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Yes or No: Change Your Name After Marriage?

Yes or No: Change Your Name After Marriage?

Of all the things that I've gotten used to being a married person, the one thing I am still NOT yet used to is my new last name. "Morgan Gaskin" has a real ring to it, but mostly because I had decades for it to sink in.  "Morgan Thomas" is growing on me (and it really does sound like a soap opera character's name).   Don't get me wrong, I really like my husband's surname, it just doesn't roll off my tongue with ease.

I got married in my 30s, so my name was very much a part of my personal and professional identity.  Naturally, I asked myself the "do" or "don't" question with some regularity.  What most concerned me about changing my last name was whether my professional identity would be somehow affected. I also thought about the fact that my father doesn't have sons, so would that mean that the "Gaskin" name would die out?  And of course for vanity sake, there is the concern that people would say, "Morgan Thomas?  Who the hell is that?"  To some it may seem like a ridiculous thing to even think about, but trust me, there are plenty of people out there contributing to this great debate about whether to change your last name after marriage.  

So what do you do?  Hyphenate?  Abandon the middle name? Keep the last name professionally?  Create a new last name together like this couple?  I ultimately decided to change my last name and keep my maiden name as my middle name.  I did this for a few reasons - first, it made my husband happy.  We didn't have to have the sometimes-awkward conversation about why I wanted to retain this level of independence.  I just made the switch and it wasn't a thing.   Now for purposes of our stationery and Christmas cards, we're "The Thomases".  Second, something felt right about allowing the "newness" of marriage to trickle down to everything including my professional identity.  Maybe Morgan Thomas would be as much of a bad-ass as Morgan Gaskin (she definitely is for the record...).  As luck would have it, I changed jobs within one year of getting married, so I went into it with a fresh start and a fresh new name. I'm now known professionally as Morgan Thomas which is definitely a change for me, but I know I made the right choice.

In certain circles I still use my maiden name.  Like last week I called my parents' exterminator to deal with an immediate problem and knew that if I wanted him to come out in a hurry, I needed to remind him whose child I am.  So you see - in some instances, familiarity has its perks!  There are a lot of opinions floating around about the patriarchal and sexist undertones of having women change their last names.  I respect the arguments, but for me it's honestly just not that deep.  

What are your thoughts?  Did you or will you take your partner's name after marriage?  What do you think about men changing their names?  Read here for more on this novel concept, and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: The Thomases (this is how we normally look on any given day...complete with my duck lips...)

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