his name and did it ever feel a bit strange to call him by his new name (in the beginning)?

I'm looking into changing my name by deed poll but I'm only going to swap over my first and middle names.

MrsFrederickWentworth Sat 20-Jul-13 20:24:08

Do you have a second name you could use?

Or else, decide to be proud of it? You are unique!

VAVAV00M Sat 20-Jul-13 20:26:41

Does you name have an English variant? Poor example but like Alyss and Alice?

Or just change it normally, make sure it is MN approved though grin

sudointellectual Sat 20-Jul-13 20:32:21

I knew him about eight years with his old name and have known him about seven years with his name name.

It wasn't that weird, tbh! But then I wonder if that's partly because we're both nerds and are completely used to having multiple pseudonyms. I have (different to this one) an internet pseud that I would say 50% of my friends actually just call me by as my name. But saying that, it's really common for lots of people to have nicknames that are so ubiquitous you think it's their "real" name. Not just Tiny or whatever, but just actually different names. I went to a wedding once, of a woman I worked with, and was really surprised when the celebrant announced her!

Do you already have a name you would like to use (you could always name change and ask the baby names board for suitable alternatives if not).

I changed my name, but I hated mine with a passion due to bullying by family/school rather than the name itself so it took me ages while I worked through that stuff. I would have my partner say them to see how they sounded. Ended up with a name that looks like a variant but has a different sound and origin.

I feel your pain, my accent gives me away even after 10 years - nothing unique about having the same questions over and over for opening my mouth, I hate being pushed and compelled to give people background to satisfy curiosity when people don't consider how I feel (really uncomfortable) in the name of being polite. Worst time was in the middle of a very difficult labour, people asking about my family and when they were visiting and I lied and told them what they wanted to hear as I didn't want any comments about having not seen any of them since before my eldest was born 7 years prior. Haven't figured out the polite topic change that's usually recommended.

YoungBritishPissArtist Sat 20-Jul-13 20:43:14

Kim K's exH has a new girlfriend called Myla, real name is Fatmire. Could you alter your name like that? Not an obvious nn but taking one of the sounds.

(Shameful that I know all of the above. I have been known to peruse the Sidebar of Shame blush)

Smurfsalloveragain Sat 20-Jul-13 20:53:41

I know Vavavoom, if I should ever go for it I will have to do a MN poll grin.

Sudo, thanks for sharing your experience, it's nice to see that it's possible and not too awkward. Were your DH's friends understanding? Did he have to explain himself to others a lot?

I guess I could try out a different name and use it as a nn at first.

But: how would you go about choosing a new name even if it is used as a nn? It just feels a bit contrived when I think about possible names I might like for myself. Especially as I have gone through the process of naming 2 dcs confused.

Haha youngbritish, that made me laugh. It s a good example though. I can only imagine dh's blank face if I told him that even KK's ex's new girlfriend did it and so should I grin.

Smurfsalloveragain Sat 20-Jul-13 21:00:55

Littlesporks, that sounds like a difficult experience you went through. I am glad that you have worked it out and that you now have a name which you feel comfortable about.

It is odd isn't it? I wonder if a lot of people actually dislike their name and just live with it or if most people just grow into their name and feel at ease.

I think more people are bothered by their names than we'd think of, but that most people don't really think about it.

Oddly, my mother also changed her name (she added to her name like Alice to Alison) and my sister goes by her middle or a variant of it a lot of the time. Though our mother oddly doesn't like or see any reason why we'd do that hmm .

I think the starting point is figuring out what about your name that you like, is there anything you want to keep, for some it's easier if it isn't such a big step. Then add anything new you want to make sure of (appearing normal in English was a priority for me as well).

I started by looking at my name in other languages and names with similar meaning but didn't find anything I like. I figured out in the process that I wanted to keep my first initial the same, as I tend to sign things [initial] [surname] and didn't want to change that. So time to time I would look at names, have my partner say them so I could hear, ponder about. It was very different from naming my children who I also gave quite Britishy first names to but for them I gave all but my eldest (who was named after someone) long names with multiple nickname options, while I wanted something simple and more neutral.

I actually found it while creating a name bank for my partner (who writes fiction but is horrid with coming up with names so I creat a master name list for him for projects) and he needed gender-neutral names. And while I was working on it I came across a name that almost looked like mine, did more digging to get a clear pronunciation, found it used in real life and to ensure it was still gender neutral (many names were but aren't really any longer) and used. It just clicked unlike the others I'd looked at. I still played with it for a few months, had my partner say it a lot, but it just ended up being right.

courgetteDOTcom Sat 20-Jul-13 21:46:36

Can you tell it's what your name means?

My eldest two have the same meaning which was a total coincidence but their name are nothing alike, there might be a name you like with the same meaning.

admittedly I have little experience in this field but:

I grew up in a strange little middle England town. we had one black family and about 3 Asian families (including oriental). one of the ladies from an Asian family has always been known as Sue. When asked she always says no one can pronounce her name, and she likes Sue. 30 odd years later and she is still Sue. I know we live in more enlightened times but maybe that's an option to get used to a new name. 'oh, my name is a very strange one, everyone calls me bob'

I also know a lady in her 30s who changed her surname. it was one that ended with bottom. she said she always thought the sniggering would stop when she got in more adult company but even in professional circumstances it didn't. though I suppose its more common for a woman to change surname than anyone to change first name.

good luck whatever you choose x

Xihha Sun 21-Jul-13 00:38:11

I shortened my name because I hated people saying it wrong, its one of those names that can be pronounced two different ways and thanks to a film that was popular when i was a child most people pronounce the other way to i do iyswim.

Is there a way you could take the first bit and make it into an easier to pronounce name? like I went to school with a girl we all called Collie because her real name was Kalyani.

sudointellectual Sun 21-Jul-13 07:43:59

Few strongly queried it. He's rather self possessed and people just sort of go with it if you declare something with confidence. For old friends he just said, "I go by [name] these days" or "Everyone calls me [name]" when it came up.

The most he'd explain was "That was my dad's name. Don't call me that name." with a rather hard expression on his face and people back the fuck off. You don't have to explain anything if you don't want to.

Smurfsalloveragain Sun 21-Jul-13 08:06:22

Oh, some great suggestions and thanks for sharing some of the context in which people have changed their names. I hope that I can build up the courage to either go for it proudly and hopefully find a name that feels right or accept my given name and stop caring about all those little awkward moments. I am really not sure that the latter is possible though.

However there is always a part of me that thinks changing my given name is fake and some sort of 'betrayal'. I know my parents would absolutely not have a problem with it and support me but still...maybe almost like wishing your eye colour was different or going for cosmetic surgery out of vanity rather than medical necessity iyswim...

SavoyCabbage Sun 21-Jul-13 08:12:26

I would change it. My dh changed his name as his name was very ghetto-tastic and he is very career driven and he says it was holding him back. People's eyebrows shot right up when he introduced himself.

I remember my mum saying that she found it hard to remember the name of one of my friends dc as it was complicated. It was Arvarnia a bit like Ivana but not quite. You have to think before you say it. My mum said it prevented her from interacting with the little girl naturally as she was worried about getting her Name wrong.

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 21-Jul-13 08:27:41

I sympathise smurfs. I have an unusual first name, even though it's English, (and had an unusual foreign sounding maiden name) and everyone, especially medical staff and teachers had to comment. What they don't understand about the tediousness of it I really don't know. One got quite arsy once when after saying "ooh, that's an unusual name, where does that come from" (although actually often the underlying tone was ruder than that - that's odd, why did your parents call you that) when I responded my father - probably just like your name.

I just sort of grew into my name and eventually married DH (English but long and difficult and somehow doesn't attract the same level of comment - more an ooh rather than an ugh) don't know if I'd go as far as actually formally changing it though OP - the admin if you have children: passports, investments, banks, house deeds, agreements, etc., will be horrendous.

I know lots of people who use a different name to their real name though. DH's gran was actually called Maud but was always known as Bea; an old aunt was called Helena but known as Sally, I know a mum at school who's called Alison but her real name is Jenny (that's what her mum calls her).

I'd just chose a name and start using it and introducing yourself as it. Not a problem - just do it.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 21-Jul-13 08:32:07

Can you pick one or two syllables (assuming it's a long name) and just use that? Then you have a connection to your original name and it won't feel like you're coming up with something out of thin air.

After all, that's where NNs like Liv and Jules come from, isn't it?

My given name is long and clunky and have been known by a couple of different names over the course of my life.

Smurfsalloveragain Sun 21-Jul-13 10:13:52

Savoy, I can relate to your mum's story. I have been in that little girl's shoes all my life. To the point wherei feel really grateful when someone learns to say my name correctly as it appends quite rarely.

SavoyCabbage Sun 21-Jul-13 10:19:12

Just change it. My dh's name is nothing like his old name. It was easy enough to complete the change over and people got used to it.

After I posted that about my mum and the little girl, I thought, actually her name is Ev-ee-ar-na. Not spelt like that but I don't know how to spell it. And I just said it was Av-ee-ar-na. And it isn't. sad

Smurfsalloveragain Sun 21-Jul-13 10:30:58

Marriedinwhite, I am also much happier after taking on dh's last name. My maiden name used to be even weirder than my first name grin.

So, if I decided to be known by a new name but didn't officially change it, how would it work with job applications, starting a new job etc. could I just put my chosen name on the CV for example or would that be dodgy?

I am thinking about moving jobs in the near future and t would be nice not to have to explain this epic at every new work place etc.

FairyThunderthighs Sun 21-Jul-13 12:04:53

I am "X", known as "Y"(recognised but unusual nickname of X). I introduce myself to people as Y, most people who knew me before I changed refer to me as Y but some still call me X or another nickname. On official things like the bank I am X.

If you're thinking of changing, before you change job would be a great time. Do the application/write your CV as the name you want to be known as. Many application forms have a "known as name" section. The only people who will need to know your real name are payroll, considering your bank details will still be in that name. Everyone else need never know the real name unless you choose to tell them.

Alternatively you could look into changing it by deed poll, meaning you could use it officially for everything. I will eventually do this when I get round to it.

ZolaBuddleia Sun 21-Jul-13 12:12:57

I do this too, apply for jobs etc in the name I'm known as, and then make sure HR know my proper name for bank details, CRB checks etc.

It makes sense for me because the vast majority of people who know me don't know my real name.

How are you getting on thinking of your new name?

marriedinwhiteagain Sun 21-Jul-13 12:40:48

I'm HOUR - lots of people are known by a peferred name. It isn't a problem. Think about actors and actresses the name we know them by isn't usually the name on their passport.

Jins Sun 21-Jul-13 12:46:21

I changed my name years ago. I hated my original name. It's frighteningly popular now though but I still hate it grin

Best thing I ever did. I went for a bland boring top ten name of my era and I'm very happy with it.

miemohrs Sun 28-Jul-13 11:38:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eurozammo Sun 28-Jul-13 11:50:12

You can just tell people to call you X if you don't want the hassle of changing it via deed poll.

My gran worked in a factory during the war. Half the women were called Dorothy. They were asked to pick a name. My gran chose Jackie and people from that era still know her as Jackie (everyone else calls her Dot as she didn't change it completely). It was completely made up and started use when she was an adult but it caught on.

Just pick a name you like and say "call me X, Y is so difficult to pronounce".

I have an Irish forename and a dutch surname. Wherever I go at least one half of my name is strange and incomprehensible. I feel your pain smile

I use a shorted first name (just the initial sound) and will often use a fake name for unimportant stuff (takeaway deliveries, giving a name to collect an order, general hum drum interactions where I'll never have to see the person again)

Primrose123 Sun 28-Jul-13 12:47:00

Do you have to legally change it? Just tell people you've changed it - you can use your own name for forms and passports and things like that.

My grandmother was called Hilda. She absolutely hated it, so all her friends called her Hilary, which she liked.

DuchessFanny Sun 28-Jul-13 13:09:21

Both my Dad and Brother go by their middle names as they hate their first names, they've kept the first for legal documents, but they rarely have to use it other than that. Do you have a middle name you could use instead ?

LadyLech Sun 28-Jul-13 13:29:56

I'd just use a shortened version of your name, then there's no hassle.

I don't like my name, so decided on a shortened version of it, which I chose when I was 16, so 20 odd years ago now. It's not an obvious shortening though, I guess a bit like Margaret to Maggie, but less common.

With friends who already knew me, I just let them call me whatever, but whenever I met someone new I just introduced myself as "Maggie" and if an old friend was there, I'd say "my name is Margaret, but everyone calls me Maggie". Soon enough, most people got the hint, and now the overwhelming majority of people call me by my nickname. In fact, only my dad, my grandparents and a couple of relatives still call me by my old name, everyone else knows me by my shortened name. Now it sounds weird when people use my full name, and I never think they're talking about me grin.

I'm a teacher, and I teach a lot of students who have foreign names that they have chosen an anglicised nickname for. It really is quite common.

I'd had a play with your current name, and see if there's a nickname that you can generate from it. It doesn't have to be an obvious shortening, plenty of nick names aren't.

Fraxinus Wed 31-Jul-13 23:15:04

Friends have had name changes in The past, but how seriously I took it depends a little on the circumstances. So cathy changing to Kate, I still get it wrong. But an adopted friend who reverted to his original name, I take care to get it right, and a friend with an outlandish name who changed to a conventional one, I also try hard to get it right. If you were my friend and you changed your name, I woul drespect your decision, and make every effort to get it right.

I have a foreign and difficult surname. I have for many years felt uncomfortable with it for some of the reasons you have given. However I have much less mistakes with it, and feel better about it these days now that I say it with pride. I say it clearly, slowly, and spell it without being asked. Less people get it wrong, and I have actually started liking it now.

I hope you can find a way to say your name with pride.

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