Should a woman not taking a man's last name be a big deal?

Interesting question and I am curious to see everyone thinks. In short, I have been together with my girlfriend and now fiance for quite some time. As we are planning the wedding details, her train of thought on a woman taking a man's last name comes into play, and it was like a skeleton coming out of a closet for me. I have always thought that this was a normal thing, a woman taking a man's last name when they get married. I haven't been living in a cave and I know that there are plenty (15%) of women that indeed keep their current last name. When I voiced my opinion on it, I was accused of making a big deal of it. I'm not one of those people that feels that a man "owns" a woman, and I am well aware of the "history" that comes with a woman taking a man's last name. My main issue that I am having is that what is the point of a woman NOT taking a man's last name, for the sake of going against the traditional of taking a mans last name because you do not agree with the meaning and history of why a woman takes a man's last name in the first place? In this case she would keep her current last name which is her dad's last name. So isn't this the same thing? A woman taking the last name of a MALE figure in their life? I felt as if because of her view on the issue that I was being penalize for being a "male". There was also mention of "preserving ones self". All of this really upset me and made me feel as if myself (and my name) is not good enough for her. For me it was also not a discussion, I was boldly told that this is how it will be and that is that. It made me feel as if there are now conditions on our relationship and there is no compromise at all. Any insight helps.


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Most Helpful Girl

  • First things first, how did you get this far along without having a discussion about whose name she would keep/take? This just seems like a typical pre-engagement conversation like, where do you want to live, do you want children, what religion would you raise your kids to know, etc . . . You may want to think about what else should be discussed before you tie the knot. I think it was exceptionally rude of her to just tell you that 'this is how it's going to be'. Part of marriage is to submit to your husband, and both sides should be willing to listen to the others' opinion and hopefully come to some sort of COMPROMISE. Whose name will the children take?

    I am extremely proud of my family name, and thankfully, have male cousins and a brother, whose children will carry that name into the coming generations. My fiance, however, is the only male in his generation that will be carrying on his family name. I am more than proud, to let my maiden name be an honor of the past, and to take his name when we marry. It will be an honor for me and our children to have his last name and I wouldn't want it any other way.

    There are exceptions to the rule, and every couple is different. A friend of mine got divorced after a ten year relationship. When she got remarried she kept her maiden name and her new husbands name, by hyphenating them. I hope that the two of you can find a peaceful resolution, where both of you are satisfied. The name doesn't constitute the quality of the love, but I can understand why this is important to you.

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What Girls Said 9

  • I like my last name! I would be so sad to change it, but I would when I get married...Even though I dislike my current bf's last name... I would still take it because I view it as a part of getting married. But if she feels strongly about it I wouldn't push it. Everyone has their own opinions and it can always be changed later. You are not marrying her just to change her last name so I would just let it be.

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  • I don't think a women keeping her name should be a big deal and I do see it as a bit of an outdated tradition. I do see a romantic side to it...how it makes a proper union or whatever but I have grown up being Amber Lee English, it's a part of who I am and loving someone shouldn't mean I have to change that.

    My mum kept her name and she and my father are still happily married with 2 kids.

    ...Plus my boyfriends last name is Ley and how silly would Amber Lee Ley sound :P

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  • I feel like that should have been mentioned by her before you two even got engaged.

    I couldn't imagine doing this myself, and even if I was famous & worried about my career because of my name, I would still change it. It's part of being married.

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  • No unless your into traditon

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  • Chicken

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  • I hope not I play to keep my last name

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  • I wana get both our names when married so it better not be a problem

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  • I personally see the romantic side of it as really valuable. I like my current name, I'm proud to have my dad's name as he and his family are all such wonderful people, so to have the same name as them is significant to me. But at the same time, the person I marry will be someone that I equally respect and love and I will want to have his name.

    I understand girls saying its out of date and sexist and about ownership, etc, but put all that aside and its also more practical. Same family, same kids, everything shared, so isn't it logical to have the same name?

    This is definitly a cultural thing though. I've had similar discussions with Korean friends and they can't comprehend a girl changing her name; to them it was totally weird and they couldn't understand my thoughts on it at all.

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  • To get a better look at it, ask her what it really means to her, ask her to elaborate on her feelings towards her dad's last name. Then it should hopefully open up some understanding and it will seem like you're willing to hear her and HOPEFULLY she'll realize she hasn't even heard your view or bothered to see how you feel.

    If she hasn't asked, maybe you should repeat back to her in short and succinct sentences, all that she has told you to show her you understand, and add to that how you feel about your own last name and the tradition of a wife taking her husbands last name.

    In all this I'd hope that she won't see this as an attack on what she believes. Who knows, her choice might have been influenced by someone else and she might have stuck with it for no other reason.

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    • Well to answer those questions. One reason had to do with seeing how female members in her family were treated once they got married and took their husbands last names. The other was preserving her culture. How I took that was I was being compared to men that treated their wives badly in the past which was insulting. And it also made me feel as if my culture was not good enough for her if she feels she has to keep her fathers last name to preserve her culture.

    • How different are your cultures? Could you give me a little detail of what your cultures are like?

    • sure :-) on my side I am Caribbean and on her side she is Central American (Hispanic). There are small similarities in food and customs etc, but I am not bi lingual as she is. To me all of this for me is more of a feeling than anything. I'm almost compelled to say I would let her not take my name just to please her but I would want her to understand where I am coming from and how I feel.

What Guys Said 5

  • My last name is one of the most common last names among ALL Asians...not even one country, ALL of them. PLEASE change my last name without sodomizing me, someone.

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  • i would feel like in the back of her mind she doesn't consider spending her whole life with me so she doesn't bother changing it because she knows she gon' have to change it back again.

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  • I wouldn't care. I don't even like my last name that much.

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  • It's kind of sad, really. They still want to be bribed by getting an engagement ring. They still want a wedding. They still are hypergamous. They don't want to change their last name. Am I the only one that feels that they take, take, take?

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  • It's a silly tradition. If she wants to keep her last name, let her. If she wants to take it, let her.

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