Has anyone gone back to their maiden name after marriage?

Posted by
That’s why she’s switching back to it! (Photo by: Byron VillegasCC BY 2.0)
I got married a year ago and changed my name. Now, after a year of honest reflection, I can say that I don’t like it.

I’m currently putting out feelers on resuming the use of my maiden name and in the process, I am running into tons of negativity. For the record, my husband never cared one way or the other, nor did my immediate family (my mom, sister, and stepmom did not change their own last names). For all of the others, the automatic reaction seems to be the assumption that I’m either getting a divorce, don’t love my husband anymore, don’t love my (non-existent) children, or I am wasting my time and money and should just get over it.

Have any of you out there stayed married but went back to your maiden name? How did you handle any criticism or negative feedback? Did you feel better once it was done? -Helen

Comments on Has anyone gone back to their maiden name after marriage?

  1. I thought long and hard before changing my name. My husband was willing to change his instead, but I decided that I like his family more than my absentee father and liked the thought of sharing a name with my children and partner…becoming the (name) family. My divorced mother decided after our wedding to go back to her maiden name. She only kept her married on for the22 years so that we would continue to share a name. Now, if I changed it back, there would be nobody to share it with.

  2. I got married nearly two years ago (not my first) and kept my maiden name. Having gone through the name change before I felt it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to do it again. As a writer trying to make a name for myself I didn’t want to confuse any readers or clients either. My husband teased me a little about it but he understands, it doesn’t make me less married!

  3. I never changed my name (my hyphenated last name is actually my mom’s maiden name+dad’s name), but both my mom and my mom-in-law changed their names back after 2+ decades of marriage. In the mom-in-law’s case, when her kids were grown and off to college, and she finally had time, herself, to go back to school and work on her Master’s, she just kind of realized that she wanted to earn that accomplishment in her own name, instead of Mrs-Herhusbandsname. Plus she told me that even after decades of it, she had never gotten over feeling a twitch of dislike over seeing envelopes addressed to “Mr & Mrs Hisname”. So I would definitely say based on her testimony, I’d encourage you to go through with the temporary awkwardness of changing your name and dealing with people’s rudeness, rather than still being unhappy about your married name in twenty years!
    My mom actually changed her name back because of me. When I turned 18, I started the process of adding her maiden name to mine. It wasn’t a rebellion against my dad or anything, I just wanted to have her name be a part of mine. I guess some part of me felt like my mom’s amazing life story and identity had been partially erased and written over when she took my dad’s name in marriage, when she became Mrs Mydad. Their two families and backgrounds were also quite different, and I felt that I’d really been equally molded and influenced by the two sides of the family, and I wanted my name to reflect that.
    Anyway, when I told my mom about my changing my name (via showing her my new license), she was really touched, and it got her to thinking about how much she valued where she came from and who she was, and she decided to change her name back. When she and my dad got married in Kentucky, it wasn’t actually a legal option for a woman to keep her name upon getting married (anyone else gagging?) and she just didn’t care enough about it at the time to go through with the fuss of changing it back. My dad struggled a little with the change (he’s very sensitive and reads way too much into everything), but he got over it once it was clear that it really was just a name reclamation, not a prelude to her leaving or anything. My mom dealt with some judgy crap here and there, but mostly it all blew over quickly, and she loves having her name back.

  4. I had a similar issue. I changed my name hyphenating my maiden and married name. But after a few months it just didn’t feel right. I felt like I was wearing ill fitting clothing and it was all wrong. So after a lot of headache and money and time I changed my last name to my husbands and that finally felt right. I did get some backlash mostly from co workers who thought I was losing my identity or not being my own woman. However I stayed strong and knew that this was right for me. Luckily my husband didn’t care either way. I say do what’s right for you and what feels right. Your name is your identity and if it your married name doesnt feel right then change it regardless of time, money, or others opinions. Go forth and conquer!

  5. Samsies.

    I gave literally ZERO thought to my last name change. It was just an item on my to-do list: get married. Go on a honeymoon. Write thank you notes. Go to the social security office and change your name. But I always flinched when someone called me by his last name. After two years of marriage, I asked my husband if he minded if I change back to my maiden name and he said, “Of course not, I thought it was strange you changed it in the first place.”. I went ahead and changed it back. My mom and my father-in-law were pretty weird about it when I first told them, but within a few months, no one remembered it was ever HisLastName. No biggie. Only minor inconvenience is that now on every official document I have to remember to write “HisLastName” in “previous names”.

  6. I started my business (photographer) when I was seriously dating my current fiancé, so I gave serious thought about what I’m going to do before I actually had a guy in the picture. Single, married, whatever, I wanted to keep my business consistent. My mother and aunt both changed their middle names to their maiden names and passed their middle name onto their first born — So my mom was Leslie Middlename Maidenname, now goes by Leslie Maidenname Marriedname, and I was born Christine Middlename Maidenname… My business now goes by Christine Maidenname… I’m planning on dropping the middle name, passing it on, and keeping Christine Maidenname Marriedname now that I’m attached 😀

    I guess it takes one extra name change after marriage (my sister who is getting married in a week decided to only take her future husband’s last name, keeping her middle) so it does take an extra bit of effort. I’m all for effort.

    The nice thing is my old paperwork rarely mentions my middle name, so everything stays pretty consistent for my business. Plus my name is Christine and his name is Chris — so using my maiden/middle helps us figure out who the mail goes to in the future 😉

  7. I am in the same boat as you. I really want my old name back because I feel like I am loosing all my sense of former self and it feels very disturbing. however, my spouse doesn’t like this idea at all and won’t compromise with me on this one. thank you for posting this – taking advice as well from all the various comments. I thought I was the only one out there.

Read more comments

Join the Conversation