Following the marriage proposal, brides-to-be are inevitably asked this polarizing question: Are you changing your name?
For some, the answer is an easy "yes." For those who are on the fence however -- or those who simply want to keep the name they were born with for personal or professional reasons -- it's a bit more complicated.
A Reddit thread emerged recently asking women who kept their maiden names to elaborate on their experiences. This is what they had to say:
1. You might be called a "feminist bitch."
"My husband took my last name. His father was totally okay with it ... His mom, however, pitched a fit and almost didn't come to our wedding. She called me a 'feminist bitch,' even though it was her son's idea and had nothing to do with gender issues and was really angry about it ... after six years of marriage, she sends letters and cards only to his first name, and won't write our last name for him."
2. Some people might freak out...
"People are generally okay with me keeping my name, but when we would tell people we were considering him changing his they freaked out. I had several men tell me I was taking away his dignity and making him my woman. It's ridiculous how tiny, stupid traditions can really pinpoint the sexist nature of our society."
3. But others will surprise you.
"Strangely, even in my small town that is very traditional and not the most open-minded, people were generally understanding."
5. Owning your decision is the best course of action.
"I'm Hispanic and have 5 names, so IDGAF about more names, but quite enjoy mine and want one name throughout academia, so people kind of let it be. Some thought it was weird, others didn't care, but at the end of the day, it's my name and it's staying that way."
6. Some things, like traveling, become more difficult.
"Not having the same name is a bit difficult when traveling sometimes. We have bought plane tickets together, selected our seats next to each other, and then arrive at the airport to see that one of us was moved ... Crossing borders and coming back into the country gets double-takes ... there's almost always a question or a statement of 'oh, you have different last names.' I've pondered making a shrunk-down copy of our marriage license and laminating it for situations like that."
7. And your parents may get confused.
"My parents never quite figured out what to call me. They would address cards to us as his full name & my first name, like Mickey Mouse & Minnie. This is despite the fact that my name never changed, and they could just address the letter to the name they gave me at birth."
7. Not everyone will agree with your choice...
"Online is the worst. I once got ranted against for hating traditional men (I don't). People in real life actually told me I was a bad mom for not having one family name. That hurt a lot."
8. But don't feel pressured to change your mind.
"A lot of people told me something along the lines of, 'But you have to!' I asked why every time. Every time they said, 'That's just how it's done.' I told everyone that wasn't a good enough reason for me."
9. If your partner loves you, he'll be happy with your decision.
"I told my boyfriend that if we ever got married I would not change my name. His response: 'Ok, doesn't matter to me, I don't want to change my name either'. That was that."
10. Some family members won't know how to react.
"I'm not sure our families have quite figured out how to address cards to us, but other than that there's been no response or comments on it."
11. Politely correcting people will become second nature.
"Sometimes people make the mistake of assuming we have the same last name, but we either just let them assume what they want or politely correct them and so far nobody has freaked out or anything."
12. Just ignore the ridiculous questions you may be asked.
"My husband didn't really care one way or the other. I actually appreciated his indifference. He rightly saw that my name was mine and what I did with it was my decision. Our family, on the other hand, had some issues ... Some of his relatives actually asked if it was legal for me to keep my maiden name."
13. It may be awkward at times...
"General response... is 'oh,' a cough, and then a bit of awkward silence. So I go back to whatever I was doing and it passes."
14. But some people will really respect you for it.
"I kept my last name and most females my age that I talked to about it were surprised. It was almost always immediately followed by, 'That's so awesome--I changed my name, and I like it, but I think it's really cool that you kept yours.' I never got a snooty response."