I Seriously Regret Taking My Husband’s Last Name

Love & Learn 50

nameWhen I let it slip to people that I sometimes regret taking my husband's last name after we were married, a panicked look crosses their face. They're expecting, I can only guess, a diatribe about a good-for-nothing bum of a husband. I'll give you the good news now. We're 12 years in and going strong.

It's not the marriage I regret. It's the name.

I never expected to be here. Twelve years ago, I was excited to dump my 10-letter mouthful of a maiden name for one that was half as long. I was ready to say goodbye to years of having to correct the spelling and the pronunciation of the very German name passed down through my father's family for generations.

My new name was short and cute, and wouldn't you know it, my husband and I now had the same exact initials -- all the way through. And then seven years ago, I gave birth to a baby girl.

She got my husband's last name, and I felt a twinge of sadness. The name I so proudly learned to write out in kindergarten had no business here. It had been erased.

The twinge got worse two and half years later when my grandmother died, and then last summer when my grandfather passed away, I found myself feeling adrift. As a friend interviewed me for a newspaper story after his death (he was a muckety-muck in local politics), I realized I wasn't "an Eschenberg" anymore.

But it's just a name, you say? I'm still "related" to these people? It's true. And yet, having to qualify myself by asking the reporter to add my maiden name, to make sure I "fit" hurt.

It forced me to ask why I took his name in the first place. I realized I didn't think at the time about the consequences. I was excited to show the world that I'd married the man I loved, but I didn't truly consider what the name change meant to me, to my identity.

Twelve years into marriage with my "new" last name, I've established myself in my career as a Sager. People know me as a Sager, even in a small town where they still slip up and call me "Eschenberg" (and I admit I get a secret charge every time it happens). The name links me to my husband and to my daughter, both of whom love. I see no reason to go backward.

And yet, if I had it to do over again, I don't know that I would be a Sager today.

How about you? Do you regret changing your name when you were married?


Image via Natalie Maynor/Flickr

marriage, love


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tbruc... tbrucemom

As long as you're not signing legal documents and assuming you legally changed your name to your married name, you could still use your maiden name for other things (like your blog!) Or use both. Also, even if you kept your maiden name I'm sure your children would still have your husband's name so that doesn't make sense. Don't your grandparents have other grandchildren that have their name? Believe me you're better off as you are. Your husband and child are your main family now and it makes sense that you all have the same family name. What if you kept it and your daughter gets married and takes her husband's name? Your husband will be the only one with it.

curly... curlygirl31

You can use both with a hyphen

Rosas... RosasMummy

When my daughter was born she had my last name and the first of my finances double barrelled names and I kept my name, so now we all have different names. I realised that actually I don't care so much about a name, I just want us to all have the same one so when we get married I'm gna change me n my daughters names to be the same as his

nonmember avatar JoeBlow

I knew a woman whose husband's name was "Butt". And she did NOT want become "Ann Butt".

I lost track of her over the years, wonder if she's still a butt. :-)

nonmember avatar Holly

I wanted my maiden name hyphend with my husbands name but he didnt want our childrens names to be hyphend. Now i wish i would of just kept my maiden name and our children could still have his last name. When i told him that before we got married he told me then theres no point in getting married if your not taking my last name. Two years later and i regret it everytime. Theres no one to carry on my fathers last name.

JessL... JessLogansMommy

Part of me wishes my kids had my maiden name because my generation is all girls.  There's much less attachment to my husbands name all around, I probably could have even convinced him to change it, I think he even offered at one point but it was too late. 

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

I think it's a traditional thing. The man is supposed to be the "head of the household" and so his family is supposed to have his last name. That way people can tell you are a family. I was proud to take my husbands last name and still am. I'm a Barno all the way, I never ever regret giving up my maiden name.

Flori... Floridamom96

Every bit of this post just seems so unkind.

MsRkg MsRkg

I didn't change my last name when I got married so nothing to regret really. Personal family and friends will sometimes refer to me by my husbands last name and that is fine, but for legal reasons keeping my last name was better. Our son got a hyphenated version of our last names and we are all very happy.

EmmaF... EmmaFromEire

Exactly what bit of this is unkind floridamom? She likes her name, it meant something to her, she misses it. End of. It's not a slight against her husband and family, she just said she liked her own surname better.

I'm sticking with my maiden name, because for years and years now i've been addressed by my surname, as a pet name. Think Turk from Scrubs, that kind of thing. 

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