Tak­ing a mar­ried name should not be whimsy

The Washington Times Daily - - Life - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN

DEAR ABBY: Like “Stand­ing My Ground in New Jer­sey” (Jan. 9), I had de­cided at a young age I had no in­ter­est in chang­ing my last name if I ever were to be mar­ried. For me, the decision had noth­ing to do with an es­tab­lished ca­reer or a fear of los­ing my­self. I sim­ply never saw the point.

Would you be­lieve I fell in love with and mar­ried a man who asked me how I felt about him tak­ing my last name? When he first men­tioned the idea, I told him he should think it through be­cause a name change shouldn’t be taken lightly. Like “Stand­ing,” my hus­band also had no fa­ther fig­ure. He’s happy to now have a last name that fi­nally “means some­thing” to him. — ERIN IN EL CA­JON, CALIF.

DEAR ERIN: That col­umn pro­duced a wide va­ri­ety of re­sponses from both men and women. How­ever, most of my readers agree that “Stand­ing” and her fi­ance have an im­por­tant decision to make, and they should both step back and ex­am­ine the op­tions to­gether. Their com­ments:

DEAR ABBY: Most women around the world re­tain their names af­ter mar­riage, and chil­dren take their mother’s name as their mid­dle name and their fa­ther’s name as their last. It’s only in English-speak­ing coun­tries that the tra­di­tion ex­ists for women to take their hus­band’s last name. It orig­i­nated from the time when wives were con­sid­ered prop­erty. — JANE IN FRANKLIN, TENN.

DEAR ABBY: The decision to keep or change one’s name is per­sonal. In my ex­pe­ri­ence as a judge, I of­ten see women ask for their maiden name to be re­stored to them upon a di­vorce. I also saw one case in which the hus­band in the di­vorce re­quested that his for­mer name be re­stored to him. That cou­ple had used the wife’s name as their fam­ily name when they mar­ried.

I agree with your re­sponse to post­pone the decision un­til both of them have dis­cussed the is­sue more fully. How they han­dle this decision will fore­tell how they will han­dle other de­ci­sions. — JUDGE TONYA IN FLORIDA

DEAR ABBY: By “Stand­ing” not chang­ing her name, which is the cul­tural norm in this coun­try, she will cre­ate years of con­fu­sion, has­sle, con­stant ex­pla­na­tions and iden­tity is­sues for her, her hus­band and her fu­ture chil­dren. Her hus­band also will feel a sense of dis­con­nect that is hard for her to un­der­stand. — PA­TRI­CIA IN THE SOUTH­WEST

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