Engagement Conundrum: Picking a New Last Name

freshly-pressed-rectangle

I’m a good little feminist. I could have told you that I would never take my husband’s last name when I was six years old. Unless maybe his last name was Disney…I guess.

At 32, little has changed. I still wouldn’t take a man’s name. But a woman’s…well, maybe.

Gratuitous Puppy Photo

Gratuitous Puppy Photo

My partner and I will be married next year and have begun discussing the more complex practical realities of our relationship. How will we procure our first kid? What are the special legal issues that we face as a same-sex couple? Who would get the dog in the event of a divorce? Oddly, the last is probably the most intense of them all and I am the one who loses custody.  

Hard decisions aside, the most life-impacting decision thus far has been with regard to last names. If I were straight, I probably wouldn’t care so much about this. There is no way that I would take a man’s name, on principal. Even if I loved it. Even if he begged. I just would not be comfortable perpetuating that tradition. I would ask him to flip a coin on whose name the kid got or use both of our names in some sort of middle then last name compromise.

However, my partner, Caroline, and I have decided that our situation is a little different. Unlike many straight couples, our kid cannot have DNA from each of us. We are concerned about others recognizing that our children belong to both of us equally. We do not want our future kids to have different last names than each other. And, neither one of us wants to have a different last name than the rest of our family unit. We want “normalcy.” We want people to think of us as “The Xxxxx’s.”

Caroline first suggested hyphenation but I was quick to point out that my last name is eleven characters long and does not play well with others. The obvious next questions were whether one of us would adopt the other’s last name and whether we would use hers or mine. We both have published works and had to take a moment to think about the impact of disassociating with those pieces before mutually deciding that there was nothing out there that we couldn’t part with. (Yet.)

At this point in our conversation, I cautiously floated an idea that I’ve always loved:

Why not make up a new name?

Caroline usually errs on the side of doing things the conventional way and I thought that she might think I was talking crazy. I was nearly certain that she would balk at the idea of having to explain a choice like this to friends, family, and coworkers. Much to my surprise, she bought into it nearly instantaneously. She even suggested using parts of both of our last names to make a new one. That’s when we realized that neither one of us loves the other’s last name or our own.

We both think that there is something very appealing about creating a new family and capping it off with a shiny, new, mutually agreed upon last name. As much as we love our birth families, we are creating an independent entity that belongs to neither and has ties to both.

At the end of our first discussion on the matter, it was decided. This was our best idea and, unless something better came along, we would create a new name. Now the fun part: what name should we choose?

First, we needed to set some boundaries:

Naming Rules

  1. Nothing too weird.
  2. Nothing too common.
  3. No obvious adoption of a new ethnicity (Huang, O’Malley)
  4. Something familiar, phonetic, and/or easy to spell.
  5. No names already taken by our friends, family, close acquaintances, etc.
  6. No names already taken by famous jerks we don’t like, or even amazing people that we do (the Bushes, the Roosevelts).
  7. Something meaningful for both of us.

Two hours later, we had tossed out dozens of names. We decided not to name ourselves after objects in nature, gods/goddesses, our street, or favorite literary characters. After brief discussion, we were also certain that we were not the Awesomes, even though we may want to be.

Finally, though, one name made sense. It’s not very exciting. Neither of us love it so much that we cried when it was first uttered. But, it meets our needs and it’s easily defensible.

Our fathers both have same first name and it fits all the criteria above. So, we refuse their last names in favor of their first.

Once the name had been floated, the decision was easy. Until another, better name is thought of, this is the only one on the table. In retrospect, this process was the fun part. Now, I am faced with the reality that my identity, arguably the most permanent and public part of my identity, is about to change.

When one Googles my current last name, I am the 8th result. If you search for my first and last name together, I am the first result. My first name is quite common (Laura) but my last name is much less so. My new name will be much more generic and I am certain to be lost in The Etherwebs unless I make it famous. Side note: Caroline does not struggle with this because she is not actually known as Caroline and her first name is very unique.

I like my new name but, who is this person? What does her name mean to others? Does “normalcy” cancel out my relevancy?

Despite my lifelong disdain of those women who choose to shed this piece of their identity in order to adopt that of their husband’s, I find myself essentially doing the same thing. I will give up some of my sense of self in order to be more integrated into my family unit. Luckily, my partner is taking this step with me.

Though I pushed for this option, still firmly want to make this change, I am slightly frightened by the prospect. In thinking about this post, however, it dawned on me that this fear is about much more than a name. The name is just a wrapper. What I really am having butterflies about is the reality that I am no longer an individual in many respects and that I will lose more of my individuality in stages over the next few years.

Last year, I stopped being  a “me” and became half of a “we.” Next year, I will be a wife. And, hopefully, soon after that I’ll be Mom. Does this make me nervous? Hell, yes. Do I want to be all of those things? HELL, YES. Scared or not, sign me up!

The reality is that marriage is a big deal and the name change feels like a bigger deal than lots of other life changes that one makes along the way. However, it’s not really that different from dozens of other decisions I’ve made. I lost my hometown when I went to college, my independence when I got cats, my spare time when I purchased a house. Each of those choices have had positive effects on my life that I would never give back.

And, who said being a Brittingham was so great? Certainly not me. Here’s hoping that being a Roberts will be the best thing that ever happens to me.

The Roberts sign

Would you ever consider making up a name? Have you done so? What did you choose and what was your process for getting there?

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109 responses to “Engagement Conundrum: Picking a New Last Name

  1. What a terrific exploration of this decision. And it brought back memories of me as a little girl, being teased by my Dad about whether I’d give up my name when I married. Ever the little feminist, I’d always say I’d “tell the guy to take a hike” if he didn’t accept me keeping my own name. I haven’t been tested on this yet! Your idea to create a new name is an intriguing one. Excellent post.

    • Thanks so much for the positive feedback! We have become very attached to the idea of our own name, our own family. I think it will be helpful as we present a united front to the world since, as a same sex couple, we have to work a little harder for legitimacy (in the eyes of others, at least). I actually know a few other lesbian couples who’ve done this and suspect that it will become more of a trend as states continue to slowly legalize same sex marriage. Cheers! -L

  2. I understand your plight to an extent. My last name is made up by Ellis Island workers. If you want to give it a read, you might find it interesting. I think that a an adopted child raised in love will overlook the problem of the last name as long as it is not to weird. They can always change it but Roberts is easy on the tongue. The best of luck.

    • Thank you! I’m hoping that our kids will feel as attached to their last name as we both do to our current names. I may not like it much but it’s still me and hard to give up.

      Thank you for pointing me to your blog. It’s really amazing. Great work!

  3. I have considered making up a name! My kid has a different last name than me (his father’s) so matching him was never really a priority for me. When I was married, the name was long and mispronounced, so I changed back to my maiden name after I got divorced. I considered changing my name then to cut the family tie on that side too but could not think of anything better than what I already had.

    I do know if I ever get married again, I am not changing it again, only because of the paperwork involved. Unless it is a really cool name, then I might be persuaded.

  4. My decision to take hubby’s last name was easy. Long foreign name with lots of syllables that nobody can spell or pronounce vs. a fairly common 5-letter last name. He won. 😉

  5. That’s quite interesting. I feel that the act of adopting the husband’s last name is archaic and really not all that much necessary. I am a guy and yet i find these things odd. Why is it that a woman must give up her name in order to follow the mans? If it is an old practice, then why is it that a so-called progressive society still sees it as a norm and a must? Many of my female friends have chose to keep their own last name; i see no problem with that. I always wondered why it was the man who had to carry on his family name while the woman’s name was diminished and seen as an end to the family’s lineage. All in all, I think you guys did a wonderful job. A brand new last name as a compromise rather than wondering who’s last name would remain and whose would be lost. wish you guys a happy life together

    • Thanks very much for the thoughtful reply. I think that too many men fail to realize how much a woman may be giving up when she agrees to a name change. Of course, other people’s choices are their own but it bothers me when men or women just assume that the wife will take her husband’s name or that the only other option is for her to keep her own or hyphenate. So few couples consider that the man could change his name, too.

  6. What a great idea. I always said the same about taking a mans name. I recently got married and happily took my mans name tho. It’s the thing that made ‘me’ part of ‘us’, like you so beautifully described. Years and years I lived and travelled abroad, needing to spell my (very traditionally Dutch) name. Now I’m back in Holland after 15 years and finally everyone knows my first name, but now I need to spell my new (English / South African) last name. And I love it. My friends are jealous of my ‘exotic’ name. Good luck to you both!

  7. What a great explanation of your choice! I went with my husband’s name and gave up a seasonal last name for an un-pronounable one… we had definitely toyed with the idea of making something up but ended up being too afraid of the unconventional. Congrats to the Roberts Family!

  8. Love the idea. I hope the Roberts family has lots of success and fun on their path!

    When I was dating my then girlfriend, now wife, I made up a name so that I can take dance lessons from the studio she worked at as a surprise for her. My new first name was just a truncated version of my middle name: Fred instead of Frederich. My new last name was my father’s middle name: Richards… and for nearly a year, Fred Richards took dance lessons so that he’d be able to dance at our wedding. And for nearly two years later there were still people in the studio who would call me Fred, instead of my real name.

  9. OMG (and I generally hate using that term) – but what an awesome idea and fabulous opportunity. I had the phenomenal task of naming my two kids- it was so much fun- I got to put my heart and soul in it (yet keep it light :)) (came up with Zoey Elisheva and Asher Aaron) I LOVE your idea to make a name because i personally hate hyphenated names- Not the people with them, but just can’t stand the concept of the names-names. (Maybe because my maiden name was Arnspiger?) or maybe because for me it shows a union that’s not really a union. Making a new name is just such a great idea. I grew up with a feminist mother who never took anyone’s name nor anything from anyone, and I love and respect her- but when we go out to eat its the “blah-fala-deedaa-hola family- party of 5?!” (names obviously changed- but seriously…. ). Anyways – love the post- love the idea- thanks!!!

  10. I have considered making a new name. I have a pen name here and other places online I use. I would like a pen name to write novels under (it will be a combination of my grandparent’s names). But after months of online harassment, I have considered changing my appearance, moving somewhere far away, and creating a whole new persona and name. The name would be common, so it could get lost in a sea of others with the same name so I could never be specifically intentified again.

  11. Maybe, you could consider a family name from WAY back, one that no one would recognize from 100 years ago or something. Maybe, check out one of those ancestry.com or go the library or the courthouse of your hometown and look up birth records. Having been married four times (to men), I can totally relate to your dilemma…and once you change it, it seems that name NEVER dies. I’ve been married to my 4th for 13 years, and just yesterday, I got some junkmail addressed to my former married name that I haven’t used since 1993!!!

  12. P.S. I meant – you should go to ancestry.com since both of you don’t seem to be in love with the name ROBERTS…:), and the only reason I changed my last name was because of my children. It just got too confusing at their schools, etc.

    • Ha! Thanks! I think we’ll stick with Roberts because it makes it a little more palatable for our families. Caroline’s parents don’t know of our decision yet but my dad was very flattered that we’d chosen to use his first name. Also, obviously, I kind of already spilled the beans with some people… 😉

  13. I feel your hatred towards the traditional “taking of the man’s name” excessive but overall an insightful post. I never even considered choosing an entirely new last name as an option. It’s certainly a great choice when neither spouse wishes to take the name of the other.

    • Hatred might be a little strong. I won’t apologize for my opinion but I think that my tone about that issue could certainly use some work. Thank you for pointing that out.

      In the end, it’s not really my business what other women do. However, I do think that names are important. I certainly strongly identify with mine. And, I can’t help but think that anyone (male or female, gay or straight) who changes their name should first want to do so and second have a strong reason to do so. It’s a life changing step.

      For me, the idea that one would change their name for no other reason then that their spouses sex somehow trumps their own seems ridiculous. Further, if a married woman chooses not to change her name and the husband chooses not to change his, it is almost automatically assumed that the kids will take his name. This puts the woman at another disadvantage because, at the risk of being overly dramatic, she’s the outsider. It just doesn’t seem like a fair way to start a partnership.

      • It is a difficult issue for sure. For those women that are content with changing their name, there is no issue. My wife, for example, loves the name change. She feels that it brings us closer together and is perfectly happy with it being my last name.

        The situation is much simpler if one person in the relationship happens to be comfortable with changing their name. Obviously if both people insist on keeping their name then it can be challenging. Perhaps tradition, rather than for oppression, has remained because it simplifies the situation?

      • If I could interject with a little bit of global context…I used to tutor a Saudi Arabian student for his English, and he had a wife and small baby with him in the US. When I met his wife, she spoke excellent English and I asked her about whether she had taken her husband’s name when they got married. She looked at me like I was crazy! That is not a part of their tradition, even though many in the West look at Saudi Arabia as an example of a country that treats its women terribly (and in general I agree with that). She said that the kids take their mother’s name, too.

        In Chile, no one changes their name on marriage. Children bear both their parent’s names in addition to a “Christian” name and a middle name.In Korea, women generally do not change their last name on marriage. I lived in both those countries and I can tell you that not sharing a last name does not make people “less of a family” or any of that crap people spout about why partners must share a last name when married.

        It’s just not that big of a deal around the rest of the world, whatever someone chooses, unless others make it so. I’m not certain what I will do if I get married to my (male) partner. We’ve talked about it and will probably hyphenate, or I will keep my name. If everyone in Chile has four names, then it is simply not that big of an inconvenience for those around us to pronounce a hyphenated name. It’s an extra syllable, for crissake!

        Coleen Monroe

      • Very true. Our decision is definitely based on the facts of our own cultural sensibilities, US residencies and that we plan to build a family in the States. It’s a proactive measure to skirt some of the issues that we believe we will face once we get married.

      • Because my partner and I do not share citizenship, we might run into similar issues at some point. The US is particularly traditional when it comes to marriage from a legal standpoint (as I’m sure you’re more than aware), and they might want me to change my name so that we are more traditionally married.

        Luckily, the UK does not even require us to marry legally if we want to have legal immigration status. Just requires jumping through similar hoops to a legally-bound couple.

  14. love the new last name idea. I read somewhere about a couple who had long names that couldn’t be hyphenated. Their last names loosely translated into “bird” and “song” so they changed there last name to “birdsong”. Beautiful, eh? I know of other couples who blended the first syllable of their last names to create a new one.

    • Birdsong. That’s very sweet. We tossed out some whimsical ideas but it just didn’t suit us as a couple. We tried blending our names, too, but nothing sounded right. In the end, this was a practical decision for us. Thank you for the positive feedback!

  15. WOW! you write a lot! That was such an interesting story! I never even thought about problems like this and I’m so glad you could come up with a solution. Thank you(:

  16. I love this post. Honestly, it’s something that I’ve thought a lot about, because I’m in the same boat as you–a girlbot who plans on marrying another girlbot, and has this issue of last names to consider. Thank you for writing this post, and throwing out this lovely, unconventional option.

    • Thank you so much for the kind words and best of luck when you run into this issue in the future. Honestly, it’s been a bit strange explaining to our fairly conventional friends and family but everyone so far seems to understand and be supportive.

    • Your post was awesome. How funny! I always wanted to do something similar just for fun (go to a bar, be a new person) but could never seem to manage. I’m not even good about giving the wrong digits when an unwanted someone asks for my phone number. 😉

      • Believe it or not some cities have a phone number called ‘the reject hotline’. Basically when you call this number you get told that you were given a fake number, it’s not an accident, and not to contact the person.

        Pure gold 🙂

  17. I suggested to my wife that we both change to something new when we got married, but her desire to share my name was greater than my desire to have a more interesting surname.

    I do not feel the decision you make is important in the end; as long as both partners have an open discussion about which to do.

    On a practical note, some of my wife’s details took years of constant chasing to be updated by certain shameful institutions. So, being the one not changing your surname is an easier option.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting on my post. We’ve already started to realize how many times we’re going to have to change both of our last names on everything. Double the trouble…

  18. Did you pick my last name?! “Roberts” is a good last name.

    I feel the same way, I would never adopt a man’s name for myself. I enjoy being a “Ms.” rather than a “Mrs.” But if I was in a same-sex marriage, I would either change or hyphenate my name with her’s.

    Very good blog post.

  19. I remember standing in the registrar’s office when my hubby and I got married, and the officer asking if I was taking my husband’s last name. I looked at him blankly, as in my head the answer was a definitive NO, and this was purely because my first name and my hubby’s surname sound so damn weird and oddly funny together, but I remember saying yes, of course! I don’t regret it, although it did take me almost a year to change my e-mail signature to my married surname, as well as my voicemail on my cell 😉

    Loved this post!

  20. I love your solution, and it’s great that you managed to find a name that still honors both of your families while being unique to your immediate family. It’s pretty common here in Sweden, and if I was to marry my dude that’s what we would do – I understand what you mean about giving up part of your identity for your marriage, but that aspect of it doesn’t bother me. I’s the unbalance of one partner dealing with a new identity (inevitably the woman) while the guy gets to keep his, plus the symbolism of passing from your father’s family to your husband’s that bothers me.

    • Exactly! For me, this post was more about the decision to and process of arriving at our new name. But, as I’m reading comments I realize that there’s more discussion to be had about why on earth it’s still the norm for women to just take a husband’s name. Not to pass judgment on all women that choose this option but it does make me uncomfortable to see how many of my friends blindly go in that direction.

      • Me too – I try not to judge individuals, but in the abstract I really do struggle with it. Particularly as there seems to be a sense that there is something missing from the woman’s commitment if she choses to keep her own name – like, if she really loved him she would take his name. It’s such a double standard and truly pisses me off!

  21. When you change your name, I could ask what will happen to your memories that belongs to the old name? When a person meet you in the street 20 years from now and still only know your old name? – Will you deny knowing this person? Or do you think you need to explain every person you meet why you changed name? I wonder if you ever been thinking of these thoughts? Anyhow it is sometimes a good thing to change a name, correct, but there is a little but for me …… 🙂

    • Agreed. I certainly have given that some thought. I believe that I’ll hang on to all my experiences good or bad regardless of the change. We’re more than happy to explain to people why we settled on a name change but assume that most people won’t ask. I imagine that 75% of my Facebook friends will just assume that I took her last name, for instance. Either way, for me, this means that our family will have a more cohesive front and that’s important to us.

    • Would you ask these questions of a straight woman who took her husband’s name? C’mon. It’s really not that complicated.

  22. What a beautiful post! It sparked some interesting conversation up with my friend and what him and his partner might do, if/when marriage becomes their future (Yay, Minnesota for jumping on the bandwagon!!) Although, uncertain what he might do, I do know that as a little girl growing up, I had a unique and beautiful last name; however, it started with a “V.” I was always last, for everything! I always had to sit in the back of the classroom during assigned seating and it was so frustrating! I decided that when my husband and I got married, I was for sure going to moving up the alphabet going from a “V” to an “R.” 🙂 Best wishes!!

    • Thanks for reading! I’m glad that you liked it! I hadn’t thought of the alphabetical order issue and that I had just relegated our kids to the life of the R. As a B, it was never a problem for me. 😉

  23. This is exactly what I want to do. I do like hyphenation, but I don’t think my last name is very hyphenatable. I also know that I will complain about my name length even more than I already do if I make it longer. Now, I’m just hoping I can find a partner who doesn’t think this is a crazy idea.

    P.S. Thanks for some practical info about the process of choosing a new last name.

    • I’m happy that this could be helpful for you! Hyphenation was definitely not an option for us. It would have resulted in Brittingham-Sxxxxxxx or Sxxxxxxx-Brittingham. Quite the mouthful.

  24. What a lovely idea and such a smart process. I love the outcome as well. It’s simple and solid, yet connected to people you both love. When I divorced I decided I didn’t want my maiden name back, but I didn’t want to keep the married one either. I was born on my great-grandfather’s birthday, and I look like my great grandmother. I always admired him as an person who stood by his beliefs, and he was a musician, so I took his last name as mine. It has worked out well. I wish you both the best in your lives together.

    • Thank you for the comment and the well wishes! We’re proud of our father’s and our choice in name. It’s so good to see how many others have made the same decision.

  25. I literally joined wordpress earlier today and yours is the first blog I randomly clicked on. What an absolutely refreshing post! The last name issue has always frustrated me as I am the youngest and last remaining unmarried family member with my last name (plus my last name is really cool 🙂 ). If you google my last name every person that appears is related to me (we are a very small family). I have made no final decision about what I will do when I marry, but I LOVE the thoughtful way you and Caroline settled on a last name. I look forward to keeping up with your blog! Thanks for making my first “wordpress experience” a positive and inspiring one!

    • What a sweet comment! A little secret, exposed: I just started blogging two weeks ago. I have no idea what I’m doing and am absolutely thrilled that people like this post. I never realized how therapeutic and gratifying it would be to share and connect with other people in this way. Good luck to you on your writing journey!

  26. I can go back to my great-grandfather’s first wife, who died of complications from a second childbirth (possibly leukemia): the obituary lists her maiden last name, then “wife of …”
    This is a practice I’ve also found in headstones of their faith tradition, and others.
    It’s a healthy option

  27. What a great idea! Wish I had thought of it before getting married! I wonder how my husband would feel about it (I kept my own name)…

  28. totally cool concept! i was just having a similar discussion with my family members while on vacation though my half-joke is that i want to find a man who would be wiling to take my last name because well, it’s pretty awesome you see lol. anyway – i agree with what you’re talking about in terms of identity… that’s been my name and identity forever so why should i be the one to give it up? yes there is hyphenation, etc., but for kids that’s problematic but if women always give up their name and their the only ones in the family, eventually that family name dies out, etc. i love the idea of making up a new name – it fits the idea right? a new shared life together? both give up some to gain a lot in the end? i think it’s a wonderful idea and what a fantastic post! congrats on FP. 🙂

    • Thanks! We both will mourn the loss of our old names a bit, I think. But, I’m pretty damn excited about the next steps for us. Just hope the kids appreciate all the work we’re putting in to building a nest 😉

  29. I really enjoyed reading this! I find the idea of names and identity being intertwined as very interesting. I myself have changed my own surname (for other reasons) and I chose to go for my mum’s maiden name, as there is no-one else left in my family with that surname (my mum, being traditional, chose to change her name to my dad’s when they married – which was a bit of a shame, as his name is much more common, and there is still a wide extended family carrying the name; my mum’s maiden name was therefore lost when my grandad died, as my mum had no siblings, and her mum had already married and given up the name).

    I think your idea of choosing a new name, which will form part of your identity as a married couple, is a fabulous idea. And your choice of Roberts is perfect, as it still has links to both of families – great choice!

    Wishing you all the best for your wedding! 🙂

    • Thank you so much! It’s been nice to see how many people have commented about having switched up their own names. There is something freeing about having a choice in the matter!

  30. I’m quite feminist as well but this is still a question I can not answer for myself. My current boyfriend is DEEP in his family history so he would NEVER change his last name. Me on the other hand… there is a rumor that my grandmother made up my father’s last name after he was born. He originally had his father’s last name, but soon after his birth she changed it. The last name is neither his father’s or his mother’s… in fact, we aren’t positive where she got it from. She claimes it was on my grandfather’s side, but he swears he has no idea what she’s talking about. So for me, I don’t really have an attachment to my last name (family-wise) unless I think about the people that I’ve met, the events I’ve attended… those are all connected to my current last name… if it were to change would it be hitting the reset button?

    Very much enjoyed reading your blog post. Thanks for sharing!
    -Athena

    • I’m sort of in the same boat as far as having little attachment to the family history of my current name. I care but wouldn’t let that stop me from changing it for practical purposes. However, as I mentioned in my post, I will definitely mourn the loss of any of my personal written history. Again, not enough to stop me, but enough to make me pause. I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading!

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  32. Hey,

    First, congratulations to this great solution to your problem. A name change can be quite a burden (even if it’s just the legal issues and teaching all your friends your new one), and it’s better if that is handled by both partners, together. Assuming they will like the name Roberts as well, I think this is also a good solution regarding the kids.

    However, I was slightly taken aback by these two sentences:
    >There is no way that I would take a man’s name, on principal. Even if I loved it.
    And I struggle with understanding the thought process behind it. I can’t say I like my last name very much, and I also don’t have any family members that care about if it is passed on. So if I were to find a woman I’d like to marry, and I could see myself having her last name, I wouldn’t have to think about it twice.
    But completely ruling out to ever adapt a name from a partner, even if you loved it, just because he’s male, seems quite… extreme? Does it make a name less “nice” for you if it would also imply his family line would be continued? I personally can’t understand why you’d let yourself be influenced in such an important decision by something so irrelevant.
    If it’s just for the sake of breaking with traditions, I think just doing what you want to do instead of insisting on doing the opposite what tradition demands seems at least to me like the better option. After all, this way, your decision is still heavily influenced by tradition, even if it’s in the opposite direction.

    Anyway, best of luck! I’m sure you will be a great mum, along with your partner 🙂

    • Timmy,

      Your comment made me feel guilty because you nailed my reasoning, even though it’s silly. I absolutely see your point and I understand that the opinion I posted is more, let’s say, radical feminism than equal rights-oriented feminism. In a perfect world, I would love for this decision to be completely gender-neutral.
      The problem is that I just don’t think I, personally, could do it. For me, it’s about a mix of rebellion and (perhaps, misplaced?) pride. And, honestly, I know that I’m probably not in the right here.
      I’ve always been annoyed by people who blindly assume or not so blindly believe that wives should take husband’s names. In my hometown, I don’t think I knew one woman who went by her maiden name or hyphenated the two. Not one. I certainly didn’t know any couples where the man had chosen to take his wife’s name. In fact, despite being a hippie and living in progressive Washington, DC, I still don’t.
      Sure, there are tons of progressive guys out there and I know quite a few, but my experience tells me that, in the US, this is still a very uncommon for men to do. If in that situation, I just wouldn’t want to perpetuate the tradition and most likely would choose not to. Regardless of the reasons for taking a husband’s name, I would not want to be one of those wives, or have anyone else think that I am.
      Again, I get the hypocrisy. But, I decided when I began blogging that I wouldn’t lie for popularity, so there you have it.
      Thank you very much for reading and commenting!

  33. I am a MtF transgender woman, and due to unfavorable results in my coming out to my family, I had to change my last name as well. It is very strange, at first, but now I couldn’t imagine it any other way. The good news in my story is that I was adopted by a very loving woman who took me in as her own daughter, so I took her last name when I filed for my name change.

    I love your blog, by the way, and I love how you and your fiance have come together to make a new last name! I love that idea, and I hope the two of you have a long happy life together! Congratulations and best of luck to you both!

  34. I like your creative solution for the name change. My husband and I are getting ready to adopt and since we have different last names everyone says “what name will the child have?” (the assumption is they would take his name…haha) I don’t want to hyphenate our last names so we are sticking to our original plan: first girl child will have my last name, second girl child will have his last name, first boy child will have his last name, second boy child will have my last name. Since we plan on having 2 kids max we will end up with one of each last name. The next question is “if they are really siblings won’t that confuse them?” Well they will really be siblings when we adopt them and they will share a last name with one of their parents. It doesn’t seem confusing to me. Of course when you are trying to bond as a new family it might help if everyone had the same last name (which I have been thinking a lot about). Unfortunately I can’t think of anything that would be really meaningful for both of us. We might need to borrow yours! Thank you for sharing this journey and offering your insight and CONGRATULATIONS!

  35. Pingback: A Conscious Decision to Hate Myself | Life and other things·

  36. I think that is pretty clever! I too will be crossing that bridge sometime next year… Although I wouldn’t have pick an entirely different last name, but to take his last name or not to… That is the question! Good luck to you both!!

  37. I just started reading your blog – I love it and find your honesty refreshing. I’ve considered changing my name (and may do so later on in life, because I have always loved the idea of a family name), but realized I have an emotional connection to being a Palmero. I’m glad you found one that you both can stand behind and is meaningful to the two of you. Best wishes to the Roberts!

    • Thanks, Myra! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. This was a big decision for us but it’s definitely the right one. We’ve become really attached to the name in the last couple of months and can’t wait for the switch.

      Congrats on your own blog!!! Writing has been a lot of fun for me so I hope you get something out of it, too. I excited to see what you make on your cooking adventure. 🙂

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