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wish I hadn't changed my surname

(12 Posts)
GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 21-Sep-12 04:37:25

I got married relatively young (23) and in a bit of a whirlwind. I definately identified as a feminist but wasn't really sure what that meant in all honesty, was young and caught up in it all. We did have a conversation about our surname/s...I remember it being a proper discussion and he was initially open to the idea of changing his, rather than me changing mine, but I suppose in the end we bowed to patriarchal convention as he is the only male in his whole family to "carry on the name" (we assumed, correctly, all the women would change theirs upon marriage) whereas I had a brother and an uncle who'd just had a son. My uncle has since gone on to have a daughter - but we're a tiny family so there really are just my 2 cousins and my brother who can carry on our surname.

I had a wobble before the wedding as I identify so much with my family (my mum took my dad's name so maybe I'm just bowing under the convention to be part of my father rather than my husband?) so I have my maiden name as a kind of middle name that never really gets used (our surnames together sound really crap double barrelled). I was right at the beginning of my career so used my married surname both professionally and personally.

I really regret this - while I'm glad as a family unit we share the same name, I wish I'd kept my maiden name professionally. I'm not world famous or anything but I think it might be a bit weird now to revert to my maiden name professionally.

Not really sure what to do about this regret.

FWIW I think DH has cottoned on, as when we had DD last year (we already have a DS) he suggested we give her my maiden name as a middle name in the same way I still have it.

Surely actually the only equal thing would have been for both of us to take one a totally new surname?

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 21-Sep-12 04:37:58

was young and caught up in the whole marriage thing - not feminism!!

monsterchild Fri 21-Sep-12 04:50:46

I changed my name for similar reasons, DH is the only one who can carry on the family name on his side. On my side, there are buckets of us. I suspect many of the girls will keep their names too. Sometimes I sort of think I should have kept my name, but now that I am preggo with our first, I am glad we will have the same last name. All three of us will, I mean. Double barreled our name sounded like a medical condition.

When I others asked me why i changed my name, I just remember Shakespeare, "What's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 21-Sep-12 05:11:26

Good point. I suppose there's an element of feeling like I've let the side down and taken on DH's name and therefore identity...

monsterchild Fri 21-Sep-12 05:21:27

Nah, not his identity. We got excited about our kid and Dh went mad on the Ancestry.com website. We could not have more different ancestors if we'd planned it! I'm definitely not drinking the Mr. Monster koolaid. But it does sort of change your perspective, and that's not a bad thing, just interesting.

And you can always get a credit card or library in your old name, you know. It's not illegal to have an alias, as long as it isn't for fradulent purposes. Then you'll have it to flash around if you want to be Miss Mousey again.

Onemoreforgoodmeasure Fri 21-Sep-12 05:31:28

You can change it back if you want. It might feel like a big deal but if your family are reasonable it should blow over pretty quickly. You've only got one life, you have to decide for yourself what you give and what you keep.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Fri 21-Sep-12 05:37:36

maybe I could think about changing it professionally, I don't want to change it personally unless we all change it as I do like us being a family unit with the same name - apart from DH's dad nobody else has our surname so maybe we're kinda like that anyway. Trouble is my work means I'm publicly reviewed so not sure within my industry if it'd be a good idea to change now...

I do refuse to be called Mrs though and always refer to myself as Ms.

tribpot Fri 21-Sep-12 06:26:17

I know plenty of feminists who did change their name - and as you say, it's important to you for the family to all have the same name. So on a personal level I would make your peace with your choice.

On a professional level, I would change your name back. Some people will assume you are getting divorced (which tends to be the other reason why women change their professional name) but if anyone asks you can set them straight, and most people won't. You will lose an amount of continuity with the previous name - which is why some of my friends who are doctors didn't change names professionally when they got married and I guess others wouldn't change back if they got divorced now with a body of published material behind them - but the sooner you do this the sooner you re-establish your professional name.

Bellyjaby Fri 21-Sep-12 07:02:03

I married young and changed my name. I never regretted it though and kept it when we split. When oh and I started discussing having kids, I realised I wanted to revert to my maiden name as I didn't want to explain to the kids why mummy has a different surname to them, daddy and their grandparents... Because I left it so long when I finally reverted I had loads of people congratulating me on my marriage and looking sheepish when I said "divorce actually". If you're going to change it, then do it sooner rather than later!

HiHowAreYou Fri 21-Sep-12 07:14:42

I got married at 24. We talked about names and wanted us both to have the same name as any future children. The only reason we went with DH's name in the end is that we knew his parents would have been really upset.

Now, I wish we'd just done it and made up a new name. My in laws would have got over it!

But I'd never change it now. Too late, too confusing, too much of a statement.

Oh well!

tribpot Fri 21-Sep-12 07:24:32

Even made-up names have their complications. A friend of mine did this when she married - they took a name that was a combination of their two surnames (as an aside, if DH and I had followed the same naming convention our name would be Pinuus - surprisingly enough we did not seriously consider this). She and her DH then got divorced, he remarried (whilst still retaining this name which was partly hers) and had a DW and a ds also with this same name.

I think, leaving the feminist argument aside for one minute, this is why I don't want to change my name. Although I haven't had the same surname as my mother in nearly 40 years, and grew up in a blended family with name complications up the wazoo, I like the simplicity of having one surname, for everything, forever. It doesn't bother me in the slightest to have a different surname from my ds, nor does it bother him. But that is not to say it is the solution for everyone. I would like it to be as socially acceptable as the tradition of name changing, though.

SleepBeckons Tue 25-Sep-12 21:54:05

I intended to keep my name when I got married.

My mistake was getting a passport in my married name sad

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