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Anyone know of any stats on name changing after marriage?

(156 Posts)
anotheronebitthedust Sun 30-Oct-16 17:26:48

I'm at the age (28) when facebook suddenly makes the change from photos of nights out to endless wedding albums smile - but scrolling through it today I suddenly realised that pretty much every single woman close to my age I have as a 'friend' on fb has changed their name after their wedding. Not most, not even almost all - every single one!

Most of these friends are from school/uni/work/travelling so are within 2-3 years of my age, some left school at 16 but majority have at least a degree, lots with masters, post grads, etc. They come from, and now live, all over the UK, so some still in the smallish town I grew up in but many others from all over the place. Several either have previously, or currently do, live abroad. So a fairly wide spectrum of my age group.

It really surprised me. When I was in my late teens I thought it was getting more and more common a) not to marry at all in a ltr and b) not to take the husband's name. However in the last few years it seems like both trends have completely reversed and I wondered if anyone knew of any stats that back up if my personal experience is/isn't reflective of the UK generally.

I'm not necessarily bothered by it - although some of the reasons I had from the friends I asked about it did make me hmm) I would imagine most of them have made reasoned decisions why they name changed and are happy with it. It just struck me that if it was a true choice, then the likelihood would be that not everybody would happen to make the same choice and that therefore, for whatever reason, perhaps it isn't as much of an actual choice... - I know this is incredibly badly expressed but hope you get the gist of what I mean!

LightTheLampNotTheRat Sun 30-Oct-16 17:34:37

Because people are sheep? Or they don't really think the whole thing through - just accept it's what you do? Or tell themselves a bunch of bollocks like 'it'll be difficult to have children who have a different surname'? Or they have disappointingly throw-back partners who would frown? Whatever it is, it makes me despair.

LightTheLampNotTheRat Sun 30-Oct-16 17:36:20

Or maybe it makes them feel properly grown-up to be a Mrs. That's the most depressing explanation of all.

itsbetterthanabox Sun 30-Oct-16 17:43:10

They can't explain it. I ask people.
They all have the same weird reasons that don't make sense.
He conveniently had a better name
He wouldn't like it
Kids need his name.
I do know a few women who didn't change their name or where both of the people in the couple went double barrel (it doesn't count if only the woman double barrels!).
I'm getting married next year and he is taking my name. I was happy to keep our own or double barrel but he likes the subversion.

anotheronebitthedust Sun 30-Oct-16 17:52:04

yep I think that might be my main issue with it. If somebody said "the name I had now is my father's name and he left when I was small/is a twat and I don't want to be associated with him, I really love my DH's family and like the idea of having the same name as them'...okay fair enough. I wouldn't necessarily do the same thing but it's a well reasoned point. Same if the bride's original name was actually Miss Hitler or something - yes I could see why the groom's name would probably be preferable (although if you hated it that much you could of course have changed it yourself at any point before getting married).

But as you say nobody does seem to give that sort of [actual] explanation.

Obviously I don't know the reasons behind the ones I'm not close friends with, but the ones I did asked ranged from 'He sulked when I said I wasn't going to so I gave in,' to the truly baffling 'We discussed changing both names to double-barelled but he's an only child so wanted to name our future kids the same name as him because otherwise he's the end of the line and his surname would die out with him.' Particularly baffling as the surname was along the same lines of 'Thomas,' in terms of popularity so not in the slightest danger of dying out worldwide, even if this one hypothetical child 'ruined' the family line by becoming 'Thomas-Green,' or whatever.

Felascloak Sun 30-Oct-16 17:55:01

light I had a different surname to my eldest for a while (not married) and I hated it. Was a big factor in why I changed my name after marriage, until then I said I wouldn't. Was impossible to double barrel so I changed. It wasn't bollocks to me grin

Blu Sun 30-Oct-16 18:22:35

"Or tell themselves a bunch of bollocks like 'it'll be difficult to have children who have a different surname'?" Without stopping to make an actual decision as to whether the children should have the father's name, or mother's name, or both, hyphenated.

I have no judgy view over what women (or men) should do with their names, just that they make a conscious decision and feel happy with a choice, rather than a default.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 30-Oct-16 18:54:50

It never occurred to me to change.

I don't have to justify it but my name actually is a much nicer name by miles; whilst it's not unusual it's a name that has an obvious geographical source, especially with my spelling, whereas his is of the Smith variety.

Also I married him, not his family - taking his name would have felt I became part of his family, which I'm not and don't want to be.

I really regret I didn't use my surname for my son, even if only for the reason son's first name +my surname is a far more interesting name than the name he has.

CthulhuInDisguise Sun 30-Oct-16 19:00:16

I changed my name because I preferred my DH's surname to mine. My first name and maiden name are both short and one syllable (eg Ann Smith) and I liked the change to a longer surname with two syllables. Just that. He would have changed his name to mine if I had wanted him to.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Sun 30-Oct-16 19:10:46

It didn't occur to me to ask my husband to change his name to mine. I don't see why he should, I'm sure he was as attached to his name as I am to mine.

I don't really see the need for either party to change just for the sake of it.

IBelieveTheEarthIsFlat Sun 30-Oct-16 20:26:51

Because my father was a cunt? Because I wanted to get as far from that name as possible? Is that good enough a reason? And my husband was/is lovely. I guess I could have made up a new name but really, what would have been the point?

Doesn't make one less of a feminist, does it?

WorkingBling Sun 30-Oct-16 22:12:40

Op I hear you. My friends have all, to a woman, taken their husbands name. I sometimes find myself wanting to spend more time rig my sister's friends as many of them haven't!

The whole "father is a twat" or whatever thing may well be true for many eomen but I do find it odd how seldom that is something a man says? The very fact that women see their name as a) coming from someone else and b) easily changeable, says something I think.

I do have one male friend whose father left when he was 2. When he was 18 he changed his name to his mother's.

MyWineTime Sun 30-Oct-16 23:17:27

I changed my name because I'm a sheep and incapable of independent thought - obviously.

And as I shave my legs I have clearly failed at being a feminist.

ChipsForSupper Mon 31-Oct-16 00:12:15

Lass, I think it's amazing that it didn't occur to you to change at all! It's such a deep seated tradition that most women, even those who decide not to go along with the tradition, are aware of it and therefore do feel obliged to give it some thought.

The fact that it didn't even occur to you really shows how far feminism has come. It's like we're finally winning.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Mon 31-Oct-16 01:47:27

My mother was married twice and never changed hers. My brother and I have the same surname as our maternal grandfather.

Eminybob Mon 31-Oct-16 02:14:47

Maybe because they want to? I changed my name because I wanted us to all have same name and have no particular attachment to my maiden name. Nothing to do with tradition, just my personal preference.
Provided it is a choice then why would you judge someone else for choosing to do something just because it's not what you would do? That's not very feminist now is it?

Blu Mon 31-Oct-16 07:51:40

Why do defensive, Eminy? The OP is asking a question about whether a trend is growing or shrinking; not judging.

My own view is that women have free choice where it is a concious choice, rather than taking the default 'traditional ' route, or, as we do see in many cases on MN, being pressured by men into taking their names and giving the children the man's name. The pressure and the regret are regularly reported on MN. This doesn't mean that all, or a majority , of women are pressurized, but it makes thought and decision and actual free choice around names a feminist issue.

Leslieknope45 Mon 31-Oct-16 07:57:09

I certainly wouldn't agree that posts on this thread are not judging, Blu
I changed my name on marriage for the apparently 'bollocks' reason that when we have children I would like us all to have the same surname. Does anyone have a suggestion to what I could have done instead of changing my name?

LightTheLampNotTheRat Mon 31-Oct-16 08:03:32

Ha Leslie, I said it's 'bollocks' that having different surnames necessarily causes complications - that hasn't been my experience. Obviously you do what you like. (And I will think what I like about women who go endlessly along with patriarchal norms.)

Puremince Mon 31-Oct-16 08:06:01

I changed because I had a name of the Smith variety, a popular first name and no middle name. There was another girl at my school with the exact same name. DH had a slightly less common name, and I kept my maiden name as a middle name. Result! A name that feels more "me" than my previous name. I didn't become "Mrs" though, I stuck with "Ms".

DoinItFine Mon 31-Oct-16 08:06:25

I changed my name on marriage for the apparently 'bollocks' reason that when we have children I would like us all to have the same surname. Does anyone have a suggestion to what I could have done instead of changing my name?

Can you really not think of any?

Tarttlet Mon 31-Oct-16 08:13:17

I changed my name on marriage for the apparently 'bollocks' reason that when we have children I would like us all to have the same surname. Does anyone have a suggestion to what I could have done instead of changing my name?

Your partner could have changed his name, you could have double barrelled your names, you could have combine your names to create a new one, or you could have chosen a shared surname that was entirely new.

HillaryFTW Mon 31-Oct-16 08:14:09


All take your name
Double barrel
Invent a new surname eg Roberts and Johnson become Robson

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeG0es Mon 31-Oct-16 08:24:24

If it really was a totally free choice there would be a fairly even spread of men changing their name, women changing theirs, neither changing, double barrelling. I suspect most men never consider changing theirs and have never been asked what their name will be after they get married, the assumption for the most part is that it will stay the same.

Eminybob Mon 31-Oct-16 08:26:02

Blu my reply was aimed more at some of the other replies rather than the actual OP. Sheep, bollocks, etc.

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