The Great Name Change Debate

Photo: Jupiter Images / The Nest Photo: Jupiter Images / The Nest

To change, or not to change, that is the question. You’ve been practicing writing your name since you were forced to learn cursive at the age of six, so just how easy would it be to start signing something different? If you plan on changing your maiden name to that of your husbands be prepared, since the process isn’t easy or fun.

But what happens if your career is centered on your personal brand, or if the love of your life happens to have an unfortunate surname? In such cases, women have thrown tradition to the wind to forgo giving up the name they’ve carried for decades.

Readers over on our message boards gave their input on the great name change debate:

“I work with a teacher whose last name is Butts. I’d NEVER change my name if I married someone with a name like that.” — rubyiu

“It felt weird the first few times addressing myself differently and signing my name, and a few times I’ve actually signed my previous name instead of my new one. Oops! So I’m sure it will take a while to get used to. I love it though.” — sgautschi

“My maiden name sounds ridiculous with my married name but it’s a great conversation starter. It was important to my husband that I take it so I use both most of the time.” — samfish2bcrab

“I go by his name socially when I feel like it and I’ll respond to it. But legally? Yikes — changing it was never an option. The idea deeply upset me.” — Joy2611

“I changed mine, partly because his was easier to pronounce, and partly because I wanted our children to have the same last name as both parents.” — Amoura+

“I couldn’t WAIT to change mine — to me it was that last step to be ‘officially’ married.” — ndolehan

“I’m getting married in about seven months. I’m keeping my name. I’m in the process of getting my PhD, changing it would mean publications I had before the change are harder for people to link to me. Plus, I’ve been professionally known by this name for a while. Socially, I’ll go by his, kids will get his. I don’t think having or not having the same last name makes a relationship any weaker or stronger.” — trawas01

“I decided to keep my name. I struggled with the whole name change dilemma our entire engagement — since I was a little girl I didn’t understand why women had to give up their names and wasn’t comfortable with the idea, but I felt pressure that his family wouldn’t understand. People would think I was a crazy feminist and I’d take a lot of judgment for that, etc. In the end, I just decided to keep my name. A lot of people think it’s weird, but my husband was supportive, and that’s really all that matters.” — AT111911

How attached were you to your maiden name? Did you willingly change it or did you refuse?

Plus more from The Nest:
Will you Earn More Money if you Keep Your Maiden Name?
To Keep Or Change Your Name?
How to Change Your Last Name Post Nuptials