The Married Name Dilemma

We are modern women! “We don’t need to take our husbands surnames!”, shout self-proclaimed feminists and look down on you if you decide to make any other decision. Some women with more traditional views take their husband’s surname and other choices seem just odd to them. The ones who choose the middle path of the double-barreled name are hated equally by everyone as they end up with longish surnames and often use either their maiden name or their married one depending what’s easier in the context. So what to do with your surname after you get married?

First of all, deal with the fact that the world is sexist. Oh, you liberated woman, you, not taking your husband’s surname? Well, guess what, you’re most probably carrying another’s man surname anyway 😉. Especially if you’re not on great terms with your dad, you may feel like you want to liberate yourself from from being “his”, even symbolically. I did that but then again I didn’t want to lose my identity completely and I opted for a double barrelled surname. Changing your surname to your mother’s maiden name (and isn’t that another man’s name anyway?) is also an option but only if you feel like you didn’t have enough bureaucracy in your life as it’s a long administrative process. Then you can just keep it after the marriage but even this solution doesn’t make your surname truly yours, though. Maybe the best option for individualism is to become and artist and get a pseudonym. That’s probably the only way to become Stacey Stroker as you always wanted 😉.

Jokes aside, I understand that the surname one carries is important but at the same time I feel like it’s one of the faults of the current system that should be dealt with rather by the means of personal protest (insisting on getting the name you want) than shouting and raging about it. When I see rants about, for instance, Home Affairs changing names of women to their husband’s name in official documents, even though they indicated otherwise when they were getting married, I do feel for them. At the same time, such public lack of composure doesn’t necessarily serve women who are traditionally considered too emotional to be taken seriously. It reminds me of a feminist protest in which women protested topless against violation of women’s rights in Russia. When president Putin, at whom the protest was aimed, was asked what did he think about it, he said it was too loud to hear anything but he enjoyed the view. Every time  I feel like raging about similar issues publicly, I remind myself of this anecdote.

The answer to what to do about your surname after marriage is whatever you want and for whatever reason. Anyone trying to impose their views on you is being as bad as the system which limits you. You also don’t have to justify yourself to others and if asked, say that this was what you wanted. Just make sure that the choice you made was based on your preferences and not on what’s expected of you by the people surrounding you (and I don’t necessarily mean taking his name, lefties also have their fights to fight).

What do you think, Rinsers? Should we have even more liberty with what to do with our surnames? What do women around you do? What did you do?


  1. Interesting post.

    I have to say I like this new trend that is taking off. I’ve seen a few people doing it on FB but I don’t know how real it is. Basically, both the husband and wife take the double-barrelled surname. i guess this is a solution that could please the majority and also means the hubby faces the same pains of dealing with all that bureaucracy (maybe it’s only a viable solution for people in the first world though!). I guess though you’d still have an issue with which name went first!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that in theory this is a good idea, but I’m always thinking about the kids. What happens to them when they get married? There are no triple barrels so they can take a double and decide whether they love daddy or mommy more and then add a second part to one of their names? 😉 I think we should just be allowed to choose our own names!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Deja Vu! I mean I had this discussion on facebook when someone asked the question about women taking her husband’s name and husbands taking their wives name after marriage.

    I took my husband’s name(1st Marriage) and still use it, one reason is because it was easier for my daughters and me legally when moving to the UK because they weren’t legally adopted by their step dad, rather than my haveing my husband’s name and they having their Dad’s. My husband’s completely fine with that. So it stuck, we’re a family of two surnames and no one here finds it odd. However, moving to Belgium I did find it odd that women hold on to their maiden names even after marriage and it’s perfectly normal. In fact, even if they carry their husband’s name, official documents will still have them listed in their maiden name. I understand in France they do the same? So not sure it its’a modern thing or just a trend borrowed from our neighbours.

    My mother was not married to my father, but my brothers and I all carry his last name. So I in a way agree with keeping your maiden name after marriage, also agree with taking the husband’s name after marriage, there’s just something about the hearing Mr & Mrs So and So being introduced 😉 It should be entirely up to the couple what they want. Once married whether you carry his name or not, you’re bound in holy matrimony.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Facebook everyone thought me mad and selfish to not take my husband’s name or have him adopt my kids. Another trend in Belgium, it doesn’t matter if he adopts them or not, they’re his children through marriage.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s nobody’s business, really. Also if your kids have a father, why should they be adopted? Sure, they can treat your new husband as a dad but I think it’s a bit more complicated than that on emotional level and I’m glad you’ve made your own decision. It reminds me about a slightly different story in which a parent was selfish. My former friend’s dad never really provided for the family and was a useless husband in general, stuck in his own world. When she was still little her mother divorced and remarried and she only really remembered and knew the husband as a father. Still, the biological father for years refused to allow adoption (in the country they come from if a father is alive, he needs to consent) just because and then the girl was too old. Now forever she has to put the stranger’s data as her father’s data. Now, that’s selfish.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Wow! Yes that is very selfish. Why wouldn’t you want your child to have a good or uncomplicated life. If adoption meant my kids having a better life, I would definitely have done so but it made no difference. So why bother with all that legality and paper work, life’s complicated enough without making is more so.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Agreed! I think this particular guy from my storyhad a certain selfishness that some guys have and that has to do with the confusion between conceiving a child and being a father.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting. I have a friend who lives in France and she said that when she was getting married people found it odd. Apparently most people just stay unmarried these days. I agree with you that all options are okay and that it doesn’t have much bearing on the relationship what you do with your surname. However, I like people to think about their choices and know that they do have choices, rather than just making such decisions because everyone else does. It’s cool you’re fine with having your ex husband’s name. I think a lot of women struggle with keeping it after the divorce, especially if the marriage ended badly. Then again, once kids are involved, as you said, it’s nice to have the same surname as they do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mine ended badly. During the divorce all I wanted was to have it over with and go back to my maiden name or my mother’s name. But even back home it was easier for all three of us to have the same last names and happy I did because years later meeting someone and then moving, I now see it was the most sensible thing to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I admire you for managing to stay with the more pragmatic decision. It must have been very difficult not to let emotions govern your behaviors.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m some what struggling with this myself; not that anyone is telling me to do one or the other… My Dad had 6 sisters growing up; he was the only boy, so when he married my mom, they became the pair to carry on the family name by having kids. Then came my brother, then me. My brother is not going to have children (life choice), so then comes me. I want at least 1 child, but when I get married, I had planned on taking my husband’s name, but now…? I just don’t know. I feel like it’s my responsibility to continue the family name. Using both surnames is not off the table with me though. In fact, mine would be pretty bad-ass: Lord-Marshall. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You MUST go for this double barelled surname! It’s amazing! 😊 I opted for a joined surname myself. The only problem is that kids will take my husband’s surname. We thought about both of us taking a hyphenated surname but my husband already has a first name outside of his cultural circle and people ask him a lot of questions. I just thought that giving him a polish part of the surname would we a bit too much 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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