5 things nobody told me about changing my last name

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?

Comments on 5 things nobody told me about changing my last name

  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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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. 🙂

        • 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.

        • 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.

      • You’re right, there is no real “have to” for anything involved with this process. Thanks for the reminder!

    • 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.

    • 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. 🙂

    • 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.

      • “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!

        • So here’s a question on the two last names verses hyphenated. Could you just use one if you wanted? Like how some people make use of their middle name and some people don’t? I’m intrigued by this since it had been something hubby and I have mentioned for it when we had kids, but we don’t know anyone who has done it. Lol

          • Speaking as a passport acceptance agent, you can drop one at will and still be good. They just look for anything actually different. So you can’t use a nickname as a legal name with only one of the last names, that’s too much of a change. Dropping or shortening a name though? Perfectly okay.

    • “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!

      • 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

    • 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.

    • 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 :~/

  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.

  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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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!!

      • 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!

  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.

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

    • 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.

  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. [email protected]? 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

      • 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.)

      • 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 [email protected], 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 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.

    • 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 [email protected] 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  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 🙂

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

    • 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.

      • 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.

  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.

  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.

  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!

  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!

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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”

    • 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.

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