by any other name

Next week, I’ll have a different name. Yep, I’m a name-changer after marriage.

After 33 years, it makes me kind of sad. It’s been a good name, it is who I am, after all, quite literally. But I’m happy about it too.

My reasons for changing my name are really pretty basic: I want to have the same last name as my future husband. My farmer is modern enough that he would be okay if I didn’t want to change my name, but not so modern that he’d be interested in changing HIS last name. And I’m okay with that – he’s pretty modern-minded for a farmer, but still, the boy’s a farmer. I want us and our children to have the same name. It isn’t how it has to be, but it’s just the way I want it.

It also helps that my new last name is 4 letters and 2 syllables shorter than my old/current last name. My first name is Elizabeth. Signing my old 17-letter, 7-syllable name was exhausting. I’ll be down to 13 letters and 5 syllables! It makes a difference. This is also the reason that hyphenating was not considered as an option.

There are other options, all of which I have considered. I could just stay the same. It’s easy, but then there’s the name difference thing, which just isn’t my thing. I could change it entirely, like I’m doing. Or, I could be Dr. Old-Name, Mrs. New-Name. I see a lot of female vets (probably MDs as well) do that, and I’m not sure I really get it. I can see it’d be nice because professionally I wouldn’t have to change everything (degree, licenses, etc.), and people I know from school and jobs and what not would be able to find me more easily, but I just think it’d be unnecessarily confusing.

At the same time, changing my name altogether is going to be a colossal pain in the butt, too. There’s all the regular stuff everyone has to do – driver’s license, social security card, credit cards, bank accounts, etc. But then I have to change the name associated with my veterinary license, DEA license, professional accounts, get a new degree, etc.

Do any other name-changers out there have suggestions for how to make the process more smooth and enjoyable? I’m really kind of dreading it. Advice would be most appreciated!

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6 thoughts on “by any other name

  1. Life in Vet School

    I don’t have any advice, since I haven’t changed my name yet. I’ve always been a name-keeper (dead set on this!) and when we got engaged, I offered MM a compromise — the only part I really care about is having the same last name as my kids (if we ever have any). So the compromise I offered was that we could both change our name (to a combined name that we’re making up from the first few letters of one last name and the last few letters of the other) and then we would ALL have the same name. If he didn’t want to compromise, then I was fine with us both keeping our names, but in that case I insisted our children would have my last name. Either outcome is fine with me, but so far he wants to both change our names so we’ll all have the same family name (this is what I was hoping for). πŸ™‚ We’re not going to even worry about it until shortly before our first chid is born (again, if we even have kids!) so for the time being it’s not much of an issue. But I am dreading all the paperwork!

  2. ejh345

    That was the other option!!! The name combination. We’re living in such a small town, and his family is rather huge, so I don’t know how that would have gone over publicly, or with him…but I definitely think it’s a great alternative to hyphenating or taking his name if you’re opposed. Sometimes I think I should be more opposed, because I can appreciate the sexism inherent in it, but it just doesn’t actually bother me. Oh well. If I come up with anything good, I’ll post hints on the paperwork issues!

  3. Maggie Moo

    The paperwork is easier than you think, the people responsible for filing all the forms were really quite nice to me, and knew all the appropriate things to do. They made it pretty hassle free. One word of advice, do your social security card first–almost all other things require proof that it has been changed (and it’s the most hassle). I won’t have to change DEA licenses and such so I don’t really have any advice there. But, I’ve been told its not that big of a deal.
    Also, I changed my middle name to my maiden name.(Hillary Rodham Clinton, style) My father died when I was young, I was the only “heir”, no brothers and it was an important part of who I am. And, it makes it so much simpler for people to find me. I’m too traditional for hyphenation, so I chose the other option. Having both names makes me feel like I belong to both families, super important to me!
    Best of luck with your wedding, and more importantly, your marriage! Enjoy your day, and don’t forget to eat!

  4. Life in Vet School

    I don’t think you should be against it — it’s a totally individual choice. In my case, I felt like I’ve ALWAYS been a Mylastname, and marrying MM didn’t make me a Hislastname (plus I feel very lukewarm about his family, and we both LOVE my family). Plus I’m published as Mylastname. Plus he has 2 ex-wives (yes, really. One was youthful stupidity, the other was just a mistake. So I’m his 3rd wife — I can clearly see how both of them were totally wrong situations from day 1, so it doesn’t really bother me anymore, but I get a lot of evil enjoyment from ribbing him about it from time to time) πŸ™‚ which means that at this point it just seems kind of ridiculous to have yet ANOTHER Mrs. Hislastname running around. So, my compromise. πŸ™‚

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