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My Married Life: Confession: I Dragged My Feet Over Changing My Name After Marriage

I think it was during the second phone call, or maybe it was the first. I do know that it was the morning after Jack had popped the question. We'd just ventured out of the little cabin in the middle of nowhere where we'd been holed up and were driving into the nearest town. Suddenly I had cell phone reception. "Oh my God," I thought. "I have to call everyone I know immediately!" I think I rang my best friend first but the details are blurry. Jack was driving and being really sweet and patient about the squealing coming from the passenger seat.

He could only hear my side of the conversation, but it was enough for him to get the gist. At one point I must have said, "Hmm...I don't know," which is when Jack suddenly perked up and (loudly) said, "Yes." I was surprised. How had he known that my friend had just asked if I planned to change my name? My immediate thought was that if it was important to him (and it must have been because he rarely spoke up about such things), then of course I'd do it.

The name change debate had never seemed like a big deal to me. Though I understand where some of my feminist friends are coming from -- I never equated changing my name with any a loss of self, or even a mildly-diminished self. That is...until it was time to do it. Then, suddenly it was a slightly bigger deal. At first, I thought my reluctance was all about the hassles involved (social security, driver's license, credit cards, credit reporting agencies...aye, aye, aye). But as one year turned into two, and I still hadn't made the switch, I started to suspect that deeper feelings might be pulling the strings.

Bottom line: I'd had my name for a really, really long time. I was no wide-eyed 19-year-old nervous about her wedding night. I was a woman who had already made a name (not a big name, but a name nonetheless) for herself professionally. In short -- the idea of being called something new seemed weird and uncomfortable. Ultimately, I did change my name. But I still don't go by my married name socially. I introduce myself by my maiden name, I write under my maiden name, and I sign checks with...well, honestly my signature is illegible but you get the point.

Next up -- Jack will tell his side of the story, including why he wanted me to do it and whether or not it bugs him that I ended up going through with it in a weird, half-assed way.

But first, tell me about your name change experience (or give me a piece of your mind over the way I handled mine).

-- Holly

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