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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?

Timetoask Fri 01-Feb-13 09:52:19

I have been married for 10 years and kept my surname (not for feminist reasons, I just didn't see the point of it).
I am honestly getting fed up with having to explain every 5 minutes that I am married, but just help my own name.
I am seriously thinking of changing it.
I am not from the UK, in my country every woman I know has kept her name. It is definitely a cultural thing.

Timetoask Fri 01-Feb-13 09:53:09

"kept" not help...
(i keep doing this!)

Miggsie Fri 01-Feb-13 10:02:14

My MIL was upset when I didn't take DH's name.
Ithink she saw it as an indication I was ashamed of the family or something - I wasn't, it's just I was way into my thirties - had bank accounts, tax, passport etc all in my own name and what was the point in changing it? About 30 letters to write, what a faff on, and for no actual purpose at all.

DD is double-barrelled which has mollified MIL a bit, though she did ask why my surname was the first in the double-barrelling!

Also, why is one name more important than the other?

DH can change his name to mine if he wants, I don't care - it's meaningless, and also rather silly - as though the marriage ceremony turns you into another person? It doesn't, it just means your bank gets your name wrong for the next 6 months and messes up credit card and plane ticket bookings (if my friend's experiences are anything to go by).

I also find women who sit "practising" their new name by writing the signature with their to-be-DH's name over ands over a bit disturbing as well. As if somehow their personality is to be subordinate to someone else's.

But it is a cultural thing, albeit one that means nothing to me.

Preposteroushypothesis Fri 01-Feb-13 10:28:35

5madthings some friends who had a baby before they married and subsequently did get married were told that their first born should be re-registered because otherwise any future children born in wedlock would have more rights to their inheritance etc after their death if they didn't! Some archaic law which I'm not sure would actually be followed through with in this day and age surely but I don't know anymore than what they told me.

DP and I are planning on getting married at some point in the future but are in no rush. We have a DD and I'm pregnant with DC2, we have double barrelled our names for the children and I am not planning on changing my name if we do get married. It has raised some eye brows amongst his family when they realised our DD didn't just have his name, however, the worst reaction I've had is from DP's friends. One of them actually said to him that he wouldn't stand for it at all and DP should refuse to wear a wedding ring if I refused to change my name hmm I told him I didn't give a stuff whether he wore a wedding ring as that was his choice the same way my name is my choice...another said he would not be marrying someone who was going to be so ridiculous and stubborn!! Luckily my DP doesn't have his friends viewpoint and is perfectly happy for me to keep my name!

DP is South African, and there is a bit of a stronger male patriarch vibe out there compared with here generally.

joannita Fri 01-Feb-13 10:33:40

I kept my surname when I married and my kids have double-barrelled. Nobody has ever been so vehement in their opposition though a few people express surprise or say don't I think it's a shame? I don't care what they say and when it's my daughter's turn she can make her own mind up. YANBU its about time people were a bit more open-minded.

joannita Fri 01-Feb-13 10:36:37

I still get xmas cards addressed to mr and mrs husband's initial, husband's surname. that really gets my goat. I guess it's fair to assume I might have taken his surname as so many people do, but to give me his initial as well? that completely obliterates me! Why would anyone want that?

ComposHat Fri 01-Feb-13 10:59:32

^^ Why did they ask her then?

I wasn't there!

limitedperiodonly Fri 01-Feb-13 11:31:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

5madthings Fri 01-Feb-13 11:40:01

Its funny isnt how people get so bothered by something, especially when it has no effect on them personally.

Interesting to hear reasons for the re registering of births, our five are all born out of wedlock (another thing that hortified mil) and we arent planning anymore! We looked into getting married a few years ago, just a registry office one and were told we would have to legally re register the madthings and i have a friend that just got married and they were told to re register the birth of their son born before the marriage.

And i agree its like preposterous saud re writing history. I am going to have to google and see what the law is on the issue as our local registry office said we would have to re register the madthings and i have seen it mentioned on other forums as well.

KatherineKrupnik Fri 01-Feb-13 11:55:11

It's not true about the inheritance. I asked when we drew up our wills as one child was born before marriage & one after. We haven't wiped out the stain of dc1 illegitimacy by reregistering her.

I'll be keeping my maiden name whenever we get around to marrying. Why would I change now, its my name!

My mother and father were married in Holland and technically she has a double last name, no hyphen, just the two names after each other as is fairly normal in Holland. Interestingly when they moved to Ireland there was actually an issue with this (I can't remember why exactly as I was too young to grasp it fully) but some official type took great offence that her married surname came before her maiden name. My father explained to them that this is the normal way to do it in Holland but for unfathomable reasons this person was very irritated on my fathers behalf as it was perceived as an insult to him.... my father was hmm about the whole exchange tbh.

My father refers to my mother as [Maiden name] more often than he uses her first name.... and in fact if I'm being particularly obstinate will refer to me as her maiden name too grin

It's fascinating the assumptions though, I get endless letters from medical professionals and the school addressed to Mrs [Dps name] or Summer [Dps name].... despite these individuals knowing full well that I am neither married nor using Dp's surname hmm

babanouche Fri 01-Feb-13 12:00:58

YANBU. They are. I'm personally amazed that more women don't keep their names in this day and age. You never hear of men changing to suit their wife - always the other way round - such a throw back to when women were property.

PostBellumBugsy Fri 01-Feb-13 12:04:12

People are weird aren't they.

I never changed my name, when I was married. I did eventually change my passport when I had the DCs & now I'm divorced I'm glad my passport is the same as the DCs, because I know it can cause issues when they are different.

ComposHat, ignore the dissenting voices, it is just noise. They'll all get over it & the next question will be - so, do we hear the sound of tiny feet & your new wife will get constant glances at her tummy!!!!! wink

ComposHat Fri 01-Feb-13 12:06:56

If it was a toss up between her surname and mine, I actually prefer hers.

Holland but for unfathomable reasons this person was very irritated on my fathers behalf as it was perceived as an insult to him.... my father was hmm about the whole exchange

Yes this is how I feel! I do not want the misplaced pity of middle aged chauvinists!

3monkeys3 Fri 01-Feb-13 12:09:15

I have a few friends who have kept their own name - if makes addressing envelopes for Christmas cards, etc a bit awkward, but that's the only time I notice it! I didn't keep mine - I wanted to double barrel as I only have sisters and my dad and grandad were both the only boys of their generation, but dh was a but funny about it and it made the name of a celebrity, so I didn't. Maybe I'd have fought harder for it now, I'm not sure.

ComposHat Fri 01-Feb-13 12:09:21

so, do we hear the sound of tiny feet

We hear the pitter patter of tiny feet most nights - the mice in the flat running amok whilst our cat sleeps soundly on the bed.

TheCraicDealer Fri 01-Feb-13 12:14:37

I take it that the Aussies asked the question as they didn't know what ComposHat's last name was, not because they had an inkling she would behave in such a bluestocking manner.

Meh, I'm not that bothered about it, but I know when the time comes for DP and I to name our kids there'll be some almighty rows. As my career progresses I'm getting less and less keen to change my name when we marry. His is already double-barrelled, and no child of mine will be foisted with a triple-barrelled name. Apparently he cannot just drop one of the names for the kids to replace it with mine, as this would be like "loosing a syllable or something". Knob.

BiddyPop Fri 01-Feb-13 12:14:40

I kept my maiden name on marriage at the start of the millenium. My mum occasionally has had to send me cheques for various reasons over those years, and I had awful trouble getting them cashed as she always sent them to BiddyDHSurname - I had no bank account in that name. Once we had to open a joint account for a building project, I have been able to use that since and the building society lodges them to that no problem. She still sends all post, whether to me or us as a family, to MrsDHSurname - postman laughs about that one. (She had to ring me through switch at work one day and they didn't know who she was talking about, so rang me on mobile instead). I think it's partly cos her SIL (my Dad's Bro's wife) also kept her maiden name and Mum hates SIL (only girls married into the family) so holds that against her (as well as a long list of other imagined slights).

PIL use my correct name. As does my Dad. In fact, I don't think anyone else raised an issue with it at the time - well, raised eyebrows when told but no comments.

I use Ms mostly. I will answer to Mrs, either Mrs Pop or Mrs DHSurname. It gets funny when DH is called Mr Pop (depending on who has arranged what tradesman etc). But while he will usually correct it (I sometimes do, depends on my humour), it's with a laugh 99% of the time.

Fakebook Fri 01-Feb-13 12:15:58

I kept my surname after marriage. My doctors surgery won't let me change my title to "mrs" until I show them my marriage certificate though, so at the surgery I'm still a "miss".

PostBellumBugsy Fri 01-Feb-13 12:21:58

BiddyPop, I've had no problem with cheques in the wrong name as my bank has instructions to deal with cheques in either name. One letter to your branch is all it takes to sort that one out.
I don't care if people call me Mrs Maidenname or Mrs Marriedname - if they are polite & courteous then that is all that matters. smile

FryOneFatManic Fri 01-Feb-13 12:22:05

ComposHat, congratulations.

5madthings, I think you do have to re-register children born before marriage now. I looked at it a while ago and the gov website was very pointed about it.

DP and I have been together 26 years, and are not married. If we ever did, I am most definitely not changing my name. The faff involved in changing addresses when we moved 6 years ago was bad enough. And I like my name, I don't want to change it. Our DCs have his surname, bu agreement. We couldn't double barrel because we both have long surnames and mine is already double barrelled. I don't think a very, very long triple barrel would really help....grin

Mum has also recently said to me that looking back to when she got married in the 60s it was such a strong tradition to change your name she automatically did it, but if she could go back and do it again she'd not change her name.

BiddyPop Fri 01-Feb-13 12:24:20

Oh, and while I hadn't been bothered either way before the wedding, it was my DH who was more concerned that I keep my name because that was the name I'd already built my reputation on (and how people associated me with my Grandfather, who worked in the same area) so it would be much more useful to me in time to come to be known as Ms (or Mrs) Pop - and he was proven right in that one!!

(Quite apart from the fact we had enough hassle changing all details for moving house to our own place together, without the second lot of hassle changing my name on all official docs too - it's bad enough getting around the fact that my parents registered my birth in our native language in another country, so I have to reconcile the native spelling of my surname with the anglicised version for things like school records (school leaving exams done in native name as that's birth registration) and Uni records (I applied with anglicised name - as that's my name and what I have ALWAYS been known as). If I had to consider adding a "3rd" name into the mix, that would finish me off - especially as I have a passport in country of birth and the administration in that country is pernicity enough, but I want to keep open the option of relocating there in the future so the easiest that can be, the better).

Birdsgottafly Fri 01-Feb-13 12:25:28

I took my DH name, because i chose him, whereas i had my father inflicted upon me.

From a practical POV, i think as long as both birth parents are listed within the child's name, then it doesn't matter.

I have spoken on the boards how i am supporting a teen on my DH's side, who grew up in foster care. The birth mother had done all she could to hide her birth. Had the teen not at birth been given "our" surname and changed back, it was later changed, we would never have found her (or her us).

She is going to give her child "our" surname.

As, i said, as long as both birth parents get a say and both sides of the family are acknowledged somewhere offical, fine, but it is still to easy for birth mothers to cut one half out of a childs life, even if that child is to be fostered/adopted.

Kendodd Fri 01-Feb-13 12:27:12

Hooray! I wish this was the default position, it just seems strange to change you name if you ask me. Congratulations on you coming wedding.

I've been married 16 years, kept my name, children are double barrelled.

My nan used to keep asking me 'what's your name now' and has told me that she 'can't keep up with what my name is'

Mt cousin (and her children) have had four different last names. Whenever she meets a new partner they all change their names to new blokes name. She's now back to her birth name and I don't know what her children use.

My nan seems to have no problem with her last name.

FryOneFatManic Fri 01-Feb-13 12:28:05

I just want to add that whether married or not, I'm sticking to Ms, because then you don't have to change anything, so much less fuss and faff grin

I'm not bothered that the DCs have a different name to me, we are very much a family unit and having the same surname wouldn't increase our perception of being a family unit.

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