The Name Game

Once upon a time I was in a long term relationship (five years) with a guy who had a terrible last name. I’m not that traditional, so I just always assumed that when we got married, I’d keep my name.

But we didn’t.

Then I met B. Who does not have a terrible last name. His last name is pleasant, somewhat ethnic, and common enough that you’ve heard it but without falling into the Smith/Jones/Miller category.

And he proposed.


I’d lived with my decision to keep my name my for years. I had two degrees with my name, a slew of school mate “colleagues” that knew me by that name… it is MY name. But…………. B wanted me to change it. To take his, because we were going to be a family. Crap. Again.

For the sake of anonymity lets pretend that my name is Jane Lyndsey Smith, and B is John Doe (creative, right?). Smith-Doe sounds kind of stupid together… and I really don’t want to inflict that on our future children.

So I thought that I would just add Doe to my name without hyphenating. My last name would be Smith Doe, full name Jane Lyndsey Smith Doe.. a mouth-full but socially I could be Jane Doe and for work I could be Jane Smith Doe and all would be well.

But its just so LONG. And unweildly… do government forms even have enough spaces? Then I thought maybe I should make Smith a second middle name rather than part of my last name…. but that really doesn’t help the length issue any more than the fact that many forms would only require middle initials.

I’ve also considered dropping the Lyndsey and substituting Smith as my new (only) middle name. Its a popular option, but I really like Lyndsey (enough to use it to blog). Plus, I’ve started a small company that runs by the name of Jane Lyndsey… ahhh that complications!

Which brings us to the traditional option… drop the Smith and go straight up Jane Lyndsey Doe. I actually like how it sounds, and I’ve really come around to the idea of being “Jane Doe.” I’m just sad to give up my last name.


to be continued… some day… when I make a decision… maybe…


4 thoughts on “The Name Game

  1. Or… just don’t change it. Changing it just because B wants you to, is, frankly a terrible reason, considering you’re the one who will have to change all that paperwork! I only have my 1 degree and I didn’t change mine- it didn’t feel right or natural, and I didn’t want to do the paperwork. Kids have different last names from their parents all the time- in face, my cousins who are sisters have different names, one took the mom’s name and the other took the dad’s name. Or you could just hyphenate the kids names. But definitely don’t change your name if you don’t want to!

  2. Yea I guess I didn’t really explain myself too well. At first B was very big on wanting me to take his name but after I pushed back he actually said that whatever I wanted was fine. Still, the fact that it is important to him (and probably especially the fact that he’s okay with whatever decision I make) really encourage me to change it. I do like the idea of taking his name… becoming a cohesive family unit in that way. It feels more permanent, more committed, and scarier (but in a good leap-of-faith kind of way). The real problem is that I genuinely want all four names… I just don’t want to have four names! haha

  3. Personally, I preferred The Hubs’ last name over mine, so I had no problem switching. And, I didn’t run into ridiculous amounts of paperwork either – it was actually WAY easier to change my name than I had anticipated it being. I have to say, not changing your name because it would require “too much paperwork” as the other commenter suggested, is (in my humble opinion) as bad of a reason as changing it solely because B wants you to.

    It’s a big decision and I’m sure I was completely unhelpful, lol. For what it’s worth, I’m a fan of the Smith as a second middle name option. That way, you still legally have all the names in there, but for forms and such, you become Jane L.S. Doe.

    Good luck making a decision! I have a feeling you’ll be Jane Lyndsey Smith for a while… šŸ™‚

  4. I think you should keep it as Lyndsey Jane Smith Doe, or Lyndsey Smith Doe. Ultimately of course it’s your decision. But normally when children have different last names from their parents people assume that both or one of the other adult is not their parent. You should embrace it! You’ll always have your maiden name, and your friends will always know you as that. šŸ™‚

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