To hate addressing a letter to a women using husband's initials

(170 Posts)
justarandomer Thu 13-Oct-16 22:07:25

On an address with the name as say;

Mrs M E Smith
When women is called Patricia Smith
But husband is Martin Edward Smith.

Why not Mrs P Smith

There must be a fancy term for this.

My MIL does it. It sends me up the F wall. I am a person in my own right than you very much.

On a birthday card or something personal she will still write it as
Mrs M E Smith.

I think she does it because she sees son as coming from above me, and so I'm lucky to be part of her dynastey.

megletthesecond Thu 13-Oct-16 22:08:56

Yanbu. I've never been married so not received a letter like this but it drives me nuts just knowing it happens.

Catzpyjamas Thu 13-Oct-16 22:17:09

YANBU. A woman is a person in her own right, whether she took her DHs surname or not.
I decided long ago that I would write Mr M and Mrs P Smith for a joint address or Mrs P Smith for wife on her own.
I get mildly annoyed that I am addressed as Mrs Dogz when I kept my maiden name and should be Ms Catz so Mr Dogz and Ms Catz on an envelope..

MarklahMarklah Thu 13-Oct-16 22:17:17

I never do it. I send things addressed to (using your example)
Mrs P Smith or
Ms P Bloggs Smith

I wonder if it is to do with a notion of 'correct form' - like Debretts or something?

attheendoftheday Thu 13-Oct-16 22:23:29

I hate, hate, hate this!

shaggedthruahedgebackwards Thu 13-Oct-16 22:28:35

YANBU. It's quite rare these days thankfully and I don't think I've ever received a letter addressed that way.

maldini Thu 13-Oct-16 22:30:21

You should return to sender with no one with this name is known at this address

FedupofbeingtoldIcantusemyname Thu 13-Oct-16 22:31:10

I know exactly what you mean OP, YANBU it fucking winds me right up.

When I was married, I took his last name, not his whole bloody name. I am a person in my own right!

They didn't do it at my wedding I would have kicked off if they had but I know they sometimes announce the newlywed couple at weddings (after the signing of the register) as 'Mr and Mrs (Man's initals) Surname! So 'Mr and Mrs J Smith' or something. Don't know why they don't just say 'Mr and Mrs Smith etc.

Ilovetorrentialrain Thu 13-Oct-16 22:33:01

It's quite an antiquated way of addressing mail. I was taught to do this as a child, and told it was the correct way, as well as indenting address lines and correctly positioning the date etc.

I'd agree it's not appropriate any more, though personally it doesn't offend me and I wouldn't correct someone of the older generation for doing this.

Do you feel you can speak to your MIL about it?

MrsJoyless Thu 13-Oct-16 22:33:27

I use this form of address. I assume any woman who has given up her surname is aware of what it entails.

mineallmine Thu 13-Oct-16 22:34:11

In my mother's generation, this was the done thing. A married woman's letters were addressed to Mrs HusbandsNameOrInitial Married Name. Ie Mrs John Smith or Mrs J Smith. When a woman was widowed, then her letters would be addressed Mrs OwnInitial MarriedName ie Mrs Mary Smith or Mrs M Smith.

mineallmine Thu 13-Oct-16 22:34:39

My mother is in her 80s by the way.

ChequeOff Thu 13-Oct-16 22:34:56

Agree, it is an antiquated form of address and irks me too.

TheProblemOfSusan Thu 13-Oct-16 22:35:32

I FUCKING HATE THIS. It's the WORST THING. Ever since I learnt it was a rule when I was a kid I thought it was awful, and as soon as it occurred to me that I could not do it, I stopped.

Now I always put the woman's name first to try and redress the balance in the universe. So it's "Ms Chutney and Mr Pickle" or "Ms E and Mr J Pickle-Chutney".

Also, I feel certain this can't possibly be proper grammar advice anymore. But it wouldn't surprise me, the patriarchy is EVERYWHERE.

AmberEars Thu 13-Oct-16 22:36:06

YANBU. I address letters to MIL this way, as she is old fashioned, but not to any other woman I know.

MrsAbc99 Thu 13-Oct-16 22:36:55

My MIL does this and drives me insane! She's in her 60's and fairy forward thinking...

MsJuniper Thu 13-Oct-16 22:39:03

Hate it too and all those 'formal' ie patriarchal forms of address, had a letter today to Mr & Mrs HisInitial OurSurname from a friend to whom I've mentioned many many times (in the 15 yrs I've been married) that I have always remained Ms! It should be possible in 2016 to choose to share a surname without subsuming my entire identity.

I address most letters to friends to HerFirstname & HisFirstname these days.

RosaRosaRose Thu 13-Oct-16 22:40:03

Old etiquette. Mrs Martin Smith for a married woman becomes Mrs Patricia Smith when her husband dies. Miss Smith is the eldest daughter. Miss J Smith is her younger sister. Outdated and of no use now when the title Ms or MX are current.

Sgtmajormummy Thu 13-Oct-16 22:41:49

In the recent past, if a letter was addressed to Mrs (own initials) (husband's surname) it meant she was a widow.
Found my DM crying as she addressed her weekly letter to just her mother...

NataliaOsipova Thu 13-Oct-16 22:41:58

I use this form of address. I assume any woman who has given up her surname is aware of what it entails.

I don't always use it, because it looks old fashioned, but I prefer it because it is correct according to the rule book, if that makes sense. "Mrs N Osipova", strictly speaking, says that I am divorced. In the same way that if DH were a Lord (shock), I would be Natalia, Lady Osipova rather than Lady Natalia Osipova.

But I am a nerd about this sort of thing. I will freely admit this!

Istandinpause Thu 13-Oct-16 22:41:59

I hate this. It's archaic and offensive, implying the woman's independence has been subsumed into the man's. But people will tell you it is the correct form of address for a married woman, and that to use her own initials signifies she is divorced. Well, so it did once mean that but the rituals of form and address change like everything else and these people are hanging on to a very outdated style. My husband took my surname for feminist reasons so if someone does it to me using our joint name, I point out if anyone's initials are to be used alone it ought to be mine, but actually please can they can simply call us Mr and Ms A and B Istandinpause, or, preferably, use our two first names.

Sgtmajormummy Thu 13-Oct-16 22:42:27

Cross post Rosa!

SaturdaySurprise Thu 13-Oct-16 22:45:52

I kept my own surname after getting married and use Ms. I was once sent a parcel by one of DH's aunts. It was addressed to MrsHusband'sInitialHusband'sSurname. I had to collect it from the sorting office and I couldn't get it, because I had no ID in that name - because it's not my name.

It's the old-fashioned "correct" way, but times move on and I don't think it should be used anymore.

Some of DH's relatives also address birthday cards to my sons with "Master" - another naff title that should go on the dustbin.

DiegeticMuch Thu 13-Oct-16 22:46:50

I haven't seen this for years. In the 1980s, my elderly unmarried great aunt who lived alone miles from her nieces and nephews had a note by her telephone that saiid, "if anything should happen to me, please telephone Mrs P Smith on 01555 555555". The Mrs P Smith in question was my aunt Mary (her niece) who was married to Philip Smith. I haven't seen this convention since then. I found it weird 35 years ago when I was a little kid - now, it would seem archaic. Using this example, Letters from companies such as banks these days seem to be addressed to Mr P Smith and Mrs M Smith. Christmas cards etc would say Philip and Mary Smith on the envelope. Or Smith family maybe.

BertrandRussell Thu 13-Oct-16 22:47:10

Mrs John Smith is married. Mrs Jane Smith is divorced. Or possibly widowed. But definitely not married.

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