DID YOU/WILL YOU CHANGE YOUR LAST NAME?

03/29/2017

elvisIs name changing becoming a thing of the past? As we move further into the 21st century, fewer women are changing their last name after marriage, and some couples are even creating a new last name by combining parts of their former surnames. Whereas certain women view this new-age trend as a refreshing break from patriarchal tradition, others prefer the unity—or convenience—of a shared last name. Similarly, some women are proud of their heritage, identity, or family name, and therefore want to hold on to it. Regardless, there’s certainly no right or wrong way to do it—all options are rooted in personal values and preference.

I was raised with my mother’s last name, but to this day I go by a hyphenated version of my former husband’s last name (Kicinski) and my current husband’s (McCoy). I still have a close relationship with my ex, so it never seemed odd to me that I kept his last name, which is also shared by my two older kids, Julian and Plum. My little kids, Birdie and Sailor, have their dad’s last name, so a hyphenated version of the two seemed like the best option for me, so we could all share the same name.

So, what are your thoughts? Did you/will you change your last name? Feel free to share below!

Photo above via Getty Images.

78 comments

  • Marnie Brunton

    I’m adopted, and my adopted family and I were never very close. When I met my husband I was happy to take his name! It suited me and it was nice to have a choice for the first time in my life.I’m sure many people that were orphaned feel the same. It was a blessing and a gift of love for me.

  • Ella

    Very interesting. I wish I’d given it more thought when I married, but I was 19 (just shy of my 20th birthday). So, very young & naive. Not to mention, I’d moved from Australia to America, married an American and was going through the process of obtaining permanent residency (it was just easier to take my husband’s name). Also, at the time I wasn’t a fan of my maiden name (it was never pronounced properly and I always had to spell it for people). Now, I kind of wish I’d hyphenated my maiden and husband’s surname. Since taking my husband’s surname, both my first and last names have exactly 4 letters in each – some think that’s great and unique but I really wish my name was longer (probably from always being asked if “Ella” is short for another name).

  • Erin

    I changed my name to my husbands, and I like having the same name as him. I never felt pressured to make that decision, and I also never felt like I would loose who I was by changing my name. It really wasn’t that big of a deal to me. I definitely embrace the to each their own idea though… it’s your family, your choice.

  • Stephanie

    Wow, I have never given much thought into this. I took my husbands last name and dropped my maiden name. I have brothers and nephews to carry the name so it doesn’t stop with me. It’s really not that deep for me, I guess this is just one of those traditions that I don’t mind.

  • Julia

    When I was a child I had my father’s name, but then, my parents divorced when I was 6. After 5 years my mother decided return to her own name and then when I was 16 I took hers. Now, when I’m gonna get married I want to stay with my old one to extend family name.

  • Ally

    Me & my husband-to-be are creating a new last name since we both want to share the same last name but neither of us particularly want to take the other’s. It’s caused some tension in his family, as they feel rejected (which I can understand but is not the intention). We’re really excited about it! It’s hard to choose when you can pick from literally anything, though!

    I believe that names are so important to our identities, and we have the right to choose what they are. I have no problem with following traditions if you agree with them, but automatically taking my husband’s last name even if I don’t like how it sounds with mine isn’t for me xxx

  • Erica

    I had no idea people were choosing to create a new last name by combining two spouses names together! I love that we are able to do as we choose and have many options available. From a genealogical stand-point it seems like a last name that is a unique creation would be harder to trace in the family lines.

  • Nicole Bennett

    I love this topic. I think that the way your decided to keep both names is beautiful. I am nowhere close to being married/engaged but I envision that I will keep my last name. Being a Bennett is an honor in my eyes, and a way to hang onto my late father even more. I would consider hyphenating with my future partner. I do think that this tradition of changing last names to your partners has faded but every situation and marriage is its own so who’s to say what’s right or wrong. xo

  • Mia

    This is probably super weird, but when I was in high school I saw the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and I loved it. At the end of movie, the two main characters had gotten married, and they had both changed their last names by hyphenating them. I would love to do that with my partner.

    I have heard that some women prefer to have their husbands change their last names to theirs. I think that role reversal is pretty cool too

  • Victoria Coura

    Personally, I won’t have my name changed. My name is too big already: let me explain: here in Brasil, the custom is to have one last name from your mother and one from your father. However, when my father registered me, he put both of his last names on me AND one of my mother’s last names (since each of them has two, one of each parent). Although that’s not prohibited, that’s also not encouraged. Also, here the law doesn’t let you remove and “original” last name (one that is from your birth certificate), to avoid fraud and such. So, my full name is Victória Coura Nunes de Faria (I usually go just by Victória Coura). If I ever get married and decided to change my name, it would become Victória Coura Nunes de Faria Blablabla.

    Anyways, I wouldn’t have my name changed. Not only because it would become ridiculously big, but also because I think last names have to do with heritage, roots and origins, things that I won’t have in common with a future husband.

  • Emma

    I took my husbands last name when we got married, I used to hate my surname as it was so common. My new surname isn’t much less so, but oh well.

    I do wander if I were getting married now though, having become much more of a feminist over the past five or so years, if I would still take it.

    It kind of bugs me that it is only women who are having this discussion, we don’t expect men to change their names to match their wives at all, it’s barely even questioned. Similarly, lots more women are keeping their surnames but still give their children their husbands name.

    It’s definitely an interesting question, and I am fascinated to find out what the traditions will be when our children grow up and get married.

  • Claire

    I understand it’s controversial to say this, but I am personally against women changing their last name. Originally, women’s names were changed when they got married because were considered property of their husband. What a horrible origin – I don’t want any part of that.

    When my parents married my mother never changed her last name, so I have my father’s last name. For those women concerned about not having the same last name as their children, I can tell you that having a different last name from my mother caused issue exactly 0 times in my life. I was surprised it never caused a problem, but it really didn’t.

  • Sarah

    There is something to be said about someone’s name and the sense of attachment we feel towards it. I got married for the first at 40 and did not feel any desire to take on my husbands name. I’ve established a career for myself and am know by my madien name. My husband did feel hurt at first about my not wanting to change my last name. With time it got better but ultimately I did decide to go the route of hyfinating my last name. I felt like it sill allowed me to maintain my sense of self but also share a bond with my husband through his last name. I have been surprised by just how many women now a days maintaini their last names after marriage.

  • Christina Parker

    I will keep both. I think it will sound good like Christina Parker Johson or Watson or any else

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