Wednesday, February 01, 2006

To Change or not to Change...that is the question

I always assumed that when I got married, boom, I would change my name, no questions asked. Well, that's not entirely true.

I guess I've always sorta thought of the "trading up" theory: if I was marrying someone who had a "better" last name than mine (Goldstein), than of course, I would trade up. There is nothing at all wrong with my last name--its suited me fine my whole life. *But* it's not necessarily sitting pretty in the category of "desirable" last names like Vanderbilt or Berg. Why those names are desirable to me, I have no clue (well, except for Vanderbilt because, of course, that would mean that I would be really rich, and out shopping right now instead of blogging for you guys, but now I digress...) Anyway, my point is that I always thought it would be super easy to ditch Goldstein and move on to the greener pastures of whatever my new last name would be.

Now that the situation is real, I must admit I'm feeling a little ambivalence, and dare I say, sadness about ditching my name. I never expected to feel this way and, at first, wasn't quite so sure what to do about it.

On one hand, I'm totally excited to take on my new last name (Reitman), and on the other, I feel like if I ditch Goldstein, I'm taking this major part of my identity...a big piece of who I am and burying it in the back yard.

I don't want to hyphenate. Apologies to all of those out there with hyphenated names...I fully support your right to do so, but quite frankly I'm too lazy. I don't want to be constantly correcting people, dealing ith misspellings and doling out explanations.

Our fabulously progressive friends Alistair and Cara both took on an entirely new name when they got married, so both of them ditched their former last names. This is also a pretty cool solution if you are willing to take the leap.

After much thought, I think the solution I've reached is this: I'll ditch Beth (which is pretty much a standard issue middle name for many Jewish girls of my age) and replace it with Goldstein. No hyphen--it will just be my new middle name. So, I'll trade Erica Beth Goldstein, for Erica Goldstein Reitman. I think this will work for me.

For those of you out there who are also struggling with this, here is an interesting roundup from metafilter that discusses all of the ins and outs of the issue. also has an interesting discussion on this.

Finally, answers some basic questions and offers some advice about name changing after marriage.

Make sure to check the laws in your own state on this topic for more specifics about what you do (and don't) need to do about this.


Blogger APlanet4Creation said...

I always thought that I would keep my maiden name. I had a couple of things change my mind. One, if you have kids they will have the father's last name. Two, I worked with a lady who kept her maiden name but then after 10 years finally changed it to her husband's. Why? Because of her kids. The school would call for her at work looking for Mrs. Mackie instead of Ms. Jenson. It was very confusing changing after 10 years. There are alot to think about when whether or not to take on your husband's name.

10:56 AM  

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