Why I'm Keeping My Married Name

Love & Learn 19

I got married pretty young, which means I'm among the first of my friends to join this new "divorce club" (kinda crappy club, by the way. The food sucks and the company is non-existent). But I remember hearing about other people who'd been through a divorce and kept their married names.

It baffled me. Why would you want to tie yourself to someone you are no longer legally bound to? Why would you want that daily reminder that "hey, things didn't work out, you big failure"?

Turns out? I get why people keep their married names now. I'm one of them.

Back when I was a freshly engaged, "my life is just beginning," dew-eyed girl of 22, I got into a fairly heated (for us at the time) debate with my soon-to-be husband. I'd always been partial to my maiden name -- I'd had it for 22 years, I'd always gone by it, and I'd never been one of those girls who liked to combine her first name and her crush's last name in swirly script.

Not me.

I was happy with my maiden name and I didn't really see any need to change it. I didn't want to become Mrs. (Husband's First Name, Husband's Last Name) because it kinda squicked me out. Mrs. So-and-So was my mother-in-law, a matronly woman who taught Christian elementary school.

Not me.

I was a fresh-eyed girl who had big plans for her future. I'd go back to school after I popped out a few kids, I'd change the world with my research into viruses and bacteria, and I could do it with my very own name. I wasn't Mrs. So-and-So.

My husband-to-be disagreed and I could see his point -- it would be obnoxious to have to constantly correct our future children's teachers, doctor's offices, really everyone we knew. And how do you say, "My name is So-and-So" without sounding like a bitch?

Now I'm staring down the barrels of a divorce and the option of changing my name back to my maiden name (which is my middle name now) seems silly.

I've lived as Becky Sherrick Harks for nearly 10 years, and I have no need to go back to my former name. I go by my full name and I like the way it sounds. It's, quite frankly, become part of who I am.

And while I've had to change many other things about my life since the "d" word was first brought up, my name isn't something I'm planning to give up.

Because it turns out? It is me.

Would you change your name after a divorce?

Image via weelakeo/Flickr

breakups, divorce


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

easun... easunshine

I didn't change mine back, but I never went through the process to legally change it in the first place so it isn't quite a big thing. If I had, though, I wouldn't change it back to my maiden name. I *will* change it when I remarry.

Autum... Autumnjean26

I was just talking to someone about this yesterday. They thought I was crazy for keeping my exes name. But I don't want my kids to have a different last name than me if they don't have to. Meaning if I ever get re-married then yes our names will be different. But as of right now, it's just easier. I've been this name for 12 years and when I hear someone call me by my old name it feels so weird.

Bruic... Bruickson

I think if my husband and I ever divorced I'd keep my last name. Like Autumn I would want to have the same last name as my daughter. When we first got married the thought of losing my maiden name bothered me a lot. In high school everyone called my brother and I by our last names so I felt like I was losing a part of myself. When it came time to change my name I thought I'd be more upset but I was just being silly. I actually prefer my married name and think it suits me better now.

nonmember avatar LizzieBorden

I honestly think it's pathetic that women hold on to their ex-husband's names; it's not who you are, it's who you were. Let his new wife have his last name; it's not your's anymore. Get your own identity.

When you chose to give your children your HUSBAND's last name you made a choice for them to have a last name that differs from your original identity. Holding on to his last name just makes you look sad and desperate.

Smoke... Smokeygirl

My MIL kept her married name after her divorce over 20 years ago, she said that she's now been Mrs. Our last name, for longer than she had her maiden name. So it's not that uncommon to keep the name when you have kids :)

nonmember avatar Kristi

I'm not divorced but I've already informed my husband that if we did I'm keeping his name! My maiden name is a very long unpronounceable Polish name that can never fit on standard forms and is in general a pita. Now my name is still usually slaughtered but at least it's short enough to fit on forms lol

Xxxgrl Xxxgrl

Why change your name at all?? It baffles me that women tout themselves as so liberated and independent, yet hang onto an archaic tradition that represents ownership and slavery. Have you ever asked why so many African Americans carry names like Jefferson, Washington, etc? They were given their master's last name, to represent ownership. I know, that's an extreme example, but the same tradition is represented by a woman changing her name to her husband's upon marriage. I have been married for 24 years, never changed my name and never had an issue. Our children have their father's name, but MY name--the name I was born with--is mine. If a man has an issue with it, you should ask why. What is he insecure about? Turn the tables and require him to change his name to the wife's. If a man refuses, shouldn't it make sense that a woman should refuse as well?

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

This is a tough one. Mostly I think it's sad and pathetic to keep someone else's last name if your no longer married, it's his last name, his families last name, not yours anymore. On the flip side, IF and only if you have children together and your only wanting to keep his last name to have the same last name as your child, I guess I could see that but even then I think it's kind of wrong, not to mention what happens when you have another kid with someone else? Your going to have a different last name than that kid unless you give that kid your ex's last name too, so you might as well go back to your maiden name anyway. I'm starting to think that children should automatically just be given their mother's last name with the divorce rate these days, that way at least when she keeps popping out kids with different men her children can at least have the same last name, and it will keep her from looking like such a whore. (I know of several people with 3+ kids, all different fathers, all different last names)  



nonmember avatar BakingSuit

I haven't changed my name to his and have no plans to. My name is part of me and locally well established...and makes me a one and only. (No joke.)

Loonah Loonah

I went back to my maiden name before we were even legally divorced! I couldn't wait any longer...it was never a name I wanted in the first place. It was his name, not mine and I wanted my identity back!

1-10 of 19 comments 12 Last