What’s in a Name?

When I married my ex husband, I happily changed my last name to the same as his. It felt like the right thing for me to do. I guess I’m a little bit old-fashioned in that way. My maiden name was difficult for people to spell and pronounce correctly, and I just never felt a big connection to it. Ironically, my ex’s last name was equally difficult for people to spell and pronounce correctly as well.

It took some time for our divorce to go through. We were separated for two years by the time our divorce was official. I’d been dating CBG for a while at that point, and had gone from “hell no I’m never ever EVER getting married again, thank you very much” to “I know that I’m going to one day get married again, even if it’s not to CBG, but I do hope that it’ll be to him”. When my divorce was finalized my girls were still young — 6 and 8, to be exact, and had strong opinions about my last name. They definitely wanted me to keep my last name — to them at the time, it only felt right that the three of us had the same last name. Though their dad and I hadn’t been together for over two years by that point, they still felt very invested in our family unit, particularly since CBG lived three hours away and they only saw him irregularly. For their comfort level, I happily agreed to keep my last name. It was a small thing that I could do at the time to make them at least a little bit happy.

When CBG and I got engaged, I knew that I would change my last name to be the same as his. At that point it just didn’t feel comfortable for me to keep the same last name as my ex husband when I was married to someone else. I talked to my girls early in our engagement about the inevitable: I would be changing my last name when CBG and I got married. We discussed my reasoning behind it, and they understood that keeping the same last name as their dad (and them) just didn’t feel comfortable to me at that point. They knew that having different last names didn’t make us any less of a family; it was ultimately just a name.

For CBG, me changing my last name was particularly meaningful for him. His ex-wife didn’t take his last name when they were married, and for him, that was always something that didn’t sit quite well. He was over the moon when I told him that I definitely wanted to change my last name to his. For me, it just felt like the right thing to do.

I’m still getting used to being “Mrs. CBG” and I have to admit that it gives me a little thrill every time I see it.  It was a personal choice that I’m happy with.  The only part that has me rolling my eyes just a little bit is this piece of irony — CBG’s last name? Also difficult for people to spell and pronounce. Oh, Universe, you DO have a sense of humour, now don’t you?


What about you all? For those of you who are married, did you choose to keep your maiden name or did you change it? If you’re single, do you think you’ll keep your name or change it? How about my divorced friends — did you change your name back when you got divorced?

8 Responses

  1. When my first husband and I divorced, I kept his last name…..we had three kids and I just didn’t want all the hassle of having to explain why my last name is different then theirs……I knew eventually I would get married, i just didn’t know that it would take 15 years…hahaha….but I hated everyday that I had to write that last name…hated it!! I got remarried to husband #2 and changed my name to his…..my kids were old enough to not care…..when our marriage ended in divorce I couldn’t wait to change my name back…..writing his last name was just awful, i no longer wanted to Mrs.____ , I cringed…… but let me tell you, it takes a lot of leg work to get your name changed!!

    • It IS a lot of work….I’m noticing that it’s even more now than it was when I first changed my name back in 2001. So many different online accounts….Pinterest, Twitter, Paypal, Etsy…the list goes on and on….

  2. I took it publicly as soon as were married. Legally it took more time, I was emotionally invested in my maiden name. I finally completed the legal part when he joined the army this past fall.

    • Some people are very attached to their last names…for some reason it was never something that I felt a particular attachment to. Though I must say that now that I’ve begun the process of legally changing my name, I’m feeling decidedly “done” with my ex husband’s last name. It’s definitely time for me to move on.

  3. I have my ex-husband’s last name and our daughters are still very attached to the idea of our names being the same. We’ve been divorced for over 5 years! I’d eventually like to take back my maiden name and keep it, even if (when?) I do remarry. Our family name dies with this generation, sadly.

  4. I kept my childrens last name as my middle name. I never wanted them to feel as if my new marriage somehow distanced them from me.

    • I can totally understand that! That might have been an option for me, if their last name were a little more middle name appropriate, if that makes any sense! lol I also would have kept my name if they weren’t comfortable with me changing it, though I admit that I was happy they approved. 🙂

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