rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28

Marriage and titles and names have been on my mind, see my post of last month.  Two of my friends got married on the same day in March: one changed her name to her husband's, one kept her name.   Both equally valid choices, but the one who kept her name got so much "jokey" pushback that I rolled my eyes, thinking "oh no, not again".

For a while now I've found myself thinking "if I was getting married tomorrow, I wouldn't change my name".  My experience is that the people who respect my compromise double surname also respect the women who don't change their names (and the men who do).  The rest of them just address me as Mrs Anthony Finch anyway.  Plus the idea of "remaining one person with one name, in everything I do" has proved overly idealistic, given how much I answer to "Charles's mum" or "Nicholas's mum" rather than my actual name, or call for a taxi/book a table in the name "Finch" because that's easier than the whole double barrel (but feels uncomfortably wrong).

It isn't much of a step from "I wouldn't change my name now" to "I wish I hadn't changed my name" and from there to "what is stopping me changing back?"  In the last month I've basically realised it's the paperwork hassle and concern for Tony's feelings.  On checking with Tony, he's entirely supportive, which just leaves paperwork.

I think if Nicholas had been a daughter rather than a son, this might have happened two years ago.  I quite liked the idea of "the girls" being Colemans and "the boys" being Finches (though it has its own issues with reinforcing the binary gender default).  But there aren't and won't be "the girls" now, so it's taken a bit longer to bubble up out of "nice idea" into "this feels important to me and I want to do it".

Today I'm starting the tedious process of changing everything back.  I fully expect it to take months to get through everything, and to have to gently correct people assuming we're getting divorced, but from today I'm Rachel Coleman again.  Ms rather than Mrs, and I still prefer "Rachel" to any title.  I'm going to keep my personal email address (rmcf@cb4.eu) even though those aren't quite my initials any more, because for nearly nine years they were, and that's part of my history.

I'm still very happily married, and my children still have their father's surname.  But I made a mistake changing my name and now I'm fixing it.

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Date: 2014-04-30 07:43 (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I hope you don't get much stick for it.

(I would hope you don't get any, but that just seems unlikely...)

Date: 2014-04-30 19:30 (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I suspect so. I expect that it was something they hadn't ever considered before and you're changing their world in a way that makes them uncomfortable.

It should do them good :->
Edited (Removed assumptions :->) Date: 2014-04-30 19:31 (UTC)

Date: 2014-05-01 17:17 (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
So you did!

It's possible I worry about this kind of thing far too much :->

Date: 2014-04-30 07:56 (UTC)
ext_66326: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lnr.livejournal.com
Can I just say congratulations. It obviously means a lot to you.

Date: 2014-04-30 12:09 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
May I second lnr's message of congratulations!

But I made a mistake changing my name and now I'm fixing it.

It is OK to make mistakes, and OK to correct them. It will be awkward in the sense of tedious paperwork, so I hope the process is as free from hassle as possible. But if people try to make it awkward, *they* are the ones being awkward, not you!

Although it's tedious for you on a personal level to through this process, you sharing your lived experiences of the various hassles of your compromise name format help others. Like me, for instance :-). So you're already a role model, and now you get to be one for people deciding it's OK to change names too :-)

Date: 2014-04-30 20:46 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Learning is good, glad the discussions were useful :-)

Date: 2014-04-30 08:03 (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
I am really happy for you. I hope all goes as well as it can.

Date: 2014-04-30 08:14 (UTC)
atreic: (Default)
From: [personal profile] atreic
Well done for thinking about things people take forgranted, and making things better for you (and the rest of us as well :-) )

Date: 2014-04-30 08:41 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I quite liked the idea of "the girls" being Colemans and "the boys" being Finches

Like the little Kermits and Piggys!

Date: 2014-05-01 10:44 (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
I quite like the "one surname for half the children, one surname for the other half" too, and have suggested it elsewhere. It seems an interesting solution to the problem that even if neither parent change their name, if there are offspring with a common surname, that can make it look to outsiders as if it makes that surname "the" surname. And it even works long-term.

Although I agree it's not a good idea as a whole because of the gender essentialism. I'm not sure if there's any better way of fixing that.

Date: 2014-04-30 09:39 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh, that's great - well done you!

Funnily enough I had almost exactly this conversation with J recently. I definitely wouldn't change my name wholesale if I got married now (but might go for some double-barrelled or combined name) - I didn't do it unthinkingly at the time, but my attitudes on various relevant topics have changed in the intervening 17 years.

I'm not going to change back now because I got married so young that my professional identity has been almost entirely in my married name, and I don't want to lose that history, but I like the fact that you are doing this and showing it is possible!

Date: 2014-04-30 09:40 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
(sorry, that was lj-user geekette8 writing that last anony-comment, I'm fine to be unscreened and unmasked :-))

Date: 2014-04-30 09:45 (UTC)
jack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jack
*hugs* Congratulations! With your previous compromise I was impressed by you choosing a solution you thought worked best, and I'm sorry people didn't respect it :( But even more impressed you change again, I hope most people accept it, and I'm pleased you made the decision!

Date: 2014-04-30 16:31 (UTC)
sparrowsion: female house sparrow (female house sparrow)
From: [personal profile] sparrowsion
Very much with you here: I've seen so much disrespect for Ingi's lack-of-name-change (including from her own grandfather!). You offered a compromise, it didn't help, so you may as well withdraw it and have the name that's right for you.

On the practicalities of name change, I'm always slightly bemused by how much advice stresses getting your alma mater to recognise it and reissue your degree certificate(s). I mean, my degree certificates haven't seen the light of day in over 20 years.

Date: 2014-04-30 19:22 (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
It's probably a real pain to do it in a hurry when some prospective new employer goes 'and show me your certificates'...*

* Not happened to me yet, but at least once requested of my mother.

Date: 2014-04-30 10:11 (UTC)
naath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naath
Yay for doing a thing that will make you happier. Boo for the piles of paperwork.

Date: 2014-04-30 10:19 (UTC)
emperor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] emperor
I hope the process of changing again isn't too irksome!

Date: 2014-04-30 10:40 (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
Excellent. I hope the paperwork doesn't prove too tedious. And you can out all the companies that assume you're divorcing (because why else would you change your name) or that get pissy for no readily apparent reason ;)

Date: 2014-04-30 12:26 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Since S and I got married, S has been having an awful lot of telephone calls of the form:

Them: Is that Mr C-?
S: No, I'm not Mr C-, but I am Ms C-'s husband
Them: ...
Them: ...
Them: *Hang up*

Unfortunately, owing to them hanging up before they say who they are, we aren't too sure which companies they represent!

Date: 2014-04-30 13:11 (UTC)
kaberett: Grinning emoticon. (:D)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
When I changed my surname, the only person who didn't ask when the wedding had been was Prentice.

He walked into the room, looked at me, looked at my notes, and said "So you fell out with your dad, then?"

... the registrar in the room looked HORRIFIED.

Date: 2014-04-30 13:30 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
Ah, Prentice, one of a kind.

Date: 2014-04-30 13:46 (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
I love him to bits. I appreciate he doesn't work for everyone. <<

Date: 2014-04-30 10:45 (UTC)
nanila: me (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanila
Maybe it wasn't a mistake at the time, if it felt right then? I'm glad that you're able and have the support of your loved ones in changing it back, since that feels right now. Good luck with the boring paperwork - I hope it isn't too onerous.
Edited Date: 2014-04-30 10:46 (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-30 14:52 (UTC)
redbird: closeup of me drinking tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] redbird
Yes, that makes sense: the annoyance of doing something you thought was a compromise and other people treated as a concession and space to push for more, or didn't even realize you were compromising but thought you were doing entirely what they wanted and expected.

I used to tell people who asked for "Mrs. H" or "Are you Mrs. H?" "No, she lives in Schenectady," because the only "Mrs. H" I knew was [personal profile] cattitude's mother. And that seemed to happen equally often before and after we were married. But over time we got less of that and more of either "can I speak to Cattitude?" [absolutely fine] or "are you his wife?" without calling me by his name.

And, as others have said, congratulations for doing this thing that feels right to you.
Edited Date: 2014-04-30 14:53 (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-30 12:02 (UTC)
falena: Picture of a girl hiding behind a camera, reflected in a mirror. (Default)
From: [personal profile] falena
I'm happy for you. I really hope that change will go smoothly!

As someone who's recently got married (in a country where women do not change their name) I find the whole concept of people giving you grief because you kept (or,in your case, reverted to) your own name really weird. As for titles, I think they're totally pointless, unless they're professional (Dr, etc.).

Date: 2014-04-30 16:22 (UTC)
clanwilliam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] clanwilliam
I was genuinely surprised that our mutual friend changed her name, but of course, that is her choice and I respect it.

It helped in my case that I'm the youngest of five sisters, none of whom changed their name on marriage either. The only person who gets away with ignoring my decision is my Dad, since he just does it to wind me up, remembers I still have his surname when it's legal stuff, and copes okay with being called out on it when he goes over the top.

Good luck, and I hope the paperwork isn't too awful.

Date: 2014-05-01 11:10 (UTC)
clanwilliam: (Default)
From: [personal profile] clanwilliam
Oh, I hope I didn't sound like I was thinking they were wrong. It was more my own personal experience of finding it weird that others did change their name, as my reaction is the opposite of societal norms in the UK.

Date: 2014-04-30 13:05 (UTC)
kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
From: [personal profile] kaberett
Congratulations.

Date: 2014-04-30 13:51 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] techiebabe
Congratulations!

When I changed my name it was to formally become more ME. I hope it feels that way to you too.

(Tony was one of my witnesses, Mike being the other.)

Date: 2014-04-30 14:31 (UTC)
kotturinn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kotturinn
That all makes a lot of sense. Let's hope it does to others too.................

Date: 2014-04-30 14:11 (UTC)
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
From: [personal profile] alexseanchai
\o/

Date: 2014-04-30 14:45 (UTC)
ceb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceb
Congratulations! This is a thing that should be celebrated.

Date: 2014-04-30 16:48 (UTC)
pretty_panther: (mi: boo on j)
From: [personal profile] pretty_panther
Congratulations.:D

Date: 2014-04-30 17:36 (UTC)
From: [personal profile] foxfinial
but the one who kept her name got so much "jokey" pushback

Still? Still? My mum married in 1980 and kept her name; her compromise with us, her children, was to give us her surname as our middle name (hence Alex Dally MacFarlane - Dally is mum's, MacFarlane is dad's). I remember people at school assuming letters to Mr MacFarlane and Ms Dally were to my dad and stepmum, but I thought - wrongly! - that people were less bizarre about this now. Then again, I look at women I know in their 30s and late 20s and most of them are changing their surnames. Having grown up with a woman keeping her surname as my family norm, I find resistant to it just... bizarre.

Congratulations on making a change that you're happier with.

Date: 2014-04-30 17:39 (UTC)
staranise: A star anise floating in a cup of mint tea (Default)
From: [personal profile] staranise
I'm glad you've found out which name will make you happier. :)

Date: 2014-04-30 18:27 (UTC)
khalinche: (Default)
From: [personal profile] khalinche
Good for you.

Date: 2014-04-30 18:45 (UTC)
beckyc: Me, wearing a gas mask (Default)
From: [personal profile] beckyc
In looking up some stats on name changes, I came across this delightful page:

https://www.gov.uk/changing-passport-information/going-back-to-your-maiden-name

This helpfully explains that if you want to revert to your maiden name (grr), one of the documents you will need to send is your decree absolute. Note that it doesn't say "going back to your maiden name upon divorce".

Later on the page, there is a link saying "is there anything wrong with this page?"

Why yes, now you mention it, I can think of one or two things!

Date: 2014-04-30 18:54 (UTC)
kalypso: (Aliases)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
It's a fascinating area, and I don't think there are right or wrong answers, but I'm glad you're doing what's right for you, and hope bureaucracy doesn't make the process too tiresome.

I always took it for granted that, if I ever married, I would not change my name (it's distinctive, it's easy to spell, and it's mine), so I was surprised after a major break-up to find my brain informing me that the other surname was part of my identity even though we'd never been married, and it had never crossed my mind that the name belonged to me while we were together.

I like the formula used on the plaque commemorating my grandfather's first wife - "Lucy Dowie, wife of Allan Monkhouse" - which I later realised was a Scottish practice (she came from a Scottish family). But I can see that it's cumbersome for everyday life, as is the double surname.

Did Tony ever consider adopting a double surname, by the way? I'm not suggesting he should, but recently I've been puzzling over why Victoria Coren's done it but David Mitchell hasn't. And I have friends who dropped both their original surnames and picked a new one which they liked. I like that sort of equality, though I still don't think I'd want to lose my own name, which is associated with so many people I'm proud of. So I think I would stay as I am, in the unlikely event of the issue ever arising again.

Date: 2014-04-30 21:44 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 1ngi.livejournal.com
You are made of awesomeness :)

Date: 2014-04-30 21:54 (UTC)
ewx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ewx
Hooray for fixing things!
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Rachel Coleman

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