What’s in the name (Surname)?

It has been exactly 90 days we have been married. 🙂

The day I announce my wedding at work, one of my colleague asked me “So you will change your surname, what’s it gonna be?” The question caught me off guard as I haven’t thought about it at all. Taking your husband’s name is the traditional option (especially in Nepal) but we never discuss it. I am sure both our family expect me to take it but I was in no rush. I have seen my friends change their surname in Facebook the day they got married (I am not sure if they have done legally too) or have used both surnames but I have always thought it can wait few years. Many women will say that their husbands/in-laws  wanted them to change their surname. So they did.

I am not against changing surname if you want to as I also want to do it before we have kids. I am planning to be MJS, mine surname followed by his.  My friend AS is the reason, I will defiantly do it before we have baby as I don’t want to go through the same path as hers.

AS decided not to change her surname when she married CJ (Nepali guy). When they have a baby girl, her mother in law came to visit her in hospital. While she was holding her new grand-daughter, she was shocked to see the tag called her, Baby S instead of Baby J. She made sure AS knows, she didn’t approve of that. But in the birth certificate, hospital wrote baby S as per mother’s surname as well. Because it was in birth certificate, they thought it will be easy to use the same surname in other official documents as well .Now the baby and mum have same surname and dad has different. It created lots of confusion in all the legal documents and I don’t want to go through that.

Back to my situation, I am planning to keep my surname until I can as I want to avoid the hassle of alerting everyone and going through all the paper work right now. Its not  easy to change the name on everything from your driver’s licence to your library card. I know I have to do it one day but mentally I am not ready right now. The most annoying change will be for my passport. I love my passport as it has so many stamps and visas I collected travelling over the years. It is like a story to me and has high sentimental value. Once I change my passport, I will lose all my memory.

All this question is coming right now because my in-laws made official document in Nepal(Relationship certificate) and they send us a copy in case we need it. In that document, they have my name as MS not MJ. My in-laws have never asked me to change it but I think they didn’t as by default in their mind, I am MS not MJ but I want to be MJS in future not MS. 

When I talk to AS about it, he thinks it is normal of his parents to think I am MS now as that in what happens in Nepal. I haven’t changed my Facebook name either (I know it is easy but …) I want to do it in my own pace and I hate it if anyone forces me to do it. He knows what I am planning and he is ok with that but of course he can’t control what his parents think.

Just want to put it out there” Am I allowed to wait until I am ready to change the surname or it is expected to change straight after marriage, especially in Nepali culture?”

9 responses to “What’s in the name (Surname)?

  1. Hey M, first of all, I must say I have been hooked to your blog since last few days. I am going back in time and reading all the past posts as well. I love the way you write and describe things.
    Coming back to the topic of changing names, I must say even after 5 years of marriage, neither my in laws nor my husband have ever asked or even suggested me to change my last name. I feel the same way like you do that I need my time and space to eventually change my last name. I used to feel that this has been my identity for all my life so why change it suddenly now that I’m married but however, I am quite open and positive about the idea now though but I still don’t know when will I really go ahead and DO IT!! haha 🙂

  2. I haven’t changed my surname after marriage and I feel its very unfair if your in laws or husband is asking you to do so. I have written a similar post. When my daughter was born s hospital they used my surname, and none had any problem, well I carried her 9months and gave birth with labor lasting 24hrs, so I wouldn’t mind giving her my surname. While filling the birth certificate My husband and I decided to use his surname. And now I share my surname, hubby and daughter share his. I am just wondering after all its our name and identity. Why should only a gal change her name? If at all everyone in family wants why can’t they come to one common surname and bth husband and wife change. Well our traditions are complicated but I feel its biased where more focus is given to guy over a girl.

  3. I agree with americanepali about the hyphen, it used to get difficult sending money to Ethiopia as they have instead of surnames as follows: a first name, then their father’s first name, then their grandfather’s first name. But I used to hyphenate the two ‘surnames’ (i.e. the father’s name and the grandfather’s name) as it seemed to get confusing. Now they set out the form for all countries with first name, surname and second surname or something – so maybe it’s a common convention in parts of the world?

    @ americanepali – interesting points, yes it is as if with film stars that they have a ‘career’ and have to keep their separate identity because of that, as if their marriage is secondary. also, a medic friend tells me (well she’s not a doctor her sister is and the other sister is a dentist, but she might be wrong in this) that you absorb more from the mother. So the TRUE BIOLOGICAL LINE is actually matriarchal. Therefore men feel threatened plus the children usually more connected to the mother. Perfect example of a rejection of the truth!

  4. I went with the just adding his name at the end but no hyphen. We have been married a while and i am still in the process of changing everything over officially but in Australia if you are married you don’t actually have to register your name change you can just show your marriage certificate.

  5. I think you have given me a very good idea. Thanks. Instead of MJS which I know is very confusing I can be MJ-S but I am not so sure if our kids will be called J-S. I am sure with my in-laws that will be ridiculous but still I will talk to AS one day and see the possibility.

    “I really wanted my husband to also take my name, so we as a family unit would all have the same name, but I think he was afraid of what people would think and didn’t do it”. I wish it is possible in my case too so our life would be so simple and easy but may be for the same reason as yours it is never going to happen and I have to accept that.
    I always think I will loose myself being called MS or even MJS but I guess this is one of things we , women, have to compromise especially married to South Asian man or any man.

  6. I did something similar. I was “C C” and after marriage decided to be “C C-P” and decided on the hyphen to help with confusion (my first job in high school was organizing patient records at a doctor’s office, and my second was working in a book store– both required alphabetizing names a lot, and if a person had three names but no hyphen it was often confusing whether or not to file them under the middle/1st last name of the last/2nd last name.

    I always felt it was unfair that a woman had to change her name while a man did not, and decided very young I was keeping my name. But I also used to feel annoyed that movie stars and other famous people didn’t have a married name either, like they didn’t want people to know who they were married to. I felt the only solution was to keep both names and hyphenate, and when/if I have children I am determined that they will also have both names. I really wanted my husband to also take my name, so we as a family unit would all have the same name, but I think he was afraid of what people would think and didn’t do it.

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