Name Game

2 Apr

Letterbalm What's In a NameDear LetterBalm: My fiancé is obsessed with my changing my name to his when we marry. In a conversation last month, I told him I didn’t want to do it. I’ve worked hard in my profession; my name is important to me. We had some words, and he’s been bringing it up ever since. I said I’d be willing to compromise and hyphenate my last name with his (our kids will have his name). He wasn’t happy with this at all – he says my taking his name means I am truly in the marriage. I’m worried because this is a pretty basic disagreement. How can we resolve this?

–Was Shakespeare Right?

You’re correct that the quarrel between you and your fiancé is worrisome. Ms. L.B. fears that it portends more serious problems in your relationship, and it has to be addressed before you walk down the aisle. Talk calmly to your beloved alone – don’t hash things over with family and friends – and see if this moves him:

Jason, you and I seem to have come to an impasse about our last names after we get married. You’re saying that if I don’t give up my name and take yours exclusively – even after I offered to hyphenate my last name – I’m not truly involved in our marriage. This is, frankly, hurtful to me because you know how hard I’ve worked in my profession and how important my name is to me. This issue is causing stress for both of us; I’m concerned that it may be a symptom of bigger problems, including our reluctance to compromise on other issues. We need an impartial expert. I propose we go to couples counseling to work this out and learn to compromise so it won’t be a continuing stumbling block in our marriage.

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