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To change your name - or not

TLDR: Ultimately, what you do with your last name is up to you. Do what feels right. If a name change feels uncomfortable, we say skip it (at least for now) 💁‍♀️

Tango's Take 🔮

So you’re not sure if you want to change your name? You’re not alone. In recent years, there’s been an uptick in women deciding to buck the trend and keep their maiden names.

To change your name or not is of course a personal choice. Alizah K. Lowell, LCSW-R, has talked through this decision with many clients and has found that it generally comes down to 3 key factors: identity, future children, and your partner. Taking her advice, with our own spin on it, we lay out the factors you might want to consider below:

#1 Identity - For some, your given surname might feel important because it connects you to your ethnicity or origin family. For others, it’s who you’re known as at work, it’s highlighted on your advanced degrees, or it’s just what feels right. Or maybe, you don’t feel particularly tied to your surname and it doesn’t feel like a loss of identity to give it up. Reflecting on how your surname is tied to your identity can help you to make a more informed choice.

#2 Future Children - For people who grew up in nuclear families with the same surname, it might feel uncomfortable to have a different name than your future children. Or maybe, one parent didn’t have your surname, so it feels completely normal to keep your own. Today, couples are also choosing to hyphenate their children’s names or even take on a net-new surname as a family. It’s also entirely OK to decide later. Some people will wait and change their surnames years after marriage once they’ve had kids or switched careers.

#3 Your Partner - While your name is inherently personal, marriage introduces a new reality where most of your decisions will involve someone else. Thus, it’s common to talk it through with your partner. But remember that this is about YOU, so while your partner can share their opinion, they don’t get to make the call here. If you’re worried about their reaction, then maybe plan to tell them with a third party around, like a premarital counselor.

Ultimately, your name is yours. If you’re feeling hesitant about changing it, remember that a) you don’t have to do anything and b) there’s no rush. What’s important is that you do what feels right to you.

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