Thursday, April 15, 2010

the name game: the decision

As I've expressed before, I've been struggling with the name changing dilemma that most women are faced with after the proposal. And although it took almost a year and a half of thinking about it, I've finally reached a decision: Miss FP I was born, and Miss FP I will remain.

Okay, not really. Although it would be sweet if I had been born with the name Miss Fancy Pants...

The point is that I've decided to keep my maiden name. Boy, that was the longest decision of my life. I don't think I've ever had such a hard time making a choice and I don't think I've ever been given as many opposing opinions on one subject. Every time the subject came up, people were quick to give an opinion. One of our more traditional family friends was not so impressed, and willingly expressed that to me: "I had my maiden name for 30 years and I still gave it up, why can't you?". Although I normally would have offense to that comment, the thought that she was more attached to her maiden name than I am to mine simply because she had it 6 years longer than I'd had mine makes me giggle.

Mr. FP still seems to be on the fence. He would love for me to take his name, but he's happy that I'm doing what will make me happy.

In the long run, I'm not 100% sure this is the best option. We're still fuzzy on what will happen when we have kids. It'll be a bit of a logistical nightmare for us to have different names once we start procreating. I wonder what name we'll give the kiddies, but it's far enough in the future that I don't have to worry about that now. I'm doing what's right for me right now, and that's good enough.

As for the other considerations, I decided they simply didn't matter to me. Yes, it's a romantic idea. But to me, it feels like a barbaric practice. Why me? Why am I the one sacrificing a little part of me? Shouldn't this go both ways?

In that vein, we did give the idea of each of us getting something new in the way of names serious consideration, but that opened a whole new can of worms. Hyphenation? Too long? Combining both to make a new one? Too weird sounding, trust me. Thinking of a brand new one? Seriously? How the hell does someone go about doing that?

As for the biggest hurdle I grappled with throughout the decision making... the idea that taking his name will the marriage feel more real and will solidify us as a new family... well, that one sucked. I do think there's a possibility that the same name might make us feel like our own family after the wedding, but like I said, none of those options worked. Plus, we've always had an us against the world kind of attitude, so being a strong team shouldn't be an issue. A team logo won't make any difference to the dynamic of our relationship.

As for the name making it feel more real, well, in my opinion, that's dumb. I don't need to attach a new name to make me feel more like Mr. FP's wife. I will be his wife with or without his name. If I needed a name to make the marriage feel more real, chances are I was more consumed with the wedding planning process than the actual marriage part.

The logistics of the engagement period and the forms we fill out don't make us life-long partners... we make us life-long partners. Well, I guess the marriage certificate is kinda useful too, but considering the fact that tons of couples have to feel married without a marriage certificate because they are denied the privilege of being recognized by the government, I think we'll make do.

Emotional issues aside, the logistics work out 10,192,092 times better this way. Since I'm keeping my name, I don't have to waste a month of my life after the wedding in government offices trying to convince officials that I didn't just suddenly adopt a new identity. I'll still be me.

Win-win.

7 comments:

Ellie said...

Ah the kids...as a child who grew up with a hyphenated last name, I don't really want to do that to my kids - but I do plan to give them two middle names, or my last name as a middle name, so my name is on their passports, etc. when I take them places. I don't love this solution, but there isn't really a better one.
I get asked about my last name a lot (I love the people who assume I'll hyphenate again); but then when I go through the whole mess, and people are like "man, you've thought about this a lot." Yes, yes I have.
In all fairness, it's possible your friend who was in her 30s had a more established career, etc. - I am more surprised when women in their 30s change their name, especially people with publications.

weddingness said...

You are reading my mind! I am literally brain-writing a post about exactly this right now (okay, so I plot out posts in my head before I write them. I also do this with academic papers. And emails. And formal phone conversations.) I am about 85% percent decided I am keeping my name, and down the line I might decide to add his name or change mine, or just give our kids two last names. We'll see what happens, but either way, after the wedding I don't think I'm going to want to spend hours in line with various government offices/on the phone with every credit card company, etc., to change my name. I can deal with that down the line if I decide to go through with it.

Margaret said...

Apologies if I've already posted this before, but I thought this piece:

http://www.salon.com/life/since_you_asked/2007/11/16/whose_name_to_take

provided an interesting angle on the whole name-change issue. I'm keeping mine, too. I haven't told any of family/friends yet; I'm wondering what kind of response I'll get, but hey, it's 2010 people! (And yeah, I figure we have *plenty* of time to figure out the kids thing (I kinda like the idea of using both parents' names [no hyphen], like they do in most Spanish-speaking countries).

Chocolate Lover said...

I'm keeping my name too. I thought about it and its what feels right for me. I don't think the same last name makes us any more or any less of a family. Plus, its something that can later be changed. If I find that I want to take his name in the end, I can change it at any point. As for kids, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but as of right now I don't mind them having Mr. Milk's last name without mine.

Erica said...

I'm glad you figured out what works for you. I am changing my name and it was a relatively easy decision for me. I just did a gut check, and changing my name felt right. I didn't let myself delve (too much) into the philosophical questions surrounding the issue. I don't have a strong emotional attachment to my current last name. I barely even speak to my father's side of the family and am very close to my fiance's family, so I'd much rather chance my name to identify myself publicly as a part of their family than to keep my maiden name and identify myself with people I barely even know.

Jess said...

WOOT! Congratulations on doing what feels right for you in this moment. I wish I had your strength sadly I'm caving into family pressure :(

east side bride said...

well done!

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