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That’s Mrs. Advice Smackdown to You, Bud

Oct08

by

Dear Amy,
My question is non-beauty related, but I think you’re completely qualified to answer it. I follow all of your blogs (yes, even ClubMom, and I’m not a Mom, but am completely smitten by Noah). As my friends are getting married, and “the one” has most certainly entered my life, I have begun to contemplate the Marital Name Change. Since I’m from the South, its presumably changed as such: First Middle Maiden becomes First Maiden Married. Drop the middle alltogether. Works for me.
But I’m also attached to my maiden name. I have advanced degrees in this name. And I’ve noticed that you, and several other talented, beautiful and successful women do the First Maiden Married thing, but are sure to include the Maiden. You’re Amy Corbett Storch. Not Amy Storch. Not Amy Corbett-Storch. (No offense to anyone, but I could not work the hyphen). I love this.
My question (finally! I do have a question!) is- how’d you do it? Is Corbett your middle name? Part of your last name? What happened to your middle name? Did you drop it completely, or is it lurking in there too? Do you introduce yourself as Amy Corbett Storch, or just Amy Storch? Do you use Corbett Storch just for professional gigs, or in personal settings as well?
I know it seems like I’m making a big deal out of all of this- but I’m fascinated by the reasons women make the decisions they do regarding the name change and totally curious as to how they start using the new name once they’re married! I’d love to hear what you and your readers think- how they changed it (if they did) and why!
Thanks!
Cameron
PS: I LOVE that you and Jason gave Noah the middle name Corbin as an homage to your maiden name, and I totally wish mine had some sort of name equivalent for any future children. Alas, it does not. Clearly, you guys just rock at the name thing.

My full maiden name (maiden! like I was a delicate flower locked in a tower, wearing a pointy cone hat and a chastity belt) was Amy Beth Corbett. I had no real attachment to my middle name — never went by Amy Beth or included it in my signature — so I dropped it when I got married. Legally speaking, the name Beth no longer exists — my driver’s license, credit cards, Noah’s birth certificate all say Amy Corbett Storch.
But if you ask me what my middle name is, I’ll tell you. It’s Beth.
I think of “Corbett Storch” as my last name, although I won’t get bent out of shape if you call me Amy Storch. That’s my name too. Professionally, however, it’s very important to me to have the Corbett in there. That’s the only time I’m a stickler about it. Business cards, bylines, handshakes and introductions always include both names.
I could have kept Beth and gone with Amy Beth Corbett Storch. I could have hyphenated. I could have not taken Storch at all. I could have asked Jason to include Corbett. I didn’t really have strong feelings one way or the other (of course, I was 20 years old and had no degrees or professional accomplishments tied to my name, which is a big thing to consider later in life), and after kicking around all the options I decided that Amy Corbett Storch was the best combination for me.
I have friends and family who have used each and every one of the more “modern” options (plus quite a few who did the straight-up dropping of maiden names entirely) and they all seem to work out fine. The days of “Mr. and Mrs. Jason D. Storch” are fading into history now, and most people wait for me to introduce myself before making the assumption that Jason, Noah and I all have the same last name.
I am a member of the Storch family now, but I was a Corbett when I first curled up with mountains of books and decided to be a writer. I was a Corbett when I wrote my first story about the pink bunny who ate ice cream and hop hop hopped, but I was a Storch when I came home from work and proudly showed Jason that MY NAME WAS IN THE NEWSPAPER. Editorial Assistant: Amy Corbett Storch.
Both names have meaning to me now, and in the end, I think that’s a sign that I made the right choice.

About the author

Amalah

http://www.amalah.com
Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy's daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it's pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.


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45 Responses to “That’s Mrs. Advice Smackdown to You, Bud”

  1. Meghan Oct 08 at 11:13 am Reply Reply

    When my sister got married (2003) she legally changed her name to First, Maiden, Married, and honestly it surprised me. She was quite attached to her middle name, and often went by both first and middle names together among friends and family. She even called her college and had a new diploma issued with her married name (which I didn’t even know was possible). First, Maiden, Married seems to work for her.
    I’m not married, so I haven’t had to make any decisions yet. Professionally I go by First, Middle Initial, Maiden, and I can’t see myself dropping it. I think in the end I might follow my aunt’s lead, and legally change nothing, but socially go by my (currently imaginary) husband’s last name. She’s a lawyer, and in professional settings everyone knows her as First Maiden, but with friends/family she is called First Married. I only recently found out that her driver’s license and all other documents refer to her with her maiden name, legally she changed nothing. I had never considered this option until I found out that’s what she decided to use.

  2. Hot Librarian Oct 08 at 11:15 am Reply Reply

    I was not attached to my maiden name, but felt I should hang onto it somehow… I WAS attached to my middle name, and made the somewhat ridiculous decision to hyphenate IT with my first name, and then my last names just sit next to each other with a friendly space between.
    The first name hyphenation has caused nightmarish pains in my ass, primarily with my health insurance company, so I don’t recommend it. I was still giddy on the newlywed high when I filled out my name change forms, and what seemed clever was actually just kind of dumb.

  3. Kathryn Oct 08 at 11:25 am Reply Reply

    I’m one of the ones who kept all of my names and added my husband’s. I’m officially Kathryn Christine Maiden Married. It’s a little long and unwieldy if I use the whole thing, but I generally just go by Kathryn Maiden Married. No hyphens.
    I didn’t have any professional reasons for keeping my maiden name, really–I had my undergrad degree but hadn’t yet finished my law degree when I got married and didn’t really have any professional presence. I just wanted to keep it because we have only girls in our family, so I don’t like the thought of our family name dying out so soon. Also, I’m kind of attached to it. It’s me. As is my middle name. I didn’t want to give up something I’ve always been, but I was more than willing to add something, if that makes sense.
    I don’t get bent out of shape if people call me Kathryn Maiden or Kathryn Married (and for some reason, my whole family uses Married Name when addressing me). It occasionally gets confusing with doctors’ offices or whatever, and I anticipate more headaches when we have kids (who will probably use just Married Name), but even with all the confusion, I don’t regret it. I love all of my names, and I love them all together. I think everyone should just go with whatever makes them happy instead of worrying about traditional conventions.

  4. Alli Oct 08 at 11:27 am Reply Reply

    I was in the same spot you were. Advanced degrees! Publications! Also, Southern. Tricky. Plus, to make things more complicated, my middle name is a special family name. So… to keep everything, I went with the official: Alli Middle Maiden Married. It’s on my Social Security card like that and if I ever get around to changing my passport, all 4 names will be there too. Then, I sort of pick and choose between the middle and maiden.
    Professionally, it’s all Alli Maiden Married to try to link the bylines before and after. But on my checks, I had Alli Middle Married. Not real sure why. Four names all the time seems way too much, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up the middle. So by legally keeping all 4, I can pick and choose. In social settings, I introduce myself as just Alli Married.

  5. Kathryn Oct 08 at 11:29 am Reply Reply

    I forgot to add that my last name is officially Maiden Married, if that wasn’t clear from my earlier post. So I have First, Middle, Two-part Last.

  6. Elizabeth Oct 08 at 11:33 am Reply Reply

    I also did First Maiden Married. I was just more attached to my maiden name than my middle name. I could have kept my maiden name, but then the question would have come up when we had kids of what their last names would be. Plus, my husband’s last name was pronounceable and I always syaid that I was going to marry someone without a confusing Portuguese last name (which my family actually pronounces incorrectly, confusing not only Americans but also Portuguese who like to tell my I say my own name wrong). But once I finished my degree and was writing things with my name on them, I just did First Married. I sort of regret that now, and I think that when I go back to work I’ll probably use all three.

  7. JennyM Oct 08 at 11:42 am Reply Reply

    I did what the Divine Amalah did — I am Jennifer MaidenName MarriedName, and most of my official documents now say so — except for my drivers license, which, due to quite the comedy of errors, says Jennifer MiddleName MarriedName. Oh, well, I get a new one next year and that will be fixed then.
    Anyway, in professional settings (I’m a lawyer), correspondence, etc., I am Jennifer MaidenName MarriedName — no hyphens, but definitely all three names. To friends and family, I’m Jenny MarriedName, and to some college friends, I’m still simply “MaidenName” because for some twee reason we all called one another by our last names.
    I simply had a loyalty kind of attachment to my childhood family name — I was Jenny MaidenName for 25 years, through law school and into my professional career, and besides, I just felt superstitiously disloyal about abandoning my maiden name altogether. Archaic though it may seem to some, changing my last name was important to me. But at the same time, I didn’t want to completely discard my old identity as Jenny MaidenName, and keeping that was important to me, too. It wasn’t like I was going to cease to be a part of the MaidenName family, just because I was becoming a part of the MarriedName family, and I guess it was important to me to let the world know that.
    I’ve had friends that did all variations — keeping the name intact as is with no change; dropping the maiden name entirely; dropping the first name and going by the middle name, maiden name and married name; each spouse incorporating the other’s names; hyphen and no hyphen; and one couple that created their very own brand new last name out of bits of each of their childhood last names.

  8. Rebecca Oct 08 at 11:49 am Reply Reply

    I am getting married in April and planning on dropping my maiden name all together. I think more often than not up here in Chicago, the women drop their maiden names to take the married name. I will be Rebecca Middle Married. I did get a degree with my Maiden name but that is not really a consideration in my decision since I feel that am still the same person that got the degree. My parents did the same with their names, so did his parents, and so did many of my friends that got married over the past couple of years. For the first time that I’ve ever seen or maybe noticed, I work with someone who got married and they took each other’s names. It is First Maiden-Married for each person. I guess it just depends what feels right to you.

  9. Marilyn Porter Oct 08 at 12:10 pm Reply Reply

    I wish I could have done this. My maiden name isn’t very conducive for inclusion, unfortunately. Corbett fits in there so nicely. But after I was married, it never occured to me not to drop the maiden name. I wish I could have dropped my middle name, I don’t really care for it. Bah and humbug!

  10. Anne Glamore Oct 08 at 12:12 pm Reply Reply

    Am also from south, with degrees under maiden name.
    I horrified EVERYONE by just keeping my name when we married. My husband wasn’t all hung up about it.
    After we had 3 kids, though, I decided to change my name to First Maiden Married, and I did it as a surprise for my husband on our 10th anniversary. I wrapped up my new driver’s license and SS card with a frame that had a picture of us celebrating our engagement on top and our 10th anniversary on the bottom. He was STUNNED and happy.
    I never changed my name with the bar, so I still practice law under my maiden name which is a good thing, because my husband and I are at the same firm and our names would be a lot alike (and our initials identical) if I used my married name at work. Plus it seems less nepotistical.
    One of our sons has my maiden name as a middle name.
    I’m happy with the way I’ve done it and having several identities is helpful for avoiding library fines.

  11. jasmineN Oct 08 at 1:08 pm Reply Reply

    I need help along the same lines. I have a non-hyphanated combined last name given at birth. Pretend my dad’s original last name was Newman and my mom’s original last name was Johnson. My name is Jasmine Newmanjohnson. What the hell am I supposed to do?
    I love the uniqueness of name and the fact that no one else but my dad and I have it (my mom reverted to Maiden after divorce). I also have two and possibly three degrees in this name. But it is also an enormous pain in the ass. And I CANNOT add anything to it. It doesn’t fit on forms as it is.
    Likely husband’s last name is short, simple and not terribly common. But I don’t even know the side of his family with that name and I don’t feel like a part of them. I also almost feel like I would be letting down my family to do the traditional thing.
    To throw a wrench in the whole deal, I like it when families all have the last name especially for child naming purposes.
    Is it tacky to come up with a whole new name? Likely husband probably wouldn’t go for it anyway. He probably would have agreed to take my name if it wasn’t so unwieldy.
    Part of me feels like I’m making way too big a deal of this. I mean, we’re not even getting married yet. But at the same time, I think an identity change IS a big deal. And I see comments above from people who regret the decision they made. Any thoughts?

  12. robin m Oct 08 at 1:52 pm Reply Reply

    I’m surprised at the amount of thought that is going into this, for some reason.
    When I was married at 23, I took First Maiden Married and was happy with it. When I was divorced at 27, changing my name back to First Middle Maiden was a huge pain in the ass.
    Of course, changing name at all is a pain in the ass to the point where I debate not doing it for my next wedding, but I am much too traditional not to. I will definitely be First Middle Married, this time (for personal reasons relating to the Maiden name).

  13. BaltimoreGal Oct 08 at 1:55 pm Reply Reply

    I can’t imagine changing my name but that’s because I really, really like my name. My mom says I may feel different- but she didn’t like her maiden name as much, so I guess we’ll have to see.
    If you’re going to change it I think it’s nice to use the maiden as the middle- but it’s not like there’s some rule that you can only have three names. In my dad’s family (and most Irish families going way, way back) women would use their maiden name as their middle name after they got married but not officially drop their old middle name, therefore having four names- i.e. Mrs. Mary (Catherine) Gallagher O’Malley. I think this was originally done to keep track of tribal movements and marriages but it does keep a nice tradition alive. I never liked the idea of a family name “dying out” because the family only had daughters and this gets around it a bit.

  14. Julia Oct 08 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, the naming dilemma. I’m getting married in April. I don’t really like the way my Maiden name sounds with my First and Middle, but I have nothing against my last name in general. I just don’t like it for my name.
    On the flip side, my fiance’s last name sounds very formal to me. It is very British sounding (and is actually a common first name, not last name), and my first and middle name (Julia Rachel) is already British sounding enough. I do have some English in me, but not as much as my name will soon imply!
    I don’t think I have a problem with changing my name, as much as I just need to adjust to the idea of my name being something different. And getting used to a new signature, oi vey!

  15. mskilgore Oct 08 at 2:33 pm Reply Reply

    I must confess, I am really surprised at the number of women who change their names in our society. I’m a lawyer, like a couple of the other commenters, and got married when I was 25. I was two years out of law school, so I didn’t really have a professional image to maintain, but it was how I went through school.
    I never once even considered changing my name. There’s really no reason for it that I can think of, and my husband didn’t care one way or the other. Even if he had cared, I wouldn’t have done it. I grew up with my name, I am comfortable with it, and I didn’t want to change.
    I should note, also, that sometimes you cannot take your maiden name as your middle name. For me, had I attempted to go this route, my initials would have been ASS.
    When we have kids, we will probably give them his last name. I still won’t change mine, though.

  16. Frema Oct 08 at 2:37 pm Reply Reply

    I use First Name Married Name for everything except freelance writing gigs. For the pregnancy blog I write for Parents.com, my byline is First Name Maiden Name Married Name, no hyphen. I include my middle name when it’s asked for on forms, so I don’t view using my maiden name in certain instances as a substitute. It’s just another piece of my name.

  17. krisojen Oct 08 at 3:07 pm Reply Reply

    I always thought I would dump my maiden name–until I got engaged. All of the sudden I was overwhelmed with sentimentality about my maiden name, one I’d had for 30 years. Suggested to the Mister that maybe I wouldn’t change my name and was surprised that he was really hurt by the idea. Finally ended up keeping ALL of my names and picking and choosing the name to use depending on the situation.
    My advice? No matter what you do, keep your future hubby in the loop about your name. You may decide to go against his wishes, but you might also be surprised at what bothers him as well as what he doesn’t care about. Good luck!

  18. Valette Oct 08 at 3:25 pm Reply Reply

    I dropped my maiden when I got married: I loved my husband and I having the same name. I saw it as unifying the two of us together, not me being assimilated into his parents’ family. I also liked that I was disassociated somewhat from my maiden name – in a small town in a small state like Alaska, everyone knows everyone.
    Now that I just finished the divorce (so much for unifying!), I’ve reverted back to my maiden. It’s a whole different kind of headache, and I still think of myself with my married last name. Whenever I get remarried, I have no idea what, or if, I will change my name to.

  19. pixydust Oct 08 at 3:54 pm Reply Reply

    I have been batting around this subject for a while and would love to get an Internet gut-check on my situation.
    I have a unique first and last name combo. It’s very catchy and cute and feels very me. I have for many years been called by my first and last time as if it were one name. As if, um… my name were Sara Silver. Friends and strangers quickly get to SaraSilver. Which is fine by me. It feels so “me” that years ago I decided I would keep my maiden name as my last if I ever got married (my middle name isn’t very special to me). I even wanted to give each of my children my maiden name as their middle. So they might be Micheal Silver McDonald or whatever. I thought it was a genius plan!
    Then a few years back I met the man that I plan to marry. His last name is VERY close to mine. Let’s say it’s Siver.
    Becoming Sara Silver Siver seems a bit ridiculous, right? And giving an innocent child the name Michael Silver Siver is just mean, right?
    But losing my identity of Sara Silver feels like a very big loss.

  20. Britt Oct 08 at 4:54 pm Reply Reply

    The first time I got married I changed my name to First Middle Married. I didn’t give it a lot of thought, just did it because that’s what you do. Keep in mind that that was in the ’80’s.
    I got divorced when I was in college and changing my name back to First Middle Maiden turned out to be a big pain in the butt. For a couple of terms I would get two transcripts – one with each name!
    I later found out that the name laws here in BC allow a married person (either gender) to change their last name back and forth as often as they want – as long as the purpose isn’t fraud – without any formal paperwork. So I could have changed back to my maiden name before starting college even without the divorce.
    When I married my current husband I stayed with First Middle Maiden. I really didn’t see any point in changing it. My husband doesn’t care either.
    Our marriage commissioner spent about 10 minutes trying to change my mind. I think she was very, very old school and it just didn’t sit right with her.
    This decision has never caused me any problems, although older relatives still insist on addressing Christmas cards to Mr. & Mrs. Married.

  21. Cameron Oct 08 at 5:33 pm Reply Reply

    Thanks, Amy, for posting my question.
    I’m a JD, and am glad to hear what others have done. I agree I’m over-thinking it, but am now confident that I can choose to rock whatever name(s) I choose!
    I heart the smackdown…

  22. bbLoup Oct 08 at 5:34 pm Reply Reply

    Hello! Just thought I’d add something different to the discussion… In my culture (I come from a Central American country), a child’s official name includes both parent’s last names, in addition to a middle name, which results in First Middle Father’sLastName Mother’sLastName. When women marry, they just add their husband’s father’s last name to their own, preceded by “de”. Socially, usually First MaidenName de MarriedName is employed, but nowadays keeping your maiden name is becoming more and more common, particularly if it is socially prominent. Conversely, if a woman has married “up” (yes, I know, I know, but it is like this in my country, what can I say?), she will try to erase any memory of her maiden name, going by First de MarriedName at all times. Hope this wasn’t too long!

  23. leahkay Oct 08 at 6:49 pm Reply Reply

    Here’s a good one. A friend of mine kept her maiden name when she got married. Then they had a baby. The name they chose for their daughter didn’t end up sounding nice with the father’s last name, so they gave her the mother’s last name. Fine.
    Then we were talking about her plans for a second child and she said, “Oh, there will definitely be a second child because I’ve promised my husband a kid with his last name.” Also fine.
    But won’t it be weird to have two full siblings with different last names? Less weird if it’s a girl with her mother’s last name and a boy with his father’s last name, I think, but more weird if it’s two girls with the same parents and different last names, eh?
    As a person who gets all bent out of shape when I get mail with my name spelled wrong, I will definitely be changing my name when I get married, if only to avoid the inevitable annoyance that would come every time someone referred to me incorrectly as Mrs. HisLastName. But I’m picky like that.

  24. Maria Oct 08 at 9:34 pm Reply Reply

    I too married young (22), but I didn’t change my name, and I don’t use my husband’s name socially either. I was willing to add his name to mine, if he added my name to his, so our names would reflect that we’ve joined each other’s family and created our own. He didn’t want to change his name. I don’t like the paternalistic implications of only the wife changing her name, so I kept my own name. (oddly enough, my dad was thrilled, but my mom was dismayed. She was concerned about addressing envelopes to us, since she wouldn’t be able to use “Mr & Mrs. Hisname Hislastname, which is a form of address I dislike intensely) Both of our sons have my name as a second middle name and my husband’s last name.
    I think it’s great that women can choose how to reflect their marital status in their names. I just wish more men were as willing to change their names as they expect their wives to be. Their argument that it’s traditional for the woman to change her name doesn’t convince me (so many things that are traditional are no longer done). Their argument that their name is their gift to their wife I find insulting–is my name less of a gift?
    Eh, I know I’m unusual outside of academia (where I work).

  25. Tessa Oct 08 at 10:35 pm Reply Reply

    Ooooh! I get to be a first! (I’m rarely first for anything, so this is a novelty to me).
    I am an only child, the last in my family. Although my maiden name can be a mouthful (not really, it’s pronounced just as it’s spelled, three syllables, not bad at all, but people make it worse than it is), I didn’t want to give it up. Especially not when my then-husband-to-be’s last name was Jones.
    Seriously…Jones. How would you EVER know whether it was someone important or a telemarketer that was calling you? If they can’t pronounce your name, they aren’t important. EVERYONE can pronounce Jones. Pshaw.
    Anyway, my husband knew my dilemma – I didn’t want to give up my name, but I was adamant that I didn’t want to have a different last name from him or our future children. I was prepared to bite the bullet and change, but that didn’t mean I had to like it.
    So, he, out of the blue, proposed that WE (as in BOTH of us) hyphenated our last names. So, we are now Mr. and Mrs. Maidenname-Jones. Yes, it IS a mouthful now, and the people at his work have shortened it to G-Jones, which is fine by me. It’s *there*, and that is important to me. We find it amusing (but not surprising) when we get invites to Mr. Jones and Mrs. Maidenname-Jones…which is why we purposely made address labels and check headers in the old-fogey manner of Mr. and Mrs. Husband Maidenname-Jones.
    And in case anyone wonders, Yes, apparently we do hate our future children for giving them a PIA last name, but we hope that when they’re older, they’ll appreciate the mutual respect and meaning behind it, and know that they don’t HAVE to go the traditional (or expected) route, regardless of gender. Men CAN change their names, too.
    P.S. It’s also highly amusing when my husband has to fill out something that asks for a “Maiden Name” and he has to fill that line in. *snicker* He was once a delicate flower, too.

  26. Kelly J Oct 08 at 10:52 pm Reply Reply

    I got married this past year, at age 27. I hadn’t really given the name issue much though (assumed I would take his name) until a couple of months before the wedding, when I started having a “married identity crisis.” Although it didn’t necessarily thrill my husband at first, he seems to have gotten used to it. For the time being, I am keeping my name.
    Kelly J is just who I am. I don’t know who Kelly _ is. I won’t get upset with people referring to me as Kelly _ or Mrs. _ socially (I’m not going to get horribly snippy correcting them or anything), but I’m not changing anything legally.
    Perhaps I’ll feel differently when we have children, but I doubt it. I have no problem with them having my husband’s last name, or with me having a different name from the rest of them.
    Lots of women in my family have kept their maiden names, so it wasn’t a foreign idea to me. I was out somewhere with my MIL the other day and she introduced me as Kelly _. Wierded me out a bit (I couldn’t help but think to myself, “Who is Kelly _?), but especially with her, it wasn’t worth going into “Actually, I haven’t changed my name and I’m not going to…”

  27. Mary Oct 09 at 12:15 am Reply Reply

    I have been married for 20 years, and am Mary Middlename Myname. My kids have my husband’s last name. Socially, I answer to Mrs. Hisname or Mrs. Myname. I don’t really care anymore. Just don’t call me Mrs. Joseph Hisname, because I will glare at you. At work, I’m Mary Myname.
    Probably the biggest problem we’ve had over the years has been a nurse insisting my husband fill out an affadavit of paternity when our son was born, because we couldn’t possibly be married. And husband’s family calls me the liberated broad. Fortunately they live very far away and I don’t have to see them much.
    Whatever you choose will work if you’re happy with it. Don’t let other people make you feel bad (for awhile after we got married, my mother would only send mail to Mary and Joe, no last name, because she didn’t want the mailman to think we were living in SIN!)

  28. Olivia Oct 09 at 8:39 am Reply Reply

    In all the time before I got married I had been adamnant about not changing my name. Too much work, old fashioned, didn’t want to end up with a weird name, etc. Then, shortly before our wedding I asked my husband what he thought about women not changing their names. His answer was that in his native country it was seen as something trendy, particularly for the upper-class, but if I wanted to keep my name he would be okay with that.
    Well, for some reason, that answer made me really think about why I said I didn’t want to change. I discovered, I didn’t really have much attachment to it, and it wasn’t very relevant professionaly. And his name wasn’t weird at all. It is unusual (outside of his country anyway), melodic, flows wonderfully with my first and middle names, and the meaning “unity is strength”…I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity to take on such a beautiful, meaningful name. So I took his name and shocked all my friends.
    I think the decision to keep your maiden name or not boils down to how important the name is to you. If there is a deep connection to the family history, professional ties to your maiden name, or you just love it, there is good reason to keep it, or a combination of yours and his.

  29. matter Oct 09 at 10:28 am Reply Reply

    I never thought I would change my name, and I thought I would never marry someone who cared that I didn’t. Well, that’s not a first-date question, so it didn’t get asked until we were engaged. I assumed he wouldn’t care. He has always known me as First Maiden, so why would I be someone different after we got married?
    He cared. A lot. He is in love with the idea that his family unit, including kids, all have the same last name. The kicker is that my family is awesome, and his is not. He agrees with me on this, and we’re living by my family. Why would I want to be part of his family? I don’t. We discussed it and discussed it, and we both got up upset about it. It sucked.
    I decided to change my name, so now I’m First Middle Married. It gets under my skin. I haven’t had my new name very long, so I’m not used to it. It upsets me though, that I no longer have the same name as my family, and I have the same name as his father, who is not a good person.
    The reason I’m sharing my, admittedly bitter, story is that I have to recommend doing what you feel comfortable with. I am the type of person who gives in too easily, and it bit me in the ass in this case. I wish I hadn’t agreed to change my name. He probably would have gotten over it long before I will, no matter how much he denied it and fought. Do what feels right to you, and everything else should work itself out.

  30. Kelly J Oct 09 at 10:35 am Reply Reply

    Oh yes, Matter just touched on another reason I had that slipped my mind when I was typing my comment. My family = super-awesome. His family (especially in the past two years) = NOT super-awesome (especially certain family members). I think this has been a big roadblock for me too (but one I really haven’t mentioned to him). I just can’t bring myself to want to share a name (and thus be SO closely identified) with the particularly non-super-awesome members of his family. Maybe someday when they are no longer around I’ll feel differently, but I’m not holding my breath. Of course, those same people would probably find my decision INCREDIBLY scandalous if they had any idea about it, but that doesn’t bother me at all. I’m perfectly okay being my own person!

  31. cagey Oct 09 at 10:40 am Reply Reply

    It was very hard for me to change my name. However, when I was a kid I hated that my mom’s name was different than mine when she remarried after the divorce. HATED IT. So, I always knew I would not a different name than my children.
    The best compromise I could find was the FIRST MAIDEN MARRIED combination. I do not hyphenate, but I have worked in a variety of customer service situations and have seen how all too easily things get misfiled when your name is hyphenated or when you try to squeeze the married name onto your full name. I go by both my full name and my “married” name sans the middle name. It depends on the situation.
    I did not feel like a Kelli George for a long time and it has been over 4 years now. Only just this year when I was filling out paperwork for my daughter did I realize with a start. I AM Kelli George. Frankly, it felt good. I will always be Kelli Oliver deep in my heart, though.
    Interesting sidenote:
    My married last name is actually my father n law’s FIRST name. In India (or at least my husband’s family), you take the father’s first name as your last name. Since we live in America, I decided not to go with that tradition.

  32. Isabel Oct 09 at 11:29 am Reply Reply

    What a hot topic!
    I have never had a middle name, so that hasn’t been an issue. But, when I got married the first time I dropped my maiden name, which I love, and just went by his last name. When we got divorced I made sure to get my maiden back legally. (To hell with his name. HELL!)
    When I got married the second time I was adamant about keeping my maiden name only. But my new husband didn’t want to go for that. So I caved to what he wanted and dropped my maiden name (again!) for him. I’m still kicking myself over that.
    In my head I think of myself as “Isabel maiden married”, but it’s not that way legally.
    Yep, still kicking myself over losing my maiden name. It’s oh so very cool and I miss it!
    So girls…keep your maiden name, even if only as your middle name.

  33. YetAnotherAmy Oct 09 at 12:37 pm Reply Reply

    I go by my middle name, so I’ve never been able to decide what I’ll do when I get married (if that ever happens). Has anyone else dealt with this issue?

  34. law4478 Oct 09 at 3:13 pm Reply Reply

    I got married about 2 1/2 years ago and I opted to hyphenate. This is something I kind of regret on occasion, only because it is a pain in the ass sometimes. Spelling it out constantly, including the hyphen and then it still gets messed up on a regular basis. Anyway, I use First Middle Maiden-Married or First Maiden-Married. When making the big name change decision, I personally considered either keeping only my maiden name or the hyphenated option. I didn’t want to give up my old name entirely because it didn’t feel right after being known this way for 27 years. One important consideration to me was maintaining what I considered my individual identity. But I also realized that keeping only my maiden name would appear to some (less open-minded folks) as lack of commitment to our union. Like I didn’t take the marriage seriously enough or whatever. Also, this may be petty, but my first name is short, plain and one syllable. My husband’s last name is also one syllable. This combination was not appealing to me because I didn’t like the sound. The length of all names came into play and mine are all fairly short (5letters 6letters 6letters-5letters), so I decided hyphenating was a reasonable option and the best compromise for my personal situation. My husband had absolutely no opinion regarding my names and he seems to like the one I chose. However, my in laws never use my hyphenated name (which is, by the way, my legal name on driver’s license, social security card, etc). I am somewhat irked by this, but I never get upset about it. I just wish they’d acknowledge the name I chose to be known by instead of using First Married exclusively. Oh, also – my first name has an uncommon spelling, so I’ve spent most of my life either correcting or ignoring name mistakes. Nowadays, I am good at ignoring it and rolling with whatever people call me. After all, ultimately I know who I am and who cares about everyone else?!

  35. phdivine Oct 09 at 9:38 pm Reply Reply

    I felt attached to my middle name and my maiden name, so I went with First Middle Maiden Married. My new middle name is Middle Maiden, so I have 2 middle initials. It occasionally causes issues when people stop reading at the third name, but in general I think it has worked incredibly well and lets me hold on to all my names and share my husband’s. And I do have advanced degrees and publications and this has caused no problems. Plus people seem amused by all the names, so sometimes my friends call me by all four at once. Hey, FirstMiddleMaidenMarried! How are you!

  36. Mary Oct 09 at 10:17 pm Reply Reply

    Oh, and I forgot to mention my friend’s option, which I don’t see here yet. She wanted to keep her name, but also include her husband’s name. So she is Shelley Hisname Hername. No hyphen, and she uses all three.

  37. Teeny225 Oct 10 at 9:14 am Reply Reply

    I got married a month ago and ever since we got engaged I’ve been debating this same issue. I had a few different reasons for not wanting to take my fiance’s name – the primary one for me was that I didn’t want to give up my maiden name and feel less of a connection to my dad (who passed away a couple of years ago which made it even harder to contemplate giving up my family name). I also didn’t see why I should be the one to have to change my name, when my fiance openly admitted that he wouldn’t consider changing his (I’m stubborn like that). In addition to this, I’m Scottish and my maiden name is a good Scots name. However. I’ve decided to change my name after all (everyone was calling me Mrs ****** anyway).
    BUT! I am First Middle Maiden Married. And hubby has agreed to be the same – he’s taking my maiden name as a middle name too, which is braw. I feel more married somehow, than I did for the two weeks after the wedding when I was still using my maiden name. And the look of pride on his face when I told him of my choice makes the inconvenience and weirdness worthwhile. But it’s you that has to live with it, so it has to be your choice, and yours alone.
    I still can’t get used to saying my new name though – I have to think carefully before I say it otherwise I blurt out my maiden name.

  38. J.W.Oeffner Oct 10 at 11:00 am Reply Reply

    First of all, let me say that the number of attorneys commenting on here makes me smile. I’m a second year law student, and quite glad that I won’t have to give up my guilty amalah pleasures upon graduation : ).
    This is interesting because my middle name IS my mom’s maiden name, and it’s not pretty. (I do however, prefer it this way, rather than hyphenated). I have one sister and don’t want our lastname to die out. However, mom was one of 3 girls and I don’t want to lose her name either. To add to this, it’s actually: Jessica verygermanname1 verygermanname2. I go by J.W.Oeffner. I’ll have both my degrees in this name. I like it even though no one else can say it. Likely husband has a very normal last name. Also, we are Southern. His name is something of a badge of pride in parts of Texas as his family has been “important” there for ages. He will not take my last name, I won’t bother asking. So I obviously can’t be Jessica middle maiden newlastname. And, for that matter J.W.Oeffner newname isn’t that great either, would people start calling me JW?? no thanks…
    Am going to keep reading the comments, because I admit that this topic has always intrigued me. Thanks Cameron for bringing it up, and Amalah for posting it : )

  39. Colleen Oct 10 at 1:29 pm Reply Reply

    I kept my full name, but legally changed it so that I have two middle names…my actual middle name and my maiden name. My last name is my husband’s. So when I sign my legal name is Colleen MiddleInitial Maiden Initial MarriedName. I just couldn’t give up my middle or my maiden name. Of course my driver’s license looks a mess because they insist (at least in Virginia) on putting all four of my names in full…no abbreviations.

  40. Meredith Oct 10 at 3:56 pm Reply Reply

    I have to brag about my hubby. (I’ve been married for 13 years, so this doesn’t happen so much anymore!!)
    We got married young (I was 22, he was 23), and while I was still mulling the whole name thing over (I did graduate from a bastion of feminism – ie a women’s college), he told me that since he wouldn’t want to be asked to change his name, he couldn’t possibly see expecting me to change mine. (You all should probably know that I asked him to marry me – 3 weeks after I met him – but that is another story!)
    I was so touched by his sensitivity and the fact that he was proud of all my feminist attributes (I am woman, hear me roar!), that I was newly psyched to keep my name. It was a way of saying to the world that I have the coolest husband.
    This was all complicated when we had kids, not when they were born, for some reason it seemed logical to give them hubby’s last name, but later, when the kids themselves noticed. It was a few weird months when they kept forgetting, but now it’s all totally normal. I do like the idea of going by Mrs. Marriedname when I volunteer in my kids’ schools.
    I do know of someone who went from a maiden name of Wiffenbock to a married name of Finfrock. For some reason, that amuses me endlessly!

  41. lepetitchic Oct 10 at 6:47 pm Reply Reply

    Oooh, I had to chime in on this one. I got married last year and changed my name to Katie Maiden Married. It was really tough for me for several reasons. 1) My middle name was a shortened version of my mother’s first name so I felt like I was abandoning her. 2) I love my maiden name and all of my college buddies simply call me “Maiden Name”. 3) My maiden name is an easy to pronounce, one syllable, 5 letter name. My married name is a difficult to pronounce, kind of ugly sounding, 3 syllable, 10 letter name.
    So why did I take it? It was really important to my husband that I take his last name (funny, because he is non-traditional in every other way) and I wanted our future kids and us to all share the same last name. I had an undergrad degree in my maiden name but nothing advanced and I wasn’t really established professionally. But, I’m still really sad about losing my maiden name as my last name. Sigh. Oh, and I go by Katie Maiden Married in the workplace and on e-mail, etc… but introduce myself as Katie Married. Sorry this was such a long comment!

  42. cledbo Oct 10 at 10:28 pm Reply Reply

    I love love love that so many laaaadies here made their own sensible choices regarding lastnameage. Not that long ago in the newspaper a pregnant columnist wrote that she managed to open a colossal can of worms by declaring that she was considering naming any daughter with her last name and any son with her husband’s. The hate mail! The vehemence! She reckoned some people acted like she’d said she was going to sacrifice her unborn child to demons or something.
    Nice to see the whole world isn’t like that. Cos that’s just dumb.
    Anyway, while I’m not getting married any time soon (possibly ever, which is a whole OTHER kettle of fish) if I ever did, my partner has one of those names you really don’t want your children to have. Hell, I’m an adult woman and I don’t want it! Yeah, it made him tougher at school, but that’s not always a good thing.
    His name just screams “TEASE ME!”. Like being called Gay, or Dick.
    And yeah, it’s an old Irish name with bucket-loads of history and blah blah blah. My name is easy to spell. And no one ever teased me about it. I even get a cool nickname out of it!
    So nuts to that. I say, if your partner has a crap name tell him to confine it to the ages. No child of mine will get the stuffing beaten out of them for the sake of tradition!
    That also rules out the whole First Middle Maiden Last debate too, so this was a little off topic.As much as I love my man, he can keep his ridiculous name!

  43. Karen S Oct 22 at 10:07 am Reply Reply

    I married at the age of 25, and had no plans at all to take my husband’s name. Partly because his surname is horrid and my maiden name is nice, but mostly because my feminist principles made me feel very uneasy about changing MY name.
    A very kind aunt gave us a large cheque as a wedding gift, made out to us both as ‘Mr & Mrs Married’ (the British conformist convention).
    We’d had a joint account at a bank for years (where the cashiers knew me well), so I presented the cheque for deposit, along with our marriage certificate, assuming that they would be happy to take it. The cashier refused. The bank manager refused.
    My options were to:
    a) not bank the cheque at all,
    b) ask the aunt to re-write the cheque, or
    c) change my account name with the bank.
    The cashier said she could change the name on the account immediately, as I had my marriage certificate with me.
    I learnt two important lessons that day.
    1. Bank policies are dictated by monkeys, and
    2. My feminist principles were worth exactly £500 (around $1,000).
    I’m not remotely proud of what I did, but, in the long run, conforming to that name change has made life easier in all kinds of ways, and ten years on, I’m writing this from the sofa we bought with the money we were given, and that sofa is very comfortable indeed.

  44. portia Nov 06 at 7:59 pm Reply Reply

    Belatedly, thank you all very much. Reading your experiences got me over a ‘But what do I dooooo?!’ hump that was annoying me, my boyfriend, and everyone I know.
    Short version: I’m 30. I got married at 18, took Hisname. We have a 12 year old daughter. I started law school last year. We got divorced.
    I can’t keep Hisname, because it’s a homonym of “lawyer.” And I can’t take Boyfriend’s name, because I use my middle initial and my middle initial plus BFName is a kind of steak. And I think it would be unfair to my daughter for her to be lp Hisname all alone, and me and BF and BF’s Son be BFName. And I don’t even know when (? if?) we’re getting married, so what if I use one name all through school and then I graduate and the RestOfMyLifeName isn’t on my diploma and all my school friends go off to their careers as US Attorneys and federal judges and tenured professors and they don’t even know who I AM because I changed my name?!?!
    See how annoying this is?
    You’ve all helped me decide to go back to Portia Middle Maiden. The end.

  45. Lorraine Oct 09 at 6:32 pm Reply Reply

    My husband took my last name. 

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