How do I get my mother-in-law to stop addressing things to my non-existent married name?

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My husband and I have been married for six years now and most of the family is fully aware of the fact that I kept my last name — actually, I’m sure my in-laws are well aware of this. But my mother-in-law keeps addressing mail and checks to me as if I had changed my name.

We’re pretty sure she’s just passive-aggressively expressing her dislike of my bucking tradition. How do I address this issue in hopes of getting her to quit without being confrontational? We have a good relationship otherwise and I’d like to keep it that way!

Thanks in advance! -MonicaBerry

Comments on How do I get my mother-in-law to stop addressing things to my non-existent married name?

  1. Why not have a bank account in your first name hubbies last name that you can use for cheques as some people just write things automatically that way you can do what doctors & designers do use one name for work & the other name in your privet life eg Dr Fargo married George Jones so at work still Dr Fargo but at home Mrs Amelia Jones.
    You can even do this with passports & drivers licences

    • I don’t think anyone should be forced to do that rather than have the people who are supposed to care about us actually like, I don’t know, respect us as human beings.

  2. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realize this had run! So many great responses!
    So, additionally… I did address it as an honest mistake a couple years ago and she claimed to have forgotten that I didn’t change my name. Then did the same thing the next year.
    Our relationship is good otherwise, which is why it is so important for me to address this tactfully.
    Hubby and I were originally both going to change our names, but our home state is unequal in it’s name-changing process (or it was 7yrs ago when we went to get married) and only allows the female a free name change. Males have to pay for a legal name change.
    Then, I did think I would change my name in the traditional way, but my dad passed away about six weeks before the wedding. I had to settle his divorce to settle his estate (long story on why that was) and it was too much trouble to change my name and deal with all that. That took about a year. So, we were a year into the marriage before I officially decided to keep my name.
    As for the checks, I have always endorsed them with my legal name signature and then written “a.k.a. Married name” below that and haven’t had an issue.
    I let it slide this year again.

    • I had your exact same experience and at first tried to think that my mother in law had not realised that I hadn’t changed my surname after we got married. But my gut told me that it wasnt that, so I polietly mentioned that it wasnt my surname when I was given a card by my mother in law that had my husbands surname instead of my surname. Turns out unfortunately my gut feeling was right it was passive aggressive tactic as her response was ‘ I don’t agree with it’. I told my mum what happened and she was furious as she has always been a strong advocate of womens rights and identity. I noticed a lot of comments have questioned if your experience was actually a passive aggressive act from your MIL. Sadly my experience backs up that it was most likely a lack of respect for your choice and identity.

  3. White lie? The bank and post office have informed me that they will no longer accept checks or deliver mail if it doesn’t have my legal name on it.

  4. Has no one thought to passive aggressively address letters to those people as “Miss Maiden Name”? Because that’s totally what I’d do. I find addressing things with the wrong name to be very disrespectful.

  5. 一つのさびしい歌を唄はう。――都會は私の戀人。群集は私の家郷。ああ何處までも、何處までも、都會の空を徘徊しながら、群集と共に歩いて行かう。浪の彼方は地平に消える、群集の中を流れて行かう。橋すべての橋は、一つの建築意匠しか

  6. It is bullying, depriving someone of identity, demanding the person be as the bully sees her, not who she really is. It will never stop until the bully tires of it. Just had some relative do this again after I have been married for thirty one years. I called him on it privately. Trust me, I spent more time going over the right way to respond. He will back down only if there is something to gain from avoiding the consequences of family strife. Please there is nothing benign about depriving a woman of her identity. It is as cruel as it gets.

  7. Hi MonicaBerry,
    I know this probably isn’t a helpful suggestion, and I’m pretty sure no one has ever done what you’ve described to me on purpose (although granted, just assuming and not asking ANYONE could be considered quasi-on purpose if you ask me), but I like to pretend that Mrs. FirstName Husband’sLastName is my evil-twin-alter-ego who can get away with anything and no one will ever know it’s me (like Superman to my Clark Kent, but more harmless villain than superhero). Like if we go to a wedding and my place card has that name on it, I’ll be like, “Look out, Mrs. So-and-so’s here, things are gonna get craaazy!”

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