My Fiancé Is Upset I Won’t Take His Name

Ask Demetria: Although adopting a husband's name is tradition, his demand may point to a bigger issue.

Generic image (Thinkstock)
Generic image (Thinkstock)

Right or wrong or even ridiculous or old-fashioned, this is a common point of view among some men, and although you don’t quite get it or agree with it, you still have to deal with the outlook, since it’s causing strife with your fiancé. Dismissing his perspective isn’t solving the issue. In fact, brushing off his feelings may be exacerbating the problem.

We know why he wants you to take his name, and if you want him to consider backing down again, you’re going to need to come up with a better reason than “Everyone else is doing it, so I should, too.” Make it logical. What are the “professional reasons” you mention for keeping your name, and how will your bottom line be affected if you take on his name?

For instance, in some capacity, I’ve been a writer for the last 13 years. I’m known and paid for my byline. At this point in my career, to suddenly replace my surname with my fiancé’s would be professional and financial suicide. If you’re in a similar situation where you have made significant career strides under your current name, explain that to your fiancé. That argument will go a lot further than your current one.

Lastly, consider the compromises available. You don’t have to delete your last name. You can always hyphenate your current surname with his. You can also use your first and middle name, take on his surname and use all three names so that anyone who encounters you won’t be confused by who you are, and your husband gets the validation that he’s seeking. This is the compromise that my fiancé and I have made.

Finally, while you’re discussing compromises on this issue — a great start to your marriage, because by and large this is what marriage is: compromise — you need to talk to your fiancé about where this sudden adamant stance has come from. If you’ve insisted on keeping your name for the last five years and it was never a problem, something has occurred recently to make it an issue for him. Maybe he’s always thought you were joking and would come around. Maybe he’s feeling a little insecure about his role with you and wants to assert some dominance. Or maybe there’s something bigger at play.

Whatever’s going on, you can’t brush it off because you don’t get it or don’t want to. That won’t bode well for you keeping your name or for your pending marriage.

Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at 

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