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Different surname to my child: not happy with this anymore

(53 Posts)
harveybristol Fri 04-Dec-15 19:19:46

The title of this post pretty much sums up my issue here. I fell pregnant unexpectedly with my partner's child around 3 years ago, we're mature consenting adults with good jobs etc!
we discussed the prospect of marriage and DP and agreed that out baby would have his surname and we would marry when baby was able to walk down the aisle with me.
she's almost 2 years old now, no marriage proposal in sight and I'm becoming increasingly frustrated at having a different surname as my Daughter. What bugs me is that she also has the same surname as my interfering 'inlaws' who regularly refer to the fact that 'oooo she's definitely a Smith isn't she.' I hate it.

Whenever DP and I have a differing opinion on something to do with DD they always jump to his defence and I wind up feeling demeaned, whilst unable to shake the thought that ultimately, she's one of them and I'm on the outside.
I blew up at DP about it tonight after another interference from them this week and told him that I'll be changing DDs surname to mine if things don't look to change soon. Not sure where it all came from, but I must have subconsciously been feeling this way for a while.

Is this an over-reaction or am I right to feel this way?

harveybristol Fri 04-Dec-15 19:23:03

I also think... I've carried, given birth and mothered his child. Why wouldn't he want to have the same surname as them? I think I actually feel quite upset about the fact.

OneMoreCasualty Fri 04-Dec-15 19:24:36


But - have you discussed marriage again properly?

alicemalice Fri 04-Dec-15 19:26:22

I understand entirely.

When I split with my ex, he wanted to have very little access and I felt so pissed off she had his name when I was the one doing everything. It just seemed so wrong that his name took priority over our child. Why, exactly?

I did think briefly about changing it but at my child's age (fair bit older than yours) it's so much a part of their identity.

PoppyAutumnScarlettRuby Fri 04-Dec-15 19:30:58

I can completely understand why you feel the way you do and it would probably grate on me too. I changed my daughter's name back in 1999 for the same reason although we had separated and he didn't have parental responsibility. The reality and law now is different in that if your DP is on the birth certificate then he automatically has parental responsibility, this means you need his consent to change your daughter's name. If you were to change it and he took things as far as court then the potential is there for them to order her name be changed back.

lunar1 Fri 04-Dec-15 19:32:15

Just change your name not your child's. It's a pain growing up when your name has been changed and it's not her fault you made a decision you are unhappy with.

MNerAnon Fri 04-Dec-15 19:35:51

Isn't it a joint decision legally? I wonder if he'd agree to the change enough to sign.

I've heard people suggest mother's change their name by deed poll s it's the only other way to match your kids. Not ideal but might just work.

I insisted on using my name for this very reason but felt a bit guilty that I might have to explain why my children started off as MNerAnon and changed when I married my husband. Now I am feeling less guilty as I have a suspicion marriage might never have been a priority otherwise. Not that they do t want to necessarily, just procrastination can be a little too attractive for some people!


harveybristol Fri 04-Dec-15 19:42:02

Procrastination most definitely plays a part I'd say! I don't think I'd be half as frustrated if the 'inlaws' weren't so over powering and demeaning. It's hard that we have different surnames but harder that she shares theirs instead!

tribpot Fri 04-Dec-15 19:49:54

Don't you think they will take his side in every disagreement to do with DD regardless of what surname you, or she, has? I fear you may be very disappointed if you get married and discover that it hasn't changed anything, you're still the outsider. I think they would also do the 'ooh she's a Smith' thing regardless of surname - my ds has strong traits of my family, doesn't have my surname but my dad will occasionally say 'he's a true [mysurname]'. (My MIL tried to claim my ds' excellence in maths ran in her family because her nephew is an accountant - my dad has a First in maths from the University of Cambridge, I'm winning that round!)

So I would try to separate the family dynamic from the name issue.

Now to the question of marriage. You have already agreed to get married (once the baby was walking) so the only question now remaining is when. You don't need to wait for some cheesy proposal, the question for your DP is: does he want to get married as previously agreed, if so when, if not why not.

AyeAmarok Fri 04-Dec-15 19:54:47

This is why every time a friend who isn't married gives their DC the father's surname, a little bit of me dies inside.

A child should have its mother's name, IMO. For all sorts of reasons.

MissApple Fri 04-Dec-15 19:57:16

If I hd a child now without being married I would definitely not name it after the father

pocketsaviour Fri 04-Dec-15 20:06:22

she's almost 2 years old now, no marriage proposal in sight

So have you proposed to him? I'm not sure why we still have this idea that we as women have to sit around waiting for the man to decide to get around to marrying us. It's 2015! We can vote! We can get any job we want! We can have a baby without being married and nobody bats an eyelid! You'd think we could manage "Will you marry me?"

bobsalong Fri 04-Dec-15 20:07:51

I'm in the same situation as you. However DD has DP's surname instead of mine because I am NC with my family. I feel that DD deserved a lot more than to have my surname, DP has a loving, close-knit family and I want her to be part of that.
I know we will get married at some point and I'd have said yes if he'd proposed years ago, but especially as we've bought a house this year too I am happy to wait and spread things out a bit. It's nice to have big things to look forward to IMO and maybe OP's DP is just waiting for a good time to pop the queation.

BikeRunSki Fri 04-Dec-15 20:17:11

Ask your DP to marry you then! I don't think you can change your child's name without her dad's permission (a very good friend of mine tried recently)..... But I understand where you're coming from. I didn't change my name when we got married, but I did 8 years later when I was 8 months pg with dc1, I just really wanted to have the same name as my baby. I kept my name at work though.

WasWildatHeart Fri 04-Dec-15 20:36:29

Maybe this is much deeper than an issue about names? Many live perfectly happy with different surnames to our children.

Marilynsbigsister Fri 04-Dec-15 20:43:11

I really can't get my head around this. These men are committed enough to make a child with you. Explain in simple words that without marriage you are not your dps next of kin, he does not inherit your pension or him your (state pension) if you aren't married. If one of you is run over by a bus and land on life support, neither of you have the right to make that decision. It falls to your parents. If one of you earns less than the other or one of you owns the house, there is no 'marital asset' sharing for partners as opposed to spouses. If he loves you sufficiently to have a child, he can spare the £148 it cost to walk down to the registry office and lake it official. Changing your name by deed poll offers none of the security of marriage. If he won't marry you, and is happy to see the mother of his child at such a disadvantage, it's telling you all you need to know. Don't wait, just ask him and get it sorted !

harveybristol Fri 04-Dec-15 21:19:22

To answer the questions most are asking:
We have discussed it again since DD has been born, or rather I have brought it up. I've been told I need to wait patiently for the 'right time' and that it should be a 'romantic gesture not a practicality' in DP's words.

I've asked how he would feel if I proposed to him and he says that he would dislike it. Not much to do other than wait... 'patiently' I guess??!!

It's not a case of get me down the aisle quickly so I can have your surname, more the security of knowing that this will happen. I'd have expected a proposal by now I guess, or more of a 'plan' of what we intend to do and when type of thing. I do wonder if the fact I struggle with his parents has made him change his mind, but then it hasn't been voiced to me.

tribpot Fri 04-Dec-15 21:24:14

I've been told I need to wait patiently for the 'right time'

Oh well, that's put you in your place alright. The right time is now. He says that if you proposed he would 'dislike' it, he doesn't say he would say no. I would just do it. If he says no - you know where you are.

I suspect, however, that he sees no benefit to him in marrying you and so isn't going to do it.

IonaNE Fri 04-Dec-15 22:00:48

OP, it feels like he's changed his mind about marrying you. Actually, even the original suggestion ("when the baby is old enough to walk down the aisle") sounds a bit like "this will put it out of the question for a few years and then we'll see... she might even forget about it". The next comment about "when it's the right time" and "waiting patiently" just reinforces the same in my mind. I would be very tempted to give him an ultimatum.

AyeAmarok Fri 04-Dec-15 22:02:26

I suspect, however, that he sees no benefit to him in marrying you and so isn't going to do it.

This. Unfortunately.

The lost the 'bargaining chip' that you had with your DD's name. He now has everything he wants, you don't. He's in a very comfortable position, you're not. He has no incentive to make it official with marriage, because the only person that is inconvenienced/embarrassed by not being married is you - because you have a reminder every time you or someone says her name; the name you don't have.

OneMoreCasualty Fri 04-Dec-15 22:02:42

Ok, that sucks and is unacceptable.

Romance is nice. Means fuck all in a next of kin situation.

You have a child - no doubt lots of things have got more practical eg no deciding to go for a few drinks after a cinema trip, now it's straight home for the babysitter. Things can still be great and fun and loving - and cover the practical.

Asteria36 Fri 04-Dec-15 22:10:36

There are a number of ways to go here:
1) get married, change your name, everyone is the same
2) separate, change dd's name, but ensure that you then keep your surname if you get married in the future
3) add your name to dd's existing name so she becomes smith-harveybristol (or whatever) and everyone else keeps their names.
4) leave it as it is and not worry so much about divides.
I changed ds's name when he was a baby, but that was only because ds's father refused to behave like a civilised human being (beat me up and threatened to kill ds and I) and had made up a ridiculous hyphenated surname when we registered ds's birth. Changing a child's name shouldn't be done for trivial reasons though, it makes passports etc in the future a bloody nightmare.

AtSea1979 Fri 04-Dec-15 22:13:55

If you asked. He'd dislike it?
Well I'm guessing you dislike waiting. He's controlling you, put a stop to it.

pocketsaviour Fri 04-Dec-15 22:18:01

Wow, that is very rude and controlling on his part. so you just sit there like a good girl and wait for him to feel like he's ready. Fuck that noise. Marriage is a legal ceremony to protect both parties and the child(ren) of the marriage. Perhaps he'd like to let you know when is the "right time" for DD to benefit from those legal protections if he gets knocked down by a bus tomorrow?

Do you think he doesn't want to marry you? Or is he not in favour of the idea of wasting a load of cash on a big party (a viewpoint with which I have some sympathy.)

OneMoreCasualty Fri 04-Dec-15 22:20:19

Yy to AtSea - you dislike your current situation!

How is the balance of earnings, housework, childcare etc?

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