Monday, 7 April 2014

Should I Change My Name?

In May, my other half and I will have been together for eight years, and in January of this year we decided to get engaged. It wasn't one of those spontaneous, down-on-one-knee affairs like you always hear about. Nope, we're one of those completely unromantic - according to the media - couples who talked about it because we have been together for a long time, and then - as a joke - he buys me a ring for £2.50 from a Museum Gift Shop! He handed it to me all goofy and I did initially wear it - until it turned my finger green, and finally replaced it with a ring from a collection of jewellery that I inherited.

So no, it isn't the most romantic story, but that's how we are. We're a backwards couple anyway, whereby I can never remember the exact date of our anniversary, other than the fact that it's in May and normally Facebook has to kindly remind me. My other half, well he never forgets it!

For us, marriage is still a long way off. I suggested our anniversary next year, giving us time to save up for a small ceremony with just close family and friends (even a small ceremony seems ridiculously expensive to me!), whilst he suggested making it our ten year anniversary which is when we have agreed on.

So, in just over two years time, I will be getting married.

It still seems weird to say, because for a long time marriage had no interest to me. I have always felt that I don't need a piece of paper to tell me how much my other half means to me. And, after a childhood of not being able to get away from my ridiculously long surname (and being forever grateful that my mother opted for the shortened version of "Kathryn") quick enough, in adulthood I've found that I have become quite attached to it - well, it has been with me for the past thirty years!

Which means that for the next two years, I expect to have a very lengthy internal argument with myself about what name I intend to use.

On the selfish side, I really can't be bothered to contact absolutely every company I deal with to tell them that I have changed my name. Having recently moved house, I am all too aware of how much of a pain in the rear end just changing your address can be, so changing my name doesn't sound like fun.

And signing my name. Wow that just seems weird - my signature has always been boring, but if I change my name it'll never be the same. But is this the opportunity to reinvent that cursed thing that I always have to do the same way otherwise my bank will think I'm some fraudster! To think that men don't get the chance to reinvent their signatures - poor buggers!

Another issue is the fact that I am known as Kat Musselwhite professionally, so how do I work around that? If I keep my name, it's not really a problem. However, if I change it, then I run the risk of confusing everyone from clients to search engines (Google is a pedantic thing sometimes). It's not even a case of: well, change your name personally, but keep Musselwhite professionally, because that just gets complicated, and confusing - especially for my banking.

One argument for changing my name, is the fact that everyone expects women to. So, even if I don't change my name, you just know that I will be referred to as Mrs [insert other half's surname]. But, to be honest, I don't think that would bother me, because I already get people referring to my other half as my husband anyway!

I know that a lot of women reading this probably think I'm absolutely crazy, because for most women this isn't even an argument worth having - you just change your name, and you're happy with that. And I really, really envy you for that, because I really wish that I could think like that, but nope, my brain wants to make life difficult for me!

For the record, I am definitely not a feminist! This isn't about not wanting a man to own me and all that other bullshit. For me, this is more about identity and who I am. Musselwhite has been a huge part of my life, and I'm not sure that I am quite ready to pass on that part of my identity, just yet!

Let's chat, trade tips, gossip and share 

(Go on! You don't know what you're missing!)



  1. I totally understand your internal debate. Me and my OH have been together 12 years and have no plans to get married, so this isn't a concern for me in the near future, but when the time comes it is a huge decision. The main thing would be what name would we give our children if I didn't take his name.
    I love my name - it's been with me a long time, and changing all of my records would be a pain. But it's actually something else that would hold me back from taking my OHs surname. His family are lovely but we don't really see them often and they don't really play a part in our lives (as oposed to my folks who are really there for us). I would see taking his surname as becoming part of his family - and that isn't what I want, I want us to be our own little family.
    So my decision is that I would take my OH's first name as my surname, and any children would have my new surname. So if e.g. his name was James Smith (it isn't, but his first name is one that works perfectly fine as a surname), he would stay James Smith, I would become Pamela James and a child would be Baby James... we would be the James', which would represent us perfectly, we would be his, not his family's.

    1. I can definitely OH's parents are both sadly no longer with us, and other than his brother there isn't really anyone else, so in that sense it would seem weird marrying into his "family", especially since he's more a part of mine than I am his. I love your idea of taking his first name, it makes me wish that I could do that, but sadly his first name wouldn't work as a surname!
      I'm just concerned that if I keep my own surname, I won't "feel" married.
      If there were kids involved I wouldn't think twice about changing my surname to his.
      Actually, yesterday someone suggested that he took my surname but the OH wasn't having any of that ;)


© Barefoot Girl. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig