My Fiancé Is Upset That I Don’t Want to Change My Last Name…

Here's how to handle this particularly sensitive situation

Updated 04/28/17

Photo by Erich McVey

Deciding whether or not to change your last name after your wedding used to be easy. Most women just did it! But that’s becoming less common, with some deciding to keep their maiden name, some opting to hyphenate, and some (gasp!) even asking their SO to take their name instead! Of course, that doesn’t mean your new spouse won’t have an opinion on what you decide. If you’ve chosen to hang on to your maiden name instead of changing it and your fiancé isn’t happy about that, what should you do? Don’t worry, our experts have some tips on how to handle it.

Deciding whether or not to change your name is an entirely personal decision, so while you want your spouse to be happy with what you’ve chosen, there is a possibility that you may not be able to make everyone happy.

Start by figuring out why your decision is ruffling feathers. Is it simply because of tradition? Or is your fiancé thinking about you having a different name than your future children? Talk through what the issue actually is so you can figure out the best way to handle the situation.

If it’s all about tradition, don’t feel like you must give in simply to make your future spouse happy. Let him or her know why you’ve decided to keep your maiden name. Is it easier to spell? Do you have a professional career associated with it? Are you an only child and don’t want to see the family name fade away? If your fiancé understands your reasoning, the problem could very well solve itself!

Should you decide you want to find a compromise, here are a few ideas. Hoping to keep your maiden name professionally? You can still change your last name legally but work under your maiden name, or you can have two legal last names (i.e. Susan Brown could be Susan Brown Michaels) and use just one as you work. Want your kids to have the same last name as you? Again, you could have two last names and use just one for your kids, or you could opt to hyphenate your children’s names (e.g. Allison Brown-Michaels)—also a great idea if you decide you don’t want to change your name at all but want your children’s names to reflect both of you.

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