I took my husband's last name when we got married, but can I take my maiden name back?
The families I grew up around followed the traditional practice of the woman taking the man's last name, and those women seemed happy to do so. I never suspected that I wouldn't follow suit.
Before you start casting stones and raving about how I've betrayed my husband, you should know that he doesn't care what my last name is. In fact, for years he offered to take my last name. We talked about it again recently, though no decisions about changing last names have been made.
At the beginning of our relationship, we had 3,000 miles between us. As inconvenient as it was, our communication thrived because of it. Because we took a total leap of faith to start a relationship that way, we talked about what relationships meant to us and what we wanted ours to be. Relationships look different for every couple, because each couple builds their love in whatever way fits them best. Although it seems like such a minor detail, we agreed that I should keep my last name if that was what I wanted. I love my maiden name, I am incredibly close with my family, and I don't think keeping my maiden name means I love or respect him any less.
Despite all our discussions, I took his name. We planned our wedding with little time, and in that time, I wondered: Am I doing it just to be different? Will this complicate things later? Will people hound me with questions about it? Did he really mean it when he said he'd take my last name? We were juggling so many things at the time, so we never had the final talk about it.
I think marriage is about a mutual commitment, learning together, and having independent lives that run parallel and bring out the best in each other. Having the same last name isn't a requirement for marital "success." Women keep their last names for sentimental, professional, and feminist reasons. Or as seems to be the case for Gaby at This Little Port, it was normal for her family.
But sometimes I forget that many men don't feel as relaxed about the issue as my husband or THESE seven male celebrities. At the end of the day, the "right" choice is whatever works for you and your love. Although my opinion can't be swayed, I'm curious to know what you guys think.
Which camp do you fall under?
Opposed? Agreed? Apathetic?
For yourself or for all women?
P.S. If I wanted to pull the Feminist card, I would rant about the fact that it is more difficult and more expensive ($400!) for men to change their names, but I'm not going to do that today. :)
**UPDATE: Based on a few comments I've received, I'm not sure that it was clear that in our recent discussions, I decided that I would only take my maiden name back if he also took my last name. We would still have the same last name. (I'm not sure if that makes a difference or if it makes it less complicated for others.)