5 things nobody told me about changing my last name

April 15 | Guest post by Nicole
Hello, my name is DIFFERENT! © by quinn.anya, used under Creative Commons license.
Hello, my name is DIFFERENT! © by quinn.anya, used under Creative Commons license.
I've been married for two months. Woot! It seems like I've been through so much since then, but the biggest issue has been changing my name. I had a really difficult time with it.

I was not prepared for having a new name. I love my husband, and I love being married, but I had no idea what sharing a name with someone really meant. I won't get into the arguments for changing or not changing your name when you get married. We could debate that forever. But I will say that it was a very difficult decision for me, and though I chose to give up my last name in favor of his, I had a full blown identity crisis in the months after the wedding. I found myself constantly saying, "Nobody told me about this." Here are a few things that I discovered, just to further inform those of you who are contemplating the "big switch."

1. You will have to relearn your signature

Seems obvious, right? I had never even thought of that. You spend years learning how to sign your name until it becomes a reflex, and suddenly you have to think about how to write your letters. It's not easy.

2. It's okay to ask people to call you by your first name

A lot of people embrace their married names. I cringed at mine. It didn't feel like me. Every time somebody delightedly addressed me as "Mrs. Fox," I wanted to go hide somewhere. But it's ok to say, "Please, [First Name] is fine." You have every right to be called by a name you're comfortable with, and you deserve some time to get used to this adjustment before diving in headfirst. Just be polite about it — people are generally happy for you and don't mean any harm.

3. This is frustrating as hell

I have never heard anyone speak about the myriad pains-in-the-ass of changing your name. It's "just something you do." But you will wait in long lines at government offices, you will pay money, you will make a dozen phone calls to credit card and insurance companies, you will mess up checks because you signed your old name, you will introduce yourself incorrectly multiple times. You may curse your decision to change your name (more than once, in my case). You might feel a sense of loss for your family and your heritage. You may wonder "Who am I?" If only one of you is changing your name, you might cry about how it's so unfair that you have to do all of this and your partner doesn't. All of this is normal, and you're not alone.

4. You need to talk to your significant other

If they're not also taking a different name, they won't truly understand what you're going through. It's a major thing. Your name is WHO YOU ARE, and you just up and made it something else. But you can't bottle that up! It only leads to resentment. Talk to your partner about how you're feeling, but don't be surprised if they're initially a little hurt. They may take it as a rejection of their name, and possibly a rejection of them. Be reassuring, and let them know you need some support during this process, and your spouse will have your back. You're in this together, after all.

5. It gets easier

Seriously, it does. The more you say and write your new name, the more natural it becomes. If you're having trouble, remember why you chose to change your name in the first place. Remember all of the love and happiness of your wedding day, and remind yourself that this experience is, in a way, a form of expression for those emotions.

These were the experiences of a woman taking her husband's name — for those of you in different situations, we'd love to hear the lessons YOU learned. What's it like when both partners change their names? What are the challenges when your partner takes YOUR name?

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  1. I'm smack-dab in the middle of changing my name and yes, the signature part is foreign. I have to slow down and make sure I'm spelling it right. Even just initialing something takes an extra bit of work. Seems silly but it's those little things….

    I just obtained the certified license today, so I'm now gathering fax numbers and addresses so I can change the name where they require proof.

    The one thing I love about changing my name though? I'm embracing the new "me." The old me didn't like who I was but this new me is ready to take on the world. I'm keeping my maiden name as my middle name (because a lot of people already know that name and my parents, so it gets my foot in the door sometimes), but this new last name is coming with me on the adventure of a lifetime!

    12 agree
    • I love your attitude about this! And I wish I had had the opportunity to take my maiden name as my middle name. Unfortunately, in my state, that's not something you can change at the same time. I have to go back and file all of the paperwork again. Someday, I'll get to it.

      1 agrees
    • I did the exact same thing! I like having my former last name still in there while embracing my new last name.

      • Wow! It is super awesome to see what a group of women my age think about this topic.
        I have been married since 10/13/12 and as a 7 month+ newlywed The Husband and I have had conversations about changing my name a couple of times. We originally didn't go through all the legal shenanigans of name changing because our honeymoon overseas was going to be only 2 months after our wedding and we wouldn't have enough time to get me a new passport.
        He still insists he doesn't care if I ever change my name. My name is still legally my maiden name (a nine – lettered – rather – sexy – sounding – Czech name) when I sign things. In public I go with my name and his name hyphenated which does drive some people nuts because my maiden name is really long and his has 7 letters. This is especially true of my parents who are VERY traditional and want me to change to ONLY his last name. His family (my amazing 76 year old mother – in – law included) doesn't care and are open minded about the whole thing.
        I have said to my guy that when we do finally have some kids I do want them to take only his last name and that maybe then I will switch to just his. I taught art at a large high school for 8 very recent years and my students who had hyphenated names hated it, so that's why I would prefer my future offspring to take my husbands' name.
        But, for the time being, I will stick with mine for signature and legal document purposes.

        3 agree
    • Just wanted to point out for this comment and the article, that actually you do not "have" to change your signature. You can sign your name however you'd like, the main thing credit card companies are looking for is to see if something is "not" your signature.

      You should do whatever you like, of course!, but thought I'd throw that in there as another option. I haven't read all the comments though, sorry if this is already addressed.

      5 agree
      • I tend to enjoy signing my name in a myriad of ways. Changing how I write it, or what I write. I'm a handwriting nerd in that respect. I think, for awhile, I was signing stuff with "X~~~~~~" or something like it. Changing my signature just reminds me of when I used to doodle names of guys on my notebooks, only this time it's for real. 🙂

        2 agree
        • I was thinking along the same lines. I don't plan on changing my name, but I'm 90% certain that I drop letters out of my name as it is.

          3 agree
        • Before I got married I'd already shortened my signature down to just my initials and "styalised" it so much that it wasn't really readable, so I'm not sure anyone actually noticed when I switched the D for an H. You'd think they're pretty different letters but when you're basically waving a pen at a bit of paper they can be surprisingly similar.

          1 agrees
      • You're right, there is no real "have to" for anything involved with this process. Thanks for the reminder!

        1 agrees
    • I totally agree with this. I was so stoked to take on my husband's name. Because my parents divorced, I was left with a last name that I didn't share with the family I identified with for the first 22 years of my life. Finally getting to share a last name with my newly made family was the best. Unfortunately, it also left me with a last name that nobody can pronounce or spell! But it's totally worth it for me.

      6 agree
    • This was me too. I love my maiden name so I put it in the middle.
      It also makes the signing thing easier… I could still write my name, just add my new last name on the end.

      • My last name is long already – at 7 letters, my husbands last name boasts 10 letters! While I want to embrace his name I don't want to loose mine – but going with the hyphened name is extensive. Any suggestions? People are saying you can sign whatever you want?! So I could still sign my maiden name even after changing names? Hmmm…..

  2. I didn't change my name completely. When I found out I could add my partner's name as a second last name, I was so stoked. I didn't want to change my name at all, but after a lot of conversations with my partner and how important it was to him, this was a great way to go about it. It also helped with the identity crisis part. I did laugh, though, when I signed my full, full name for the first time (because I kept my middle name) and realized I had forgotten how to write a cursive "F." Also, there is a lot of explanation on my side of "No, really, I have two last names. No, it's not hyphenated." What's also fun is that I gave my son my last name as his middle name before my partner and I were married, so now my last name is his middle-last name, which is kind of cool. 🙂

    7 agree
    • I have two last names also, albeit by accident. It's what the clerk erroneously put on the marriage certificate, but I liked it, so I went with it!

      Sometimes I just say "the hyphen is silent."

      In the US having two last names is weird, but I'm pretty sure it's common in other countries.

      26 agree
      • Forgive me, but I'm dying of laughter over "the hyphen is silent."

        49 agree
      • "The hyphen is silent."

        Oh, I love this! We're giving our children two unhyphenated last names (my husband and I retained our birth surnames) and I've been at a loss to come up with a way to inform folks that the surname is two names, no hyphen, without getting one of the names dropped. Thank you for that!

        7 agree
    • "No, really, I have two last names. No, it's not hyphenated."

      THIS! People don't understand the two last names thing. I keep getting mail to Mrs. Second-Last-Name.

      I also kept my middle name and I keep getting asked "why didn't you just drop your middle name?" Then I have to explain that 1. Because I love my middle name and 2. It is the middle names of my grandmothers (LeeAnn) and I love that it connects me to them!

      Cheers to having ridiculously long names!

      12 agree
      • Someone who understands!! I love love love my middle name because I was named after a late relative. I didn't want to move my maiden name as a second middle name either so I was overjoyed when the Social Security guy told me I could have two legal last names

        1 agrees
    • British fashion editor Isabella Blow was born Isabella Delves Broughton – a two-part last name (due to two sets of prominent aristocratic ancestors on her father's side), with no hyphen. Multiple surnames are also not unusual in Spanish-speaking countries.

      5 agree
    • If having matching last names was so important to your husband why didn't he just change his last name to yours?

      Cool that you found a way to do it that was comfortable for you, but expecting you to change your identity in order to pacify him? That seems very entitled and 'ownership' like :~/

      1 agrees
  3. I never felt particularly attached to my name, so when I changed it (mostly because I liked my husband's last name better), I didn't experience any sort of identity issues, but it was a pain in the ass. I hate doing things like calling credit card companies and it literally took all day to get my driver's license and social security stuff changed. Even once you think you finished, there's that one random account that you forgot about that comes up three months later. Annoying. Eventually things settled down though and now I fully identify with my married name. People sometimes refer to me by my last name (or a combo of my first and last names) and it feels so natural. It actually feels a little weird when I see my maiden name written somewhere.

    10 agree
  4. Wow! I could have written this myself! Writer Boy and I got married 5 months ago, and I took his last name (I did consider keeping mine, but I don't have strong emotional ties to it, and it was important to Writer Boy that we share a name).
    The first time someone called me Mrs. Writer Boy I thought they were talking to someone else. It was a very strange feeling. I don't really miss old last name, but man, I wrote that for 28 years! It is HARD to change that writing habit! Just last week, I was at work (talking on the phone and writing an email at the same time) when the FedEx guy comes in with a package. I take his little signature sign-y thing, and scrawled out old last name. I didn't realize it until after he left; immediately, I felt like I betrayed Writer Boy and the name we share. I know its silly and I didn't ACTUALLY betray him. All the same, it was a reminder that life is different now than it was when I was single, and that is not a bad thing. 🙂

  5. After almost 5 years I feel that I have finally migrated over to my "new" last name. For the first two jobs post-marriage I silently hyphenated my maiden name (technically it's legally my middle name, now) and new last name. Just now, at my new job, I decided to not have them use the 2 last names and just went with my husband's last name. I think it's because it's easier to say aloud AND because I have a kid with his last name.

    I still use it in my email signature, though!

    The process takes awhile…both paperwork AND emotionally!

    • I did the same thing–made my maiden name my middle name (dropping my original middle name, which had no significance) and taking my husband's last name as my legal last name. I usually go by the whole long mouthful of a name. I must say, though, that my husband's last name is so much simpler than mine that I like using it for things like calling the doctor or making reservations (they can actually find me in the computer now!).

      Our third anniversary is next week and I still haven't fully changed over my name everywhere. I did my drivers' license, passport, insurance, workplace stuff, etc. right away but not all of the banks and credit cards. I just changed my Social Security card last month. It turns out that when your original last name is still part of your name, no one questions that your credit cards and drivers license say something slightly different. It's weird. Anyway, changing my name was a pain in the butt, but worth it for what it meant to my partner.

      2 agree
      • We hyphenated and I have to agree that when your new name includes your original name, it seems like it is really clear to people that it is still you, so they don't question when the names don't match. It definitely simplifies things.

        One of my biggest reservations about hyphenating was that it made it relatively obvious that I am married and denies me the option of whether to disclose that in, for instance, a job interview. While discrimination based on marital status is illegal, it is also a reality in many places, in particular for women.

        2 agree
        • I would think that it was relatively obvious that I'm married because I hyphenated, but I still get called "Miss…." a lot. Which strikes me as really bizarre since I was under the impression that if you don't know what a woman's marital status is/what she prefers, you are supposed to stick to "Ms….", so I ought be getting called either "Ms." or "Mrs." if people assume my hyphenated name means I'm married. "Miss…." should only be happening if for some reason they think it's safe to assume I'm more likely single than not. I also once had a library patron with whom I was discussing genealogy remark that my last name was very interesting and ask if I'd researched it. I had to tell him that it had only gotten interesting a few months before. My husband's name and my maiden name are both extremely common. One of the things that I like about hyphenating is that for once I can be relatively sure there aren't two other people in my city with the same name as me.

          • Also, I know loads of kids with hyphenated names. I wouldn't assume someone was married because of a hyphenated name.

            11 agree
          • I think a lot of people are under the impression that "Ms" is an abbreviation for "Miss," since "Miss," unlike "Mrs." isn't actually an abbreviation of anything. I have the *hardest* time convincing students that "Ms" and "Miss" are different … complicated by the fact that in a lot of schools, the administration writes "Ms" and everybody says "Miss" whether the teacher is married or not … I guess "Miss" also just flows really easily for little kids, and some kids are taught to call their parents' friends "Miss Jane," etc., instead of "Mrs. Jones" even if that person is married.

            So I think some people just don't grow out of it, and they just say "Miss" all the time 🙂 Hey, it's better than "Ma'am," which is very polite, but makes me feel super old!!

            3 agree
      • When people ask me why did I drop my middle name and use my maiden name as my new middle name, I gently remind them it was "Tina Rena" with that exact spelling. Yeah, I'm tired of telling people it's pronounced Re-nay and that, no, my first and middle name do not rhyme!

        2 agree
  6. I'm in a bit of a hybrid situation, in Alberta you have the right to use either name, so I am using my married name for just about everything, and my maiden name for work, as it keeps one step removed between my clients and I.

    It is an adjustment remembering which name to introduce myself with, but mostly it hasn't been an issue. My signature is pretty illegible, so I haven't had to make any changes to it.

    Occasionally I'll get stopped at court security as my Law Society ID has my maiden name, but my drivers license has my married name. As soon as I explain that I got married, they wave me through.

    2 agree
    • Surely anywhere (in the English-speaking world anyway) you have the right to use either name?

      1 agrees
    • I kept my signature too. It's also practically illegible. I love that it's a secret way I'm connected to my old name and I feel mildly subversive whenever I sign it, like a sneaky middle finger to convention. Ha.

      6 agree
  7. THIS THIS THIS!

    And, if you use your last name in your email address, you may want to change that too.

    Amanda Auchenpaugh = so easy to make an email address out of. amanda.auchenpaugh@backoffyoustalkers.goaway? Not taken!

    Amanda Cook = most common name EVAR
    amanda.cook = no
    cook.amanda = no
    amandacook = no
    cookamanda = no, and sounds like you're about to roast me in an oven.
    amanda.a.cook = too much
    amandaacook = no
    cook.amandaa = FINALLY. But having to explain, "No, I did not mis-write my own goddamn email address. YES, there is an extra A in there." Not fun.

    Yeah, it's a pain. And I do regret it sometimes. But I'm learning that I can still be as unique as I want with my boring-ass last name.

    10 agree
    • AGREED!! I wanted to write about the email situation too, but I was starting to ramble so I took that part out. I ended up having to use my whole first name, my middle initial, my maiden name initial, and my whole last name to find a combination that worked!

      1 agrees
    • Oh, how sad I was to lose my "first initial/uncommon last name" gmail address , in favor of my new "first name/middle initial/common last name" address! It's pretty much my only regret about changing my name.

    • I chose not to change my e-mail address. Way too much of a pain and a risk of losing contact with people.

      5 agree
      • My old address still forwards to my new address, which is helpful, since most of my relatives don't really acknowledge my name change. (They love my husband and support me, but the women in my family haven't changed their names in several generations and most of them think it's really weird that I changed mine.)

        1 agrees
      • A few months before I got married, I created a new address that I figured would prevent confusion: first initial, maiden name, and married name all smushed together. I just changed the signature and sender names after I changed my name.

        I confess, I took me several months to get around to name changing (Social Security, driver's license, bank paperwork, most official documents), and 1 1/2 years later, I still haven't updated my passport and occasionally come across the odd item that I forgot to fix. You don't realize how much you put your name on things until you go to change it!

        Oh, and I didn't change my signature: my signature is illegible, trying to update it would make it look really fake–to me at least, and married name and maiden name are about the same length, anyway.

    • So true! I always had firstname.lastname@anydomain.com, but now I have a longer and more common last name so I have to throw in my middle name. When I give my email address over the phone, I still use the one for my maiden name because it's so many fewer characters.

    • Ugh, seriously. My husbands last name is Moore, the 9th most common name in the country. When you google my name now, I'm very unique. With the last name of Moore, I would be one in ten.

    • I currently have first.last@ email address. I'm not even engaged…but I have FirstnameMiddleinitial.Boyfriend's surname@ gmail account…just in case!

      2 agree
    • I love this comment because we're basically taking our digital selves into account. This was part of my rationale for what I like to call my division between 'church and state': I changed my name on my paperwork and in Facebook (friends and family) but I have kept my maiden name at work and on LinkedIn and Twitter. Bizniss Neerrrrrd! But I think it works. One of the key reasons I changed it at all is that I'm my husband's second wife, and the first didn't take it. I like that I get this "first", and I also want the same last name as our kids; very important to me.

      • One of the key reasons I changed it at all is that I'm my husband's second wife, and the first didn't take it. I like that I get this "first", and I also want the same last name as our kids; very important to me.

        Me, too.

        2 agree
    • Yes. This. Now I have more email addresses than I care to count, because I had my old last name as a professional and personal emails. So two new ones with the new name, and my new last name is so common that someone already had FirstNameLastName, unlike before. I had to start a word document to keep track of them all. Lame.

    • I'm quite the opposite! I get to trade my ridiculously common surname for a gorgeously exotic unusual last name. I already reserved my firstnamelastname@gmail.com without ANY suggestions needed, ahhh what a dream! AND, if I Google my new name, it gets 2000 hits instead of almost a million. The downside is having to spell out my new name for the rest of my life and having to teach my family and friends how to pronounce it. Can't have your cake and eat it, right?

  8. I know the pain of name change very well. My maiden name was four letter, and when I took my husband name it got boosted to a hearty 13. And on top of that my husband has two last names, Anderson being from his dad's side and Smith from his mother's. That alone has cause the brunt of my problems, especially with social security. No matter what I do my SSN says flagged.

  9. It took me almost 2 years to get around to changing my name. I would have kept both names, but the clerk at the office when we filled out the marriage certificate said I could choose my name when I made the actual name change, which did not end up being true. Since I'd put my maiden name in the middle name area for space accommodating purposes, I had to take his name, not change my name at all, or go through the legal name change process complete with judge, fee, newspaper announcement, etc. Ick. I definitely went through an identity crisis, as I'd never intended to change my name. I still haven't fully come to terms with it, and may still eventually go the legal change route, when I have extra money to spend on such a thing.

    But anyway, it took ages to get everything changed. What a PITA. But I never changed my signature. My signature is so illegible (essentially a tangle of my original initials) that it says whatever I say it says. It was my personal rebellion, not changing my signature.

    1 agrees
    • I filled out the form correctly, but when we got the certificate back after the wedding it was wrong. And the Social Security office would only change my name to what was on the certificate, so I would have had to get a new certificate.
      Clerks make mistakes (or might be new and not trained yet), so make sure you look up the info yourself. In the US, it differs by state, so what I always thought I'd do wasn't an option because we're living in a state with different laws.

  10. There is no time limit. I waited about 8 months after getting married because I was ambivalent about it. I did it once I felt I really wanted to and had the emotional stamina for bureaucracy. I haven't had regrets. My advice is to only make one major life change at a time (if you can) and only do each when you feel good and ready.

    4 agree
    • My mom actually changed the name on her Social Security card at the same time as I did. She was married 30 years earlier and had never gotten around to changing it. The DMV used to let people use their married names on their driver's licenses without proof, but when she went to get it renewed they required a valid Social Security card.

      1 agrees
  11. I side stepped a new signature by just keeping my old one! It's illegible anyway so no one knows what the hell it's supposed to say! It's actually my old initials SH but it just looks like a squiggle so I kept it. I like that squiggle 🙂

    4 agree
      • We hyphenated and I just added a hyphen and another squiggle. Illegible signatures definitely simplify changing it.

        1 agrees
    • Oh, I sat down one day and practiced signing my new name about a hundred times. The trick for me was getting used to signing my first name with the new last name, so the repetition helped a LOT.

      1 agrees
      • I'm so glad I'm not the only one who practices signing her new name lol. We're not married yet, but I'm trying to get used to what will be my name, so I practice writing "Elizabeth Flanigan" like a middle-school girl with a crush!!

  12. I did the following to help things be easier:
    Use my unique middle name for my email
    I only sign my first name, ever. (credit cards, etc really don't care what the signature looks like, as long as you can tell them, Yes that is mine)
    I changed my driver's license and my bank accts. I let everything else be until they asked me about it. We still get bills in my prior name.

    Also, you can begin going by the new name and, after a while, decide if you really want to change it officially.

  13. I went back and forth about it, but ended up deciding to take my husband's last name for a number of reasons. When we came out of the clerk's office with our marriage license, after I officially indicated my intent to change my name, I sat in the car and sobbed. What a weird mix of emotions — grief and guilt and nostalgia in there with the happiness and excitement of getting hitched. I made my maiden name my middle name, and use my full name most places, because I feel like I know who that person is.

    3 agree
  14. I've had this discussion so many times with my mother-in-law explaining to her why I'm keeping my name. Back in her day it was not only expected to change, but it was also easy. You just started calling yourself by your new name. I've got university degrees and certificates, passport, drivers licence, bank accounts, professional achievements, tax numbers, property ownership and 30 years of my personal identity all using my maiden name before I got married. When my mother-in-law got married at the age of 19, she didn't even have a bank account! She didn't know it would be such a big deal for me to change my name because her experience was just so different.

    My mother changed her name because the bank wouldn't allow her to have a loan to buy a car when they though she was an unmarried woman. I'm so glad we have the choice now.

    20 agree
  15. My husband and I both hyphenated, largely because it was important to me that we share a last name, but I wasn't willing to give mine up (and neither was he). I agree the paperwork is a royal pain. My husband says if he knew how much of a pain it was going to be he wouldn't have done it, but it didn't bother me that much. Then again, I haven't gotten around to changing it most places where there aren't significant financial or legal elements or implications (i.e. the vet, various stores, etc.). The biggest nuisance for me is that neither name is easy to spell, so it makes for a lot of spelling. Overall I wouldn't change it though and I'm glad my husband didn't know what he was getting into.

  16. My last name feels are so mixed up because after three years of marriage (seven together!), I'm getting divorced. Like other commenters, I wasn't terribly attached to my maiden name and liked my husband's last name. My initials are AMP! How fucking cool is that?

    I still do like my (married) last name, but with so much resentment over how my marriage is ending, there's this huge sense of relief over taking my maiden name back. It's funny, though, because it feels more foreign now than my married name ever did.

    If I ever get married again, I'm fairly certain I'd take his name again. But its really nice to have my own name to fall back on right now.

    Edited to add: I did decide that professionally, that's not true, though. I started freelance writing after I was married, so tons of my professional work is all credited to Ashley Poland. Once I start writing as Ashley Hill, it is staying that way, future husband be damned.

    3 agree
  17. I am so glad someone wrote about this! I had such an identity crises, I couldn't get used to people calling me Mrs Husbands Last Name. I kept thinking, "That's not my name, that's his!". Plus I have a french first name, a French middle name, a French maiden name…and a Polish married name. It just didn't sound right.

    After two years of marriage, I changed it back to my maiden name. I asked my husband what he thought , and he said he was surprised I had changed it to his in the first place. Its caused some confusion…the lady at Social Security couldn't figure out why I was changed from a married name to a maiden name without divorce papers! But changing it back was definitely the right decision for me!

    8 agree
  18. I spent about two hours– seriously– trying to sign my name with my husband's last name before we got married last year. It was so difficult and annoying that that little inconvenience was enough to make me decide once and for all to keep my maiden name. No regrets, although it was a little annoying to try to cash the checks to "Mr. and Mrs. Husbandname". But yeah. I might have changed if not for the stupid signature!

    1 agrees
  19. Several of my coworkers ran into challenges with new names at work because they'd send e-mails and the recipient wouldn't realize it was the same person as before. (It's a big organization.) I know two of them used two last names for a while in the transition, e.g., "Mary Brown Smith". Seemed to help colleagues learn the new name (and clue them in that it was the same person!), and was also helpful as they both had common first names so folks started learning "Mary S" instead of "Mary B". After a few months they dropped the former name from e-mail signatures.

    2 agree
  20. I was just thinking about all this. After nearly two years of marriage, I finally put in for a change on the last remaining "official" paperwork – my passport. It was funny to open that up and see my maiden name there, but I'm excited to get a new one with an updated name and photo for all my future travels with my husband!

    As a teacher in a school where my mother also works, I get three variants of my name: Miss Maidenname (as I was called before I got married), Mrs. Maidenname (when kids confuse me with my mother, which happened both before and after I got married), and Mrs. Marriedname. The younger kids definitely correct each other when someone gets it wrong, but the older kids had a tougher time adjusting. Having formerly taught in the school where my husband works, he still sometimes associates being on campus with calling me Miss Maidenname, so while he can refer to me correctly when I'm not there, he misses it in talking to me in front of students when I visit his campus. Plus, my MIL is also a teacher, so there's one former student of hers, now a student of my husband's, who thinks of a totally different person when the name Mrs. Marriedname is mentioned.

    My favorite story of late, though, was a colleague mentioning me to his 7th grade son.

    Colleague: You know, Mrs. Marriedname. She works in the Library.
    Son: No. I don't know who you're talking about.
    Colleague (walking past library, pointing): That's Mrs. Marriedname!
    Son: Is she the one standing behind Miss Maidenname?
    Colleague: She IS Miss Maidenname!

    4 agree
  21. I got married 3 months ago and had absolutely no emotional issues with changing my name. I sign my name so many times in a day (nursing=so much paperwork all the time) that after a week it was habit. My new last name isn't terribly common but it's shorter and easier to spell and I love it.

  22. One thing many people don't realize is that you don't need to change your signature if you change your name. Actually you probably shouldn't. a signature doesn't even have to be a name, it just is something the is unique to you, so it makes sense that it wouldn't change over time.

  23. "You may curse your decision to change your name (more than once, in my case)."

    THIS. So glad I'm not the only one. I feel like I have all sorts of emotions regarding this issue and even though I made the choice to change it, I often wonder if it was the right choice. Glad to know I'm not alone in this and just because I have 2nd thoughts about it, doesn't mean I necessarily made a bad decision.

    2 agree
  24. My husband opted to take my name and it was a bit odd becoming a mrs M when I was once a miss M or even a Ms M. I can safely say it was even harder for him to wade through the all the paperwork and red tape because companies had a hard time believing he did it because he wanted to and not because he was trying to do something illegal or hide from the law! He still has a credit card that wont work because it is in "research"

    4 agree
    • That's such a shame. I wish it were as easy and accepted for men to do. I actually asked my husband if he wanted to take my last name instead, and he was shocked at the suggestion! He just couldn't get his head around the idea. New York (where I'm from) is one of the states that lets men change their names after marriage without major bureaucratic issues, but I can imagine that he still would have had problems with banks and credit card companies.

  25. I knew that post wedding we would be dealing with unemployment, moving, school, family drama and a whole lot more BS. Tacking a massive identity crisis on top of all that just felt like a BAD PLAN. (Even with the grief I get for not changing.)

    Glad to know I might have been on to something. I'm going to show this to my sister the next time she gets on my case about "not being a real family" because our monograms don't match. It's not rainbows and unicorn farts on the other side either.

    5 agree
  26. Accepting my new name was not a linear process for me. Leading up to the wedding I was so excited to change my name. My maiden name was German and a little hard to pronounce, and my husband's last name is a classic, easily spelled, prestigious-sounding name. We talked about hyphenating or combining our last names, but my husband's was clearly "better." I changed my name on Facebook the day of our wedding.

    For a few months as I filled out all the forms and contacted all the companies I have ever had business with, I felt that my maiden name was "wrong" and my married name was "right." But then about four or five months after we got married I started to miss my maiden name and that connection with my family and the person I used to be. For a while neither name felt right. Now I've mostly come to accept my married name, but there are still times that I introduce myself by my maiden name or feel more connected to it.

    2 agree
  27. I find that the only time I'm likely to have name confusion is if I have very early in the morning doctor's appointments where they want me to fast for blood work. I'm Lisa OldName before coffee and Lisa NewName after coffee! But other than that, almost a year later, I've acclimated.

    2 agree
  28. I went from easiest name ever to Seay, but sounds like "see".
    It's annoying.
    I always knew I would be a Mrs.Somedude'slastname some day, and was quite cavalier about dropping Mitchell. My dad calls us "Mitchell kids" (Mitchell kids, get in the car!), I am the only daughter so I have always been Mitchell girl or girl kid. ALL of my friends call me firstnameMitchell (all one word). I felt the first pang of sadness when I ran into one of our wedding guests while taking pictures before the ceremony. He yelled across the street "FIRSTNAMEMITCHELL!….eeeeerrrrr…wait, who are you now?"I joked that I was still meMitchell until after the ceremony. I had a moment though.
    In Florida the name change process is super easy and free (if you're changing due to marriage). I did the social security office and the DMV in the same day and then I became
    Firstname middlename-Mitchell Seay. I wasn't ready to give up my middle name or my last name.
    I basically instantly regretted it.
    My husband was so jazzed to see my new DL with my fancy name on it and it's a tiny four letter word, alone on a second line. It looks like an afterthought. Also, hyphenated middle name is dumb and hard to explain. It's not worth the hassle to change it though.
    I changed my signature to first initial.Seay so that at least when I wrote my name my husband would know that he and our name is anything but an after thought.

    2 agree
  29. I did Marriage V.1.0 almost 15 years back (before 9/11), and it was actually very simple to get my name changed back then. It took me a bit of practice on the writing, and I was constantly correcting people on the pronunciation (it was one of those harsh German names that nobody bothers to read the middle letters, even though that's where most of the pronunciation happens). But I got used to it. I had no real identity of my own, to be honest, so I never really angsted about giving up my birth name.

    When I divorced ten years after that, it was a pain in the ass to get it all changed back to my maiden name (which I always felt was my real name). I've kept it since then – I've gotten a degree with that name, and I'm feeling comfortable with myself for the first time in my life. I had firmly decided that if Iever got married again, I'm keeping my maiden name.

    Now I'm engaged and going to be doing Marriage V2.0, and I'm having mixed feelings about changing my name. I really don't want to, but it would make things so much easier when we have a child for all of us to have the same name. At least his is pronounceable compared to my first husband's, but I'm still uneasy about giving up my name this time. We have a year, and I already know the drill of getting used to it …

    I might just replace my middle name with my maiden name since I was never attached to my middle name. Or even just have two last names like others here have done. 🙂

  30. One of the things that I like about hyphenating is that I didn't really have to relearn my signature; I just have to remember to keep going. Plus, my initials didn't change. Informally, sometimes I use the whole thing and sometimes I only use half of it. If I'm making reservations for dinner with my husband, I just use his name since it applies to both of the people who will be showing up. Likewise I use my maiden name if I'm going out with my parents. It doesn't bother me particularly if people only use one half or the other of my hyphenated name, but I knew it would drive me *insane* if I kept my maiden name and people insisted on calling me Mrs. Husbandsname. [Ok, it bothers me a little when my mother-in-law addresses something only to me and calls me Kristen (Husbandsname), because I don't know if she's doing it because it's shorter or because she rejects the idea that I didn't just take her son's name.]

    We've been married not quite four months and I didn't even start changing my name until almost the two month point because I didn't want my name to be in limbo on the honeymoon when I was going to have to be showing IDs for planes and such things, and that was a month after the wedding. I have almost everything done now. I hope to go change my name on my third library card that I rarely use after work tomorrow. After that, I'll have a few doctor's offices left, which I don't plan to bother with until the next time I go see them.

  31. I've been married nearly 6 months now, and I'm experiencing some of the annoyances of *not* changing my name. So many women change their names when they marry, especially in the midwest, that people always assume my last name is the same as my husband's – always. So when we signed up for dance lessons, our instructor made a pretty binder with a giant monogrammed S – but my last name starts with an L. When we signed up for a mortgage, even though *I* make 10x as much money as my husband and I'm the primary borrower, all the paperwork was initally put with his last name and it all had to be edited. Our joint bank account has my name on it, but his name is first, so our first set of checks had only his name (if my name had been the same as his it would have said "Angela and Mike S" instead of our names on two different names, so mine wouldn't have gotten cut off). At work, HR wanted to know my "new" name for tax purposes, and some of my coworkers found it hilarious when I stated my name wasn't changing. The guy who sold us my new car remarked that I'd have to change my email address to reflect my new name, and acted disappointed and maybe even disgusted that I wasnt changing names!

    I'm really, really happy I stuck with my guns and didn't name change – no double-barrelled last name, no hyphens, no changing at all. But gosh, it's annoying to deal with no matter how you approach the name change issue!

    6 agree
    • That's interesting, my partner and I are not married, we have a joint bank account, own a car together, rent a property together, all in our own seperate names. Mail either comes addressed as His Firstname Lastname & Lauren Lastname or Lauren Lastname & His Firstname Lastname or our first initial followed by the last name of each of us. I've never been called Mrs Hislastname, though whoever called me that would regret it so maybe I just give off that vibe, lol.

      5 agree
      • I'm in the same boat! My bf and I have been together for 10 years and have shared a home for 6 and haven't really had any problems. We're on the same insurance plan and get joint mail with his full name and then my full name. My car is also in both our names because he has fantastic credit and got a great deal because of it. I'm planning on keeping my name when we get married and I don't really foresee too many problems because all my friends and family know how I feel about the issue. The only thing I'm confused about it when we do get married do I go by Ms or Mrs? Its very confusing.

    • Small upside:
      By not changing your name, you are making it easier for future women who don't want to change theirs!

      There were other things about my wedding/marriage that weren't normal that strangers and acquaintances felt the need to constantly comment on. When SO many people say something, it's hard not to second-guess yourself after awhile. But, really, who cares what they think if you're happy with your decision?

      7 agree
      • Exactly! The more women that keep their names, the easier it gets for everyone.

        Up here in Ontario, I never suffered the least inconvenience for keeping my name. Mortgage people, banks, hospital people when I was having my baby–everyone asked politely about our names. This will happen eventually everywhere.

        5 agree
  32. My fiancée and I are getting married in September and I've decided to have two last names, no hyphens, so it will read Samantha middle name maiden name married name. My middle name is my mother's first name and I'm keeping it that way. My brother and I are the last in our generation with our last name (not entirely true, we have one first cousin with the same last name, but he and my uncle are deadbeats). My brother and sister inlaw have only one child, a little girl, so it's very possible out last name could essentially die with us. The thought of that saddens me greatly. So, I'm having two last names a mine can live on, and when we have kids, they will have both names. Thankfully, the Mr. is cool with this. He's actually adopted by his stepdad, so his last name, while very important to him, has no biological connection.

    2 agree
  33. A year ago I changed my name. Not just my surname, I changed the whole lot. I never identified with the name I had been given at birth, and cringed when people called me by it. Every time people called me by that name, or I saw it on a letter, or had to write it for a legal document… I had this overwhelming sense of sadness and I cringed with hatred. I hated my name, and I hated the signature that went with it.

    I'd been going by another name for years and years, but it wasn't legal. And it was difficult to explain to people why I called myself a name but had to sign another one.

    So I changed my name, and in the process I had a chat with my boyfriend (we weren't yet engaged, though I had been planning to propose to him). He agreed for me to take his surname, so I dropped my entire name (first, middle, and hyphenated surname) in favour for the first name I loved, and the surname of the man I loved…

    Part of it was a pain in the ass. I STILL haven't lodged all the "change of name" notifications I should have to some places (a bank account I never use, for example), and I had to get cards reissued. But the flutter in my heart as I looked at my brand new photo ID with my new name, and my new Medicare card… well, that was perfect.

    And funnily enough, as soon as I changed my name, I fell immediately in love with my new signature too.

    A year on, my dad still doesn't know I changed my name. He would be disapproving, and I don't know how long I can hide it.

    Another awful side effect… the dreaded "What was your name before?" question. Extremely rude, IMO. I don't want to remember my name, I certainly don't want to tell you what it was. Mind your own business, FFS… though this question is almost always following someone ELSE spilling the beans about how this name isn't my "real" name, and I changed it. That's my business… I wish people would stop speaking on my behalf.

    5 agree
  34. I've changed my name and changed it back. With the exception of a few minor annoyances, never figuring out how to sign a cursive z, and wishing that I hadn't changed my email, it was really never an issue for me. Even the paperwork wasn't that bad.

    I did occasionally think about having kids and how they wouldn't have the same name as my brothers' kids, and that made me slightly sad. But, it never actually came up, so I guess I'll just figure that one out another day. I'm still not sure what I'll do if I get married again in the future.

  35. I got used to my new signature super-fast, as I sign my name a bazillion times a day at work anyway. By the time I actually got around to changing my name on my credit card I was already a pro. 😛

  36. I had already legally changed my name a year before my marriage–first, middle, last. And whilst still reeling from the whole ordeal, I decided not to take my husband's last name until after graduate school. Since then I've decided, fuck that, I'm keeping my name as it stands. If he or anyone else wants to share a name, he/she/ze can go on ahead and deal with the ensuing headaches themselves.

    3 agree
  37. I decided to not change my name when I got married, mostly because I like my name more than his and also because his name is King, and with my first name …..

    We have been discussing what to give our kids as a last name, when we have them. I'm leaning more towards two last names, not hyphenated, but I guess it will depend on what first names we end up choosing as well.

    One of the other reasons I decided to not change my name is because I just didn't want to go through the hassle of changing it because it's too much effort for lazy me when you still need to 'claim' your previous name anyway (eg. on forms it asks if you were ever known by another name). Though annoyingly, after I made that decision I found out that to change from "Miss" to "Mrs" at the same places (like the bank) you need to provide copies of your marriage certificate! I'm still "Miss" to my banking stuff because I never actually go to the bank and don't want to cart around my marriage certificate. I can understand having to provide proof of a name change, but it annoys me I also need it to change just my title :/ but in the end I don't want to be a Mrs either because Mrs My Lastname is my mum!! When I had spoken to the bank about how to change my title, I'd prefer to be a "Ms" but the rep I spoke to got a bit snarky, telling me that "Ms is only used for divorced women". Yeah but um, "Miss" is usually for unmarried women, soo…..

    Sometimes I do regret not changing my name. I hate that it is assumed that I'm not married because my husband and I have different names. We recently bought a house and the lawyer and broker paperwork they generated always had me down as "miss" even when I'd specify to have me put down as "ms". Not that being married is something that defines me or that I want to show off but just the overall assumption. When people realise I'm married, I can often feel a shift in their perception of me, like I'm more mature and serious because I have a "husband" and not a "boyfriend' and now even doubly so because I have a mortgage and don't rent; even though there's no difference.

    4 agree
    • Haha- 'joking'. Glad someone else is in my shoes. His last name Blough (like plow) is mispronounced by most people as 'blow'. My first name is Anita. Say it a few times quickly with a dirty mind and you'll see what I mean.

      2 agree
  38. Has anyone changed their first name when they got married too? I never use my first name, and my preferred name, Elyse, is not a natural nickname of my legal name and usually leads to confusion when starting new jobs – and with my boyfriend in the Navy, I get to look forward to that a lot. My boyfriend and I are talking seriously of marriage and one of the reasons he wants me to change it is because his sister has the same name, and she isn't exactly the most honorable person, so we would risk identity theft from her if I took his last. But, I'm wondering how crazy of a process this will be.

  39. I am getting married on April 27th and am going to change my last name. I made this decision, eagerly. It may be difficult to learn to sign a new last name but I do not think that I will "cringe" when I hear someone address me as Mrs. Herbert. A last name does not identify who I am, as a person. It does not label me or mold my personality. I will be the exact same person, with my new last name, as I was with my maiden name. It's just a cluster of letters – not a death sentence.

    • Ironically, hearing people refer to me as "Miss Herbert" is exactly why I'm so excited to be changing my name! My last name (Hebert) is French pronounced roughly like "A bear". The verbal and literal typo happens so often that I have it listed as an a.k.a. on my credit report!

      1 agrees
      • I have an Americanized French name and it gets mispronounced (and misspelled) all the time! It's Rongey (originally Ranger) and pronounced Ron-jee (originally Ron-zhay). I'm keeping it in addition to my middle name, and adding my husband's last name. I get tired of hearing it pronounced with a hard g, or as Rogney, but it's my name and it is unique. I couldn't part with it totally.

  40. i've been wondering whether or not i should change my name, and i think this entry helped me decide i'm going to keep it. thanks for helping me finally pick a side of the fence!

  41. When I upgraded husbands, I wasn't sure what to do about my last name. I was eager to shed my first husbands last name (it was awful) but I wanted to have the same last name as my kids, especially while they were in school. However, our kids were all older and my daughter changed her last name to my maiden name, my son is planning on changing his name after graduation, and then I became pregnant. It was important to my upgraded hubs that the baby have his last name and it seemed like a good time to change mine as well. I love my new last name, it's easily pronouncable, sounds pretty with my first name and there's no leftover bad feelings over my first marriage. It was a hassle though, it's been 5 years and I still get mail with my old surname. A good tip: I found printing labels with my new name was easier to stick on forms than filling out form after form by hand.

    2 agree
  42. Changing my name was very hard. I still struggle with it almost 2 years later. Part of me wishes I didn't change it, but I know that would've hurt my husband's feelings. I think the hardest part for me is that I've never met my husbands father or anyone on that side of the family, and I think their name is literally made up, so I feel like I've lost a huge sense of who I am. I was proud of my maiden name and the family attached to it, but now I don't even know the family that is attached to my married name. We don't even live in the same state (were the only people in the whole state, the whole east coast of the US with our last name). Our baby is due in 3 weeks, and I'll never be able to tell him where his dad's family came from or who they are.
    Interestingly enough, I changed my name from Fox (you mentioned Mrs. Fox in the post so I'm just assuming that's your new name. If not then just don't even listen to me right now)! I still think it's the best last name ever. It's very hard to make fun of (your kids will thank you). Good luck adjusting! 🙂

    1 agrees
  43. I absolutely HATED my married name right before and right after changing it.
    I cried multiple times before the wedding feeling as though I was sacrificing my autonomy and dooming myself to being "B's wife" instead of just myself.
    But you are absolutely right, it gets easier. After 9 months of marriage it feels weird to be called by my maiden name. My attitude has shifted completely. It now feels more like a fresh start and it is a reminder that my husband and I are a team more than anything else.

    1 agrees
  44. Make sure that if you change your name before you go on your honeymoon, that you do it all! I ended up not having time to get a new debit card, and the name on the card didn't match my new driver's licence. ALL KINDS OF DRAMA! Also, TSA frowns upon a temporary licence without something else to prove you are who you are. Three pat-downs later, I wish I would have booked my flights in my "old" name and saved all the name-changing for after we got back.

    1 agrees
    • A friend of mine warned me about this! I was so glad I waited until we got home to update my paperwork!

  45. My wife still doesn't have a credit card with her legal name on it and its been over three years since our marriage and her name change. She's called and complained several times but they just send a new one with a different version of her name that isn't actually correct. But really, no one cares. She also hasn't changed her name on several accounts (like her mortgage on the house she bought before we met). They get paid so they don't care. So don't stress a out how long it takes you to get accounts and such changed over. The DL and SSN are the important ones.

  46. I was super excited to change my last name. Until I remembered that it took more than just "oh hi my name changed" Even if I want to change my name on my World of Warcraft account I have to send them a copy of my marriage license and valid ID with the new last name. When I changed my name at work all my log ins had to be changed and the whole process for all my programs took about a week to finally start working properly. even still when i try to log in there are some programs that automatically bring up my old username.
    I also just started saying both my last names "hi my name is keli X, or maybe I'm under Keli Y…" because I forget what records use which name…

    I am still glad I changed it though. my last name is super japanese, and I look super japanese. so when people see a very spanish last name they're like ???? Also, I get to stop hearing people mispronounce my japanese last name, and instead mispronounce my spanish last name. I thought FOR SURE once my name changed people would be able to say it (its pretty common). Nope.

    1 agrees
    • I'm going from an always-mispronounced French name to a Spanish name. My first name could just as easily be a Spanish name, so I'm kind of looking forward to people expecting me to be hispanic and then seeing that I'm very, very Celtic/Scandinavian-looking white. My husband-to-be's name is very Spanish, and he looks very Mexican (that was his argument against taking my last name, he thought it would look dumb if he had super-Spanish FirstName super-Spanish MiddleName whacked-out-french LastName).

      Unfortunately, he says people mispronounce his name too. No escape.

  47. It`s a bit surreal to read all this. Here in french Quebec it is expected that women simply keep their maiden names. By law since 1981 you must use your maiden name in all official documents. The vast majority of women don`t change their names. The exceptions are typically first generation immigrants and they have to go through a separate legal process to change their names. There is no automatic shortcut through mariage.

    I know it`s tradition in the US but I'm still surprised from reading the responses to see how little that has changed. I thought it was more balanced now, but I see now it`s still the exception. I`ve seen many offbeat, feminist friends really struggle with the change. Often because (as some have said here) they`re afraid of hurting their husband`s feelings. Here often men shrug because there`s no such expectation.

    I`ve heard the argument that I'm just keeping my father`s name instead of my husband`s – but the difference is my father passed away when I was young and my mother eventually reverted back to her maiden name, because all of her sisters and parents have that name. Sometimes I'm tempted to switch to her maiden name too because I identify strongly to that name, not my own since I`ve had no contact with my father`s family in 25+ years.

    To resume: this is a highly personal topic and we each have different validations to our decision. But here in Quebec the very idea of changing your name is weird and old-fashioned. No one I know changed their names. In fact my husband suggested switching to my name (because he dislikes his and doesn`t get along with his family) but I was afraid of backlack from them, didn`t want to make matters worse so we decided against it.

    Just across the river in (english, more conversative) Ontario it`s about half and half.

    6 agree
  48. Does anyone have any experience to share about one of those online name changing services? I'm actually pretty stoked to take future hubby's last name… and he grouponed me the name change thing as a gift! Since I've always heard what a huge pain in the ass it is, hopefully that will make it easier.
    I've already started practicing my new signature…although I'm not quite happy with it yet, honestly… it feels so unnatural! My signature has always been my first two initials and a last name shaped squiggle… so really I'm just designing a new squiggle… But the thing that I haven't really considered until reading this post is the future of my middle name! I've always kinda liked it… but do I like it more than my current last name? Do I legally go First Middle Newlastname but in my work signature leave my current last name to avoid confusion? Do I save the middle name and abandon the last name? Do I keep ALL THE NAMES!? gah. confused… at least I have 5 months to decide…

  49. All of this stuff just adds to the fact that I am so, so, so happy that I kept my own name. I mean, despite the fact that it's an archaic, sexist tradition. Why would I want to be exposed to that much red tape? Yuck.

    5 agree
  50. My husband hyphenated his name to Mike HisLast-MyLast. He still hasn't changed it at work yet, but he went to social security and got it done. We didn't have any credit cards or complicated documents when we got married. He is still adjusting to the new signature though, and the rare person that finds out it's his wife's name and decides to look at him like he has three heads.

    1 agrees
  51. So my husband and I both kept our birth surnames. I have a somewhat common Anglo-surname, and he has a SUPER common Anglo-surname.

    I have absolutely no regrets. I keep a copy of my marriage certificate in my wallet, but you know? I've never needed to use it. We put both of our names on anything that is shared and it's yet to be a problem.

    Yes, sometimes people do not realize we are married. I suspect this is as much a fact that we married young (23) as much as our surnames are different. Given how common his surname is, I am not certain people who have figured we were married anyway, or just presumed we were two people with coincidentally the same last name. People do not assume his brother and he are related for that reason.

    We both briefly worked at the same company, and I think it was really helpful that folks did not realize we were married immediately. He started after me and was not in my shadow – people looked at his work without having a reference category in their head. We weren't hiding our marriage, it just didn't come up (and surprised a few people when it did). He's still there, several promotions later. I quit to go back to graduate school. We have very similar skill sets (our common interests were one of the things that attracted us to each other) and it's nice that our careers aren't webbed together too.

    I know folks sometimes mourn that their children may have different surnames than they do, but you know? Lots of kids have different surnames than their parents these days. Last names aren't foolproof indicators of association courtesy of the commonness of divorce, children born to unwed parents, etc. Names are gifts, and when kids become adults they are going to do what they want with it regardless (as so many commentors here felt empowered to do) and that's cool.

    3 agree
  52. I kept my name when I married four years ago.

    Even four years later, I am so damn happy to have my own name intact that sometimes I still smile about it. I have a long, cumbersome last name that I have to spell out to everyone all the time BUT IT'S MINE AND I LOVE IT.

    7 agree
  53. Last November I got married and immediately changed my name. Yes it was a pain to go through all the steps to get everything changed over but I am so glad I did it. My husband is transgender (FTM) and it meant so much to him for me to take his name. Also we are trying to have a baby now as well so it helps cement his connection to this future baby (since we are using donor sperm and their won't be the bio connection).

    It has helped create family unity and since I am one of the lucky queer people to have been able to legalize my marriage (with a civil union, hoping IL makes it so we have to get married all over again!) I was all the more excited when I was given the opportunity to easily change my name without having to go to court etc.

  54. Before we were married, my husband and I decided we'd both hyphenated our names. When we went to get the marriage license, he changed his mind, but I put both names on the license for myself. Three years later, I still haven't changed it. I keep meaning to, honestly, but I haven't made the time to do it. It's so much more than just a word. It's me, it's my identity, it's who I've been, and it's a rare name.

    He continuously brings it up as if I'm insulting him by not having changed it yet (in a joking way, but still…). I don't think he gets what it really means to me, or to others who change their names.

    1 agrees
  55. I can't believe nobody else has commented that changing your signature can be AWESOME! I remember the moment I realised I would get to ditch the super boring signature I had made up in my early teens, which had degenerated into two initials and a scribble. Now I had the opportunity to design something to match my personality! I added like 3 flourishes! I practiced and refined!

    The name change decision itself was a total no-brainier for me. Long difficult Polish maiden name. Before hubby and I got together, people would ask how to pronounce it and I would say "it's pronounced 'looking for a man with a 5-letter last name.'" 7 is still a huge improvement, especially since there's a better consonant-to-vowel ratio.

    The paperwork may have been a bit annoying, but it was totally worth it!

    2 agree
  56. I actually really looked forward to changing my name! I had to wait several months for our marriage to be registered but I found the process of changing my name easy. And I hated my maiden name (nobody can pronounce it, spell it or remember it). I love signing it and being introduced as Mrs Fleming.

  57. I just got married this past Saturday (4-20) ! Everyone keeps telling me about the exhausting process of changing ones name and I must it does truly sound like a pain in the ass! Of course the fact that my new name will end with "Villafranco" does not help!

  58. Well, I personally am glad to be changing my name! I have always hated it…. lol (My last name is Hair… -_- ) But yeah, I'm practicing my signature! It'll take some getting used to, but I'm excited!

  59. 6) You will spend enormous amounts of time justifying your decision and getting frustrated when other feminists decide that you're a terrible person for participating in the patriarchy despite it being a very thought-out decision. :-/ I caught an awful lot of flak for my choice to change my name, which took me completely by surprise.

    Also, anyone who thinks it's easy to accidentally take your spouse's name without thinking about it has clearly never had to change theirs. Social Security, DMV, sometimes the town hall, Voter Registration, Passport, bank, credit cards, anywhere you're employed, freelance clients, family members, friends, post office (yep, sometimes even them!), and anyone you regularly do business with and have to be invoiced by – all of these folks have to be notified. Some of them require paperwork and fees. I got married in July 2012 and I am STILL discovering people I forgot to notify properly and need to send documents to. This is not the sort of thing I recommend anyone embark on if they're not really sure they want to change it, simply because the effort is just not worth it if you're not 100% determined :-p.

  60. I have struggled like mad! My job decided that I had been here too long to change everything; so they only changeme by email but the IT dept wont change anything else. I have begged! It took 3 pay periods to change my paycheck! The cable company will not change and the cell phone company is difficult to deal with. I found the the DOL and SS was the easiest. My Credit union was a joint account and would not change without his signature too… but I am also a signer on my parents account… they made my parents sign that it was OK for my name to change. This has been CRAZY!!!! My husband and I have been together for almost 5 years and now been married for 6 months of wedded Bliss…… however, changing from a pretty common Scottish name to VOWEL filled Samoan last name…… yeah, dont try signing the bar tab at the end of the night. 🙂

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  61. This is EXACTLY how I feel. Got married in December and we had a couple of holidays booked so kept my name at first due to passport etc. Have just started to change a few names this fortnight and it's a nightmare. I feel like I'm never going to get through all the calls & queues. I found the best way to try to embrace my new name was to start using it as soon as we got married for things that didn't require legal documents (i.e online shopping postal addresses). I started having packages arrive in my new name and after 6 months it is finally starting to sink in. I still tell people the wrong name all the time though when asked. I think that'll take years after having one name for 33 years!

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    • Just realised I regustered the above comment in my maiden namw LOL. It is so hard to remember the new one!

  62. I have nearly finished changing my name, which probably means I am half way through :)>, to my husbands name.
    I found that although I have always planned to change my name it was still emotionally difficult when the time came, especially because it is a time consuming and frustrating thing to do. To make it a bit easier on me (and reduce resentment/make it fairer). We made a deal where by when I had to spend a significant amount of time lining up, or on the phone ect. changing my name he would do something nice for me…..make dinner, give me a massage ect. Just a little treat to take the sting out of it.

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  63. The strangest moment was when I realized that I had had my husband's last name for longer than my maiden name…really strange. I still don't like to be called by Mrs… that's my mother-in-laws name!

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  64. My fiance really doesn't like or identify with his family or his name (and I wasn't such a huge fan of my last name either) but we desperately wanted a family name, so we spent months discussing and coming up with ideas until we found one that stuck. He is in the process of changing his middle and last name (we also chose his middle name ourselves).
    When we get married this year, I'll take on his new name; the family name we came up with and chose together.
    This post reminded me of how lucky I am. And how grateful that I never felt that my own last name was my identity, either. I love my first name, and find it beautiful and fitting, but my last always felt like a strange mix of sounds to me. I want to add to my middle name (add Eva to Lorraine to make my final name Carissa Eva-Lorraine Cassiel) but instead of paying $500 and putting it in a newspaper for 4 weeks, I think I'll just change my last name legally the easy way, with the marriage license routine, and represent the middle name however I want, except for legal documents.

    But I'm glad he'll be stuck in the name change boat with me.

    Lucky for us we both really dislike our last names and are so excited to get and use our new names, so hopefully (especially if we can do most of it together and early before the excitement wears off!) it'll be fun and not so painful!

    I can't wait to sign a new name and tell every stupid, monotonous company that I got married and get to spell out my new last name for them and announce and solidify our new names and new life.

    (just to add for fun: he's changing his middle name to Aedon (which is an alternate spelling of Adam, pronounced more like "Aiden" and my middle name "Eva" is an alternate spelling of Eve. His parents were highly religious, and kind of broke his world with crushing him when he started to investigate outside of Christianity, and it's some what of a rebellion (being non religious at all, ourselves) to represent ourselves as the original "Adam and Eve" but representing them in ways that brings to attention that different culture tell similar and different stories with similar names and there isn't just one "the earth just came to be out of no where when God said to" story that came from Jesus as a be-all, end-all, no-doubt-about-it answer to everything. We are our own "first humans".

    And Cassiel:
    Cassiel (Hebrew קפציאל Qafsiel Kaziel) is the Latin name of an archangel in post-biblical Judeo-Christian religion, particularly that of the Kabbalah. Unlike many other angels, Cassiel is known for simply watching the events of the cosmos unfold with little interference. He is the angel of solitude and tears, and is said to preside over the deaths of kings."

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  65. I'm just about to get married. For some odd reason, when my fiancé says my name & his last name or Mrs. His last name, it's a real turn on for him. Which is being a turn on for me. Him saying my new name is really helping me too. I'm hearing it multiple times. My friends/ family are testing it out.
    I've been reading how difficult it can be and trying to be prepared & what not. The fiancé's family tells me how difficult it is to pronounce for people at first, so I'm preparing myself with little stories to help remember the pronunciation. I test the story out to friends and they seem to remember how to pronounce it rather quickly.
    Okay, so here's the story. Fiancé's name is Kotlarich. One day I slept on a weird cot, it was weird cause it started with a K…..K-O-T. I started singing. "La la la la!" Then a man came & liked my song so he gave me a bag of money & I became rich. I then became a Kot – la – rich or just Kotlarich.
    My sis-in-law, who is a elementary teacher, is even using this story for her students on their first day of school.

  66. This is a new twist on an age old question. Very interesting to hear everyone's take on it.

    Here's my take–I worked for a large agency when I got married 20 years ago. I watched several coworkers get married, change their names, update their ID and then not be able to get their paycheck because payroll was slow to update the change and the paycheck no longer matched the ID. (gotta love being a public servant!) I went the "two last names" track, in part to head off this type of trouble. Legally I have and use both last names but now that we have a few kids I tend to just use our family last name in public and social situations for ease and clarity.

    I might start using the "silent hyphen" line though. That sums it up perfectly!

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  67. We got married six years ago and both kept our surnames. I got SO MUCH MORE FLACK from our friends than any family. We are finally pregnant and baby will have my husband's middle name (passed down through the generations) and my surname. I have been at my current job nearly a year now and people just now realized we have different last names, even though he's been here 2 years longer than I have. So many indignant women! Seriously, I work in an office populated mostly by white, middle class women and half of them act I like just poked them in the eye. So, that's fun

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  68. Mine was a breeze… Got it all registered in one day, and everything else within a week of getting my new SS card. Maybe it depends where you live? Also, it may be very school-girl-crush of me, but I'd been practicing my new signature. It's really not a big deal. And no one has called me Mrs. Malin yet except to playfully tease me about being married. I would love if people did it more!

  69. I agree with this 100%. It has been a year and a half since we got married and I am still struggling in some ways to get things changed (mostly minor stuff, but I am also in college and that whole process has been a nightmare). It took me months to get all my documents changed over.

    But yeah, nobody ever told me what a pain the butt the whole process would be and like you I went through this whole identify thing. But I still wouldn't take it back, because my husband is the last in his family that will carry his family name and for some stupid reason I feel like I am helping to keep his family name alive (where in my family there are so many of us that will carry on our family name).

    But seriously, you would think that for as long as women have been getting married and changing their names this process would be a lot easier!

  70. This is amazing!!! Thankfully, I have been having all of these thoughts before we get married. For the longest time I knew I was going to keep my name. It is who I am, I am really proud of my heritage and my parents didn't have a son (to pass on the name). And from a professional stand point it just made sense to keep it. (I have my own business) But when my Fiance and I got engaged and started talking about it, he felt strongly that I should have his name. And our names would not hyphen, or mashup well in any way, so that was out of the question. So for a few months I was gung-ho but we are coming up on the wedding and all those things in the article have been running through my head. So I just decided to do the double last name! Which I had no idea was an option. So relieved I figured it out ahead of time!!! Sorry for a book….

  71. Soooooo surreal – I'm going through changing my name at the moment…. my partners name is Rob and my new surname is Fox!!! So I am going through this EXACT process!! haha
    The hardest part is waiting on things to come back and remembering all the things I have to change.

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