The Art of Interracial Marriage

5 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Last Name After We Got Married

5 Reasons Why I Didn’t Change My Last Name After We Got Married…I Actually Waited 3 Years To Do It.

It’s not that I didn’t want to change my last name after getting married. Or that I didn’t want to have to go through the arduous process of sending in forms and standing in lines to change my: drivers license, credit card, bank accounts, social security, and loans, etc over to my new last name. Rehashing this list alone is draining. Nor was it that I was just to busy with life.
Instead, it was for these five reasons I waited to change my last name:
1.) I had become successful in my career with my maiden name.
2.) Everyone (friends, colleagues, customers) knew me by my maiden name.
3.) I wasn’t ready to shed my maiden name from my life because it was the last name that I had carried for such a long time (20+ years before marriage) and it seemed to go effortlessly with my first name.
4.) I wasn’t ready to hear people butcher my new last name like they always did my first (See seven things we encountered when moving to Texas with Ethnic Names). My maiden name was easy to spell and pronounce, and everyone always got it right.
5.) Last and in hindsight, I didn’t know how I would be received as an African-American woman with an Indian surname on my job or in life.
Hence with my husband’s agreement and because we were both in sales at the time, I kept my maiden name and didn’t worry about the need to change documentation of any kind.

What Changed 3 Years Later?

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That is until my husband, and I began to talk about having kids, and I noticed that all our new married couple friends had the same surname. Pressure? No, I had three years. Could I have had more? Sure! Did I want to? Not after being bombarded with thoughts of being in the hospital delivery room and seeing in dark black letters my maiden name instead of my married name on my child’s birth certificate, or having my child have a different last name than me.
Furthermore, finding myself having to explain our mother-child relationship to new people we met continuously at school, registering for child activities, and going to doctor visits, etc. Additionally, I didn’t want to be “Mrs. (insert maiden name)” like my mother. On numerous occasions colleagues of mine had asked me so how is Mr. (insert maiden name)? I immediately thought oh, my dad is great but they were really inquiring about my husband.

The Power Of The Same Surname

Instead, if I was Mrs. Gupta, then everyone automatically knew I was my child’s mom and my husband’s wife. Also, people would know that my husband and I weren’t just in a relationship with no intention of getting married which is something I grew up hearing was not an option. What about the wedding rings on our fingers? You are asking wouldn’t that be proof enough that you two were married? No, most, unfortunately, this is something that we have found as an interracial couple we have had the displeasure of realizing (read seven remarks interracial couples hate to hear).
Thus the stark reality became that I cared and all the precepts that caused me not to change my last name became outweighed/less important than previously idealized.

What About Hyphenating

I thought about hyphenating it, but I continued to think about how my child would daily ask me why is your name two names instead of one. Moreover, hearing from my child that I want two names like you mommy instead of one, can I have two last names too? So I went for it, and I officially changed my name December 2011, 3.4 years after we got married and it was the best feeling ever.

Did you change your name quickly after getting married or did you wait longer? Or did you not change it at all? Share and/or Post a comment. Like our content? Subscribe! Find us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook @growingupguptas and on Twitter @growingupgupta.

Want to know even more? Find it in our book, Habits of Successful Career Nomads.

 

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Copyright 2016 Growing Up Gupta

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24 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience! My mom never changed her name and I don’t think I’ll ever change mine. She and I have different last names and for us it’s never been an issue. Although I can definitely understand wanting to have the same name as your children.

    1. Growing Up Gupta says:

      Thanks for sharing.

  2. I changed my name entirely after my second marriage to a new name. I was glad to shed it within the first week when I married my loving husband of now 13 years. We all go and grow through different stages. I hope you enjoy your name change. 🙂

    1. Growing Up Gupta says:

      Yes, we do all go through stages. You shed the old skin when you are ready for new:).

  3. I got married in October and am like 1/4 of the way there with changing my last name. Going to all those government agencies is such a pain in the butt, but I do agree that I want to have the same last name as my children.

  4. Love this post! My mum never changed her last name (she has been married to my dad for twenty plus years). It’s nice to get some insight into other people’s reasoning for similar choices I really agree with what you initially wrote about “becoming successful in my career with my maiden name”. I think that is a huge part of the reason why I probably won’t change mine either 🙂

    1. Growing Up Gupta says:

      Thanks for writing!

  5. LOL! You had me laughing! In the bengali community, my surname in quite common, so me and my partner have ended up with the same surname!

    Is that fortunate or unfortunate? You tell me!

    http://www.shewillneverlose.com

    1. Growing Up Gupta says:

      LOL! You are lucky! My mother-in-law and father-in-law (are Indian and) have the same surnames too so my mother-in-law didn’t have to change her last name.

  6. I changed my very common easy to pronounce and spell last name to my wife’s very rare (like thirty people rare) hard to spell and pronounce surname because I wanted to have the same surname as my children. I grew up having a different surname to my mum and my sisters two kids have different surnames from her. I would like us to be one whole family with the same surname. It’s important to me.

    1. Growing Up Gupta says:

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Another married woman said the same thing to me recently and it makes a lot of sense. I have not changed my name though. I don’t know if I will at this point, mostly because I like my last name better than my husband’s and we’re still newly married, so kids are not a part of the table just yet. Will I feel differently when we do decide to have kids? Perhaps. But my sister also did not change her name and I think her kids are fine. I don’t think having a different name necessarily means that a child will be confused. And perhaps keeping my maiden name will be a cause for reflection, that their mom is a woman who had a life before being married? She wasn’t always just Mrs. _____ or Mom. I don’t know if that makes sense? Maybe I’m just making up excuses for my laziness 😉

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