Dear MISSter Simms,
I have been dating my boyfriend for two years and recently we’ve been talking about getting married. The problem is it’s super important for him that I take his last name. His reasoning is that taking his last name will make us feel more like a family and show my devotion to him. Not taking his name wouldn’t cause him to think twice about marrying me, he says, but it would really hurt his feelings. Now, before meeting my boyfriend I had zero intention of changing my last name when I got married for various reasons, one being that I have a very strong connection with my father’s family. I feel like changing my last name will damage that connection. However, I really love my boyfriend and don’t want to do anything that would hurt him. Is there any way to make both of us happy?
Now as a dude, I can relate to your boyfriend. I too want my future wife to take my last name. Why? Uh…because that’s the way it’s been for bazillions of years. But is that a particularly good reason to want my girl to take my last name? No, and neither are the reasons your boyfriend is spouting out. If he thinks having the same last name will make you guys feel more like a family, then maybe he’d consider taking YOUR last name. And if he’s worried about you not being devoted enough to him, you might want to explain how shelling out tens of thousands of dollars for a ceremony, signing a legally binding contract with him, giving up your privacy and independence, and possibly bearing his children are all much stronger signs of devotion than changing your last name.
Clearly you don’t want to change your name, and you shouldn’t have to. Caving in and taking his last name is not the way to go because it’ll set up expectations later on down the road that you may live to regret. Instead you could somehow convince him to take your last name; or you could compromise and add his last name to yours, which a) allows you to keep your last name b) might make him happy since you’d also have his last name and c) will make you sound like some upper crust debutante; or you could just keep your own name, especially if you feel like it’s something you can’t live without.
Need relationship advice? Send your questions to ronsimmsjr at gmail dot com and you might be featured on the next installment of Ask MISSter Simms.
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