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Why Did You Change or Keep Your Name When You Got Married?

Jen recently created a thorough how-to guide to changing your name in BC, and it reminded me of a topic I’d wanted to write about.

It’s been interesting to see how many of my female friends and colleagues have chosen to change their name. I’d say the name-change rate is at 80-85%.

This kind of surprised me. For no particular reason, as a young man I had assumed that more women would keep their maiden name in my generation. I guess I was making a vague, incorrect association between feminism and keeping one’s name, but clearly I was off the mark. I’m also surprised how few female friends and colleagues choose the double-barreled approach.

In any case, I’m curious to hear from people on both sides of the equation: why did you change your name, or why didn’t you? Or, if you aren’t married, do you plan to change your name?

This is mostly a question for women, though I do know a couple of men who changed their name when they got married. I knew one couple who devised an entirely new last name (‘Steel’, if I recall correctly) for themselves when they wedded.

The most common reason I hear for the decision is that “I wanted to have the same name as my children”. I’m always a little confused by this, because it kind of assumes that the kids will get their father’s name, doesn’t it?

57 Responses to “Why Did You Change or Keep Your Name When You Got Married?”

  1. Rollins

    I kept my maiden name as I already had a name and did not see why I needed a new one.

    As well I am Aboriginal and my husband is not and my last name is more representative of who I am

  2. Annonymous

    But what then happens in the Spanish system when someone (who has a hypenated combo surname of his parents) get’s married to someone else with a hyphenated surname? i.e Mendoza-Romero gets married to Cruz-Chavez? do they then become Mendoza-Romero-Cruz-Chavez?? you can see that after a while you’d end up with about 16 last names!!

    they must have to pick one or the other at some point too.

    Sophie Reply:

    My mother’s maiden name is my middle name and my father’s last name is my surname. Somehow I feel like changing my name would be a sign of disrespect to both of them and feel absolutely no need to take on another person’s name.

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