Why should married women change their names?

1 to 20 of 71 messages
13/03/2013 at 22:18

I'm not married but if I ever do get married, I think I'd keep my name or at most have double barrel. 

Women - did you change your name and if so why? Just because it's traditional?

Men - any of you taken the woman's name and if so why?



Edited: 13/03/2013 at 22:19
13/03/2013 at 22:22
Mrs B took my name when she married me. I tried to talk her out of it - Johnny is a stupid name for a girl.
13/03/2013 at 22:29

I wouldn't get married. But if I did, I certainly wouldn't change my name.

Even though actually it's a pretty crap name.

13/03/2013 at 22:33

we won't be getting married as i prefer living in sin.

i'd take my Bidie-In's name if I did because mine is daft.

13/03/2013 at 22:34
Tbh i always run most my big life decisions past a panel of American gender studies graduates before settling on a final decision.

Because i don't have a mind of my own, see.
13/03/2013 at 22:40

DF3 - rest easy, I'm not really a Guardian reader, just saw the article somewhere and thought it made an interesting topic. Plus I'm bit bored tonight.

teh dude abides - I prefer to live in sin too. I've never actually wanted/thought about getting married, maybe it's my advancing years that are making me think about things like this.

Johnny Blaze - 


My friend's husband took her surname, but that's the only occasion I've known where the man changed his surname. They've divorced now though.

13/03/2013 at 22:47

Mikasa, my first thought was you look quite exotic and hot, but then I realised I'm not DF3 so can't get away with that, so shame on you DF3!

I'm pretty traditional in fairness, and would take it as a bit of a slight for my wife not to take my surname. It's part of the overall commitment I guess, and makes it easier to class yourself as a family unit, with the kids taking the same name.

What surname would the kids take if you had separate names?

As for taking the woman's surname, all PC stuff taken as read, you'd just be a laughing stock wouldn't you really.

I do know a couple ..of couples who have double barrelled it out. But that just seems to kill the family tree line for 2 families rather than 1! And potentially ends up with a ridiculously long surname.

Best one I actually saw that worked was a pal at primary school. Her mum was a Lyn and her dad a Smith, and they formed Lynsmith, which i think is pretty tidy.

Edited: 13/03/2013 at 22:50
13/03/2013 at 22:56
I took his surname cos when we had kids (which we now do), I wanted them to have the same name as both of us.

I also have a strong enough sense of identity and self-worth, that I know I'm not going to disappear just because I change my surname to his. Perhaps if I were less self-assured, I would have felt odd about it.
13/03/2013 at 22:57

Stevie G - Yes, I'm wondering too how you would then decide the kids surnames. Should be the woman's I think as she's carried them all.

Funnily enough, I work with a lady who has 4 kids, all have the same dad and they all have different surnames!! Tbh, that tells you more about her than anything else...

I do find it very interesting that we still live with very traditional ideas like woman taking the man's name. The man being laughing stock if he took the woman's etc. I'm certainly no ground breaker but it still makes me think.

Also, I spoke to my sister about this and she said couple of her friends had 'invented' a new surname that they both changed to after getting married. I must ask further about the reason behind it.

DF3 - sorry, you must be losing your touch...

Edited: 13/03/2013 at 22:59
13/03/2013 at 23:07

RunShonaRun - but it is just a tradition to take the man's name, probably because they used to be the providers, but what about now when many women are the main breadwinners? 

I don't really know how it works in Norway but they have a lot of 'son of...' and 'daughter of...' surnames don't they? I'll have to have a look into that.

And in Spain you have two surnames, your mother's and you father's.

Edited: 13/03/2013 at 23:13
13/03/2013 at 23:13

Mikasa, why would you even want to get married then? As surely that's just mere tradition too?

Edited: 13/03/2013 at 23:15
13/03/2013 at 23:39

My friend took her husband's name. And he took hers. Although they weren't related, they happened to have the same surname!


I'm not married so can't really comment. I do have mixed feelings about what I'd do. I've never particularly liked my name and it doesn't have a long history as my Grandma picked it for her and my Dad and changed their names by deed poll. Plus by boyfiend is the last one left with his name in his family so he'd quite like to carry it on. On ther other hand I;d have to keep using my name professionally and to a degree I do feel like why should I change my name just cos of tradition. So maybe I'd keep my name. The (hyoithetical) kids can have his name though.

14/03/2013 at 05:11

Some Scots (such as meself) have mother's maiden name + father's surname.  It seemed silly to change to husband's (i) chauvenist (ii) less admin re bank accounts etc (iii) he had a boring name and I preferred mine anyway.  Just as well 'cos divorced now and admin was minimised once again  .

Nurse Ratched    pirate
14/03/2013 at 07:53

I didn't change my name when we got married.  Didn't see why it was necessary.  Anyhoo, I'm older so I've had my name longer than he's had his .

Kids have his surname and it causes no problems at all

seren nos    pirate
14/03/2013 at 08:00

Once again its a thing of choice..............I like the idea of the whoile family having the same surname........it is the family name.......

once you start having the kids taking both surnames you ensd up with double varrell surnames so if they themn marry .what do you do .have four surnames so that everyone is involved......must get messy..

For me its simple.....My choice is that we all have the same name..

14/03/2013 at 08:27

Yes, it's a matter of choice.

My maiden name was a very unusual old English one and I'm fond of it, but it was also quite long, I always had to spell it out for people and they often got it wrong.

My married name only has 4 letters, is easy to spell (and sign!) and rolls off the tongue much more easily. I had no hesitation in changing it.


David Falconer 3 wrote (see)

Damn I was hoping you were going to bite more on that inflammatory comment ....... sigh.


David, you are losing your touch. Must try harder.


Edited: 14/03/2013 at 08:27
14/03/2013 at 08:38

Stevie G - Well, I don't. I've never wanted to get married and I probably won't. Never say never though. I'm not against marriage and I do like weddings, just have never seen myself having one. It feels alien and unnecessary.

Seren nos - it could get very messy indeed with surnames down generations so there obviously needs to be a solution. I'm not saying it's right or wrong to take the husbands name and I'm sure most people make a decision they are both happy with.

I wouldn't suggest you'd feel inferior because you took your husbands name but why then most men would feel uncomfortable taking the wife's name? Why is it any different? Would they feel inferior? It's already suggested you'd be laughing stock with your mates, why should that be so?

seren nos    pirate
14/03/2013 at 08:46

I don't think that it would be anything major today.......

things have changed.......women are allowed to drive the car with the man as a passenger now ( and not just home from the pub).............men can change nappies and look after the kids...........

there are so many more relationships where the couple have equal input......and so it is up to the couple to decide............The type of people who have an equal partnership would no doubt have the friends who are above the sniggering at something so normal as them choosing the family surname......and would realise that is not an inferior or power thing.just another decision like where you live or if you have kids

14/03/2013 at 08:49
mikasa wrote (see)


I wouldn't suggest you'd feel inferior because you took your husbands name but why then most men would feel uncomfortable taking the wife's name? Why is it any different? Would they feel inferior? It's already suggested you'd be laughing stock with your mates, why should that be so?





 Most men? Only one man on this thread has suggested he might have a problem with it. I think that "most" men probably haven't even thought about it but wouldn't think it was such a terrible idea if they did.

Edited: 14/03/2013 at 08:57
14/03/2013 at 09:15

I disagree. Some men would be happy to take the wife's name, mostly through dislike of their own name or more likely some sort of want to severe the family tie  due to problems within that family.

I think the social stigma would put many guys off even considering it though. The jokes of being hen pecked, or under the thumb. The fact that traditionally not the way of things. I do think "most" men would have a problem with it. Despite the race for equality guys do still get far more social derision for taking on what have been seen as traditional female roles. Just look at the attitudes and jokes often thrown at house husbands. Lambasted for not being "a man", a provider and treated like a leper when picking their children up from school.

People should do with names what they want with their surname. It's up to the couple to decide what they want to do in that regard. The woman keeping her surname, doubling barrelling or the woman taking the husbands name wouldn't be at all unusual these days. Although I agree with the poster that said double barrelling could lead to insane naming in future generations.

Edited: 14/03/2013 at 09:18
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