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October 02, 2008


I don't have plans to get married for a while, but changing my name has no appeal to me. After all, I could end up marrying a guy with a name that sounds horrid next to mine... (my parents spend quite a bit of time picking the right name combination for me, how could I throw that away?) And partly it's laziness: I'm spending so much effort getting my own name out there right now... I don't want to do that again. Plus, what if I can't (gasp!) get the domain name?!!!

For me it comes down to having put a lot into defining who I am, and the fact that this question would never come up if I was a guy. I'll happily change my last name to the guy's... if he changes his name to mine in return! ;-)

I've always heard that, unless you've been published/developed a well-known career under your maiden name, that it's better to adopt your husband's name. I changed my name when my husband and I married in 2005 and it's been great. I don't feel "owned" but I do feel like I've joined his family.

From the moment my partner and I met, I loved his last name but knew it would never be mine. I simply wouldn't allow myself to become a hack feminist and shift my identity to become "the property of my husband." But after six years together, my perspective evolved. While I knew that changing my name didn't feel right in my bones, I stopped citing a reason outside of myself to justify my decision. Every woman should choose what serves her best. Period. As a new solopreneur, speaker, and emerging writer, keeping my last name made professional sense. It honored my value not to rebrand myself because of a personal relationship. But I'm glad I've shaken my old habit of judging women who make other choices. Such behavior is NOT feminist and took me out of my integrity far more than changing my last name would have.

Thank you for mentioning my Newly Corporate article :)

Alexia, thanks for your comments. My own turmoil and indecision over this issue has also led me to be less judgmental. I no longer think it matters as long as both partners are comfortable.

Erika, the published thing was the reason I didn't change my name (or so I told myself :)

Katie, you make a very good point about the domain name. And though is available (I just checked), I can imagine that people would constantly ask if I was related to Peter Shankman (I'm not).

Jennifer, you're welcome, it was a good one!

There's no reason to ask her to change her name but by the same token there's no reason to change mine.

Kids? I think there was and still is more ego resistance on this but if I she wanted to give the kid her last name, who really cares? Maybe all the children would have different last names.

It's like dual citizenship only not as confusing.

My only regret is that this makes things difficult for genealogists.

Animal, hadn't thought about the geneology stuff, but you're right. Fortunately or unfortunately, almost all my lines have now died out.

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