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(88 Posts)
Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 21:30:20

More of an AIBU but I don't want the AIBU treatment and I know I'll get a more sympathetic hearing here.

I am getting married next month. A while ago we were out and about with future FIL. He was quite insistent the proper form of address for me would be Mrs [partner's first name] [partner's last name], even though he knows I am keeping my own name despite it being a pain in the bum to spell as forrin because 'that's the tradition'. I just grit my teeth and ignored it but FFS, can everyone just collectively fuck off with the importance of tradition?! I said I will not be Mrs [someone else-who-isn't-even-the-same-sex's name], stop being so bloody disrespectful!!!

Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 21:38:08

Just so I'm not accused of starting a million threads/ commenting on the same issue everywhere - can I use this opportunity to ask what the general feeling is on women taking their husband's name upon marriage? My mum never did, I'm not planning to and I am frankly surprised at the number of women of my generation (I'm 31) who do. I have even more issues with the fact that in the UK, you actually legally change your name when you marry - where I'm from you can have a note added in your passport stating who you are married to and can then indicate to the authorities which (combination of) name(s) you would like to be addressed by. There is also complete equality of choices for men and women regarding name choice/ usage, which there is not in the UK. Anyway, I am surprised at the number of women happy to change (what I would consider) an important part of their identity from one day to the next. I think it is a deeply sexist tradition that has terrible connotations of ownership/ subservience. I don't buy the all wanting to have the same name as a family - we didn't as a family and it never caused any problems, ever! Your views are welcome!

LassWiTheDelicateAir Fri 20-May-16 22:23:48

In the UK you can legally change your name at any time you want. You don't have to wait until you are married and obviously there is no legal requirement to change your name just because you get married.

My mother married twice and didn't change her name. I didn't change mine. My son has his father's surname (I wish I'd used mine)

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 22:26:38

On another thread, someone said 70% or so don't change name now.

Yanbu of course.

thatstoast Fri 20-May-16 22:34:49

I think it's the case that 70% do change. Keeping your name is definitely the minority in my social circle. I've noticed that there's a very odd romantic narrative that's built up around name changing. Only for women of course. Men who change their name are ridiculed in my experience.

Where are you from?

Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 22:35:56

Sorry, should have said 'your legal name changes if you decide to take your partner's name upon marriage' - I realise there is an element of choice involved smile. Really surprised to hear that 70% don't change - that doesn't tally with my (admittedly) anecdotal evidence. But great stuff!

Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 22:39:22

I need to read - 30% not changing corresponds to my experience a lot better smile

Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 22:41:10

I grew up on the continent (sorry, don't want to elaborate further) - have just discovered that it works the same way in France as it does where I'm from.

AHellOfABird Fri 20-May-16 22:47:56

Oh found this

If I chose to take my new husband's name, I'd be far from alone. A Eurobarometer survey, conducted in 1994, suggested that 94% of British women took their husbands' names when they got married. Recent smaller-scale research, however, suggests that this proportion has shrunk over the last two decades, especially among highly-educated and younger women. In 2013, academic Dr Rachel Thwaites found that 75% of respondents took their husband's names. Just last month, the Discourses of Marriage Research Group, a multi-institutional network interested in marriage equality, found that 54% of female respondents did the same.

So numbers are growing, it seems.,

tribpot Fri 20-May-16 22:48:06

I know very few women who have kept their own name after marriage (as I have).

Surely the proper form of address for a person is the form of address which they wish to be used. Even Debretts does not mandate the (frankly dreadful) Mrs DH's Initial DH's surname. You may expect a long-running battle on this issue with older/archaic relatives, even well-meaning friends may forget and assume you've changed your name. I find this particularly astounding when it's my own friends, some of whom have never even met DH, and thus must have to try much harder to remember his surname than mine.

Don't ignore it - just calmly point it out at every reasonable opportunity.

My favourite comment came not long after my wedding from my grandmother who was then in her eighties. She called me [My First Name] and then hesitated trying to decide which surname to use and then complained "it's so hard to remember your surname these days". Really - so hard to remember the surname I have had for my entire life? Sorry to make it so difficult confused

readingrainbow Fri 20-May-16 22:52:48

I changed my name, in huge part because I wanted to distance myself from my abusive father and his side of the family. I've told my DC they can do what they like. We have a nice surname and the children like it. Fair enough, they should keep it then!

phoolani Fri 20-May-16 23:01:29

Would never change my name, my kids have my name and there was no way it was going to be any different. I don't explain any of it to anyone.

Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 23:23:11

rainbow - that makes sense completely. And it is of course everyone's individual choice anyway, I hasten to add. phoolani - good point about not mentioning it. A colleague of mine (my mum's generation) asked if I'd be changing my name and I said I wouldn't, to which she replied 'Good! I didn't change mine either' Nice to meet a kindred spirit but could have been awkward if I'd said yes smile

almondpudding Fri 20-May-16 23:26:50

Do your children have your name, OP?

Puffinity Fri 20-May-16 23:47:41

Almond - I have no children (yet). My mum kept her birth name and us kids all got my dad's name. What about you/ your children? I might be wrong but I have a feeling you're going to tell me our future children should have my name? smile

almondpudding Sat 21-May-16 00:10:10

My kids have my name.

I suspect people think that is much odder than keeping your own last name. People don't ask about it at all.

MrsJamin Sat 21-May-16 06:08:02

I got married over 10 years ago, taking DHs surname, partly that was an easy decision because I prefer his surname. However I think I might have not come to the same conclusion now, just because the default does seem sexist. I like how we have the same surname and that people know we are married, TBH. If you don't change your name it's not obvious that you're married? Although men don't change their names to indicate they are married. Hmph. I'm unpicking sexist stuff about marriage at the moment! There's a lot of it, like the giving away, who gets to make a speech... What's sweet and traditional, and what's outright sexist?

CrumpetandSausage Sat 21-May-16 06:15:26

I'm still surprised by the number of women I know who change their name after marriage. It's definitely in the majority. Either immediately when they married or when they next changed jobs. My kids have my husband's last name. My 5 year old asks occasionally why I have a different name but isn't particularly concerned.
I always refused to answer mail addressed to Mrs husband. My pil got the message eventually.

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 06:18:05

70% of woman do not change their surname when they get married? What utter rubbish!!!!!

SpuriouserAndSpuriouser Sat 21-May-16 06:27:58

I am not married, but if/when I get married I would consider taking my DP's name. I have no emotional ties to my surname (it is a very very common surname, so not something that is unique to my family) and I would like to have the same surname as any eventual children. However I agree that the system in the UK is bizarre and patriarchal. I would consider another solution (double barrelling or something) but I will have to see how I feel when the times comes.
I also agree with MrsJamin that pretty much all a lot of wedding traditions and customs are sexist, I suppose because they hark back to a time when your father or husband literally owned you.

AHellOfABird Sat 21-May-16 06:32:35

Thanks for that, Bridget. If you read on through the single page of the thread, you'll note that, after posting that and clearly indicating I had read it on another thread, I found some more accurate info and posted it less than half an hour later and many hours before your post.


FaFoutis Sat 21-May-16 06:37:56

DH and I both changed our names to something else when we married. We chose another surname from distant family history. DH's father said that his grandfather would be 'spinning in his grave'.

StrawberrytallCake Sat 21-May-16 06:45:29

I regret changing my last name and the first year of marriage was tough as losing something so integral to my identity alongside what seemed like life changing drastically had an effect on me. It definitely brought out my inner 50s housewife - I told her to fuck off a while ago though.

I would like us all to change names now and have both surnames but I'm worried my dc are too old (early primary) and it will make it difficult for them at school.

RomComPhooey Sat 21-May-16 06:47:22

I have kept my name and go by Ms. I'd been living with DH for over 10 years and we were in our thirties before we married. Our kids have my family name as a given middle name and DH's as their family name. MIL always addresses birthday cards to me as Mrs (DH initial) (DH family name) and my parents get it wrong too. When I corrected my Dad recently he said: "I don't know why you bothered getting married!" hmm Works fine for me.

hesterton Sat 21-May-16 06:55:50

Your name though is most likely just that of another man - your father. So it's six of one and half a dozen of the other.

My dad wasn't someone I admired hugely and his family weren't very nice people so I was glad to lose that name on marrying in early 1980s. And on remarriage a couple of years ago I again chose to change as I didn't want my ex's name now the children I shared it with had grown up.

Ideally I could have done what friends of mine did and choose themselves a last name, changing to it by deed poll. Both husband and wife did this on marriage.

I do think it is not something we should judge in others. Women often have good easons for wanting to lose their paternal- given names.

But we should always respect someone's chosen name. There is no excuse whatsoever to call a woman Mrs husband's name if she has chosen not to change her name. And never any reason to call her Mrs dh first name dh last name as if she has no separate identity any more.

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