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Section: manners, relationships

Dear Ann Landers,
Your advice to "A Split Opinion in the Midwest" left a lot to be desired. The woman who wrote wanted to keep her maiden name after marriage. Her husband, however, insisted that she take HIS name. You suggested she compromise by using her maiden name professionally and her husband's name socially. I compromised by hyphenating our names when we married. It's made my husband happy, but I feel a tinge of resentment every time I sign my name. Of course, it is too late to change back to my maiden name, because people will assume we are getting a divorce, so I am stuck with my hyphenated name. There are few things in life as personal as one's name. "Split's" fiance should not ask her to do something he would not be willing to do himself. After all, SHE is the one who has to live with her choice, not him. A fiance should make only those decisions regarding HIS name and give his future wife the same privilege. -- Mrs. Been There-Done That

Dear Mrs. BT-DT,
You are not the only one who thought my "compromise" was less than ideal. Here are some additional letters on the subject: From West Hartford, Conn.: Your "compromise" was a cop-out, Ann. Maintaining two names will not last, and "Split's" name will be the one that falls by the wayside. I not only kept my own name, but with my husband's encouragement, our two daughters also have my last name. I admit it can be confusing on occasion, but in 16 years, I have never regretted my decision. Kansas City, Kan.: I changed my name because I believed it was silly to hold out when my fiance and I loved each other so much. Ten years and one divorce later, I see it differently. His insistence on my name change was the first in a long list of things he did to control me. He told me how to wear my hair, what clothes to buy, what couples to spend time with, where to take our vacations, what time I was to wake up on the weekends, and how long I could talk on the phone to family members and friends. If her fiance threatens not to marry her if she doesn't change her name, she should run as fast as she can in the opposite direction. The man is a control freak. San Diego: In 1964, I was madly in love. When I told my fiance I wanted to keep my maiden name, he said, with tears in his eyes, "You don't love me." His mother said, "What if you have children? People will think they are illegitimate." Hyphenating Di Napoli-Poffenberger was ludicrous, so I caved in. I cannot describe the feelings I had about disappearing as an individual. I did not receive class-reunion invitations, and my friends could not find my name in the phone book. Twenty-five years later, I told my husband I was going back to my maiden name and that he should know I loved him by now. It was a pain in the neck to change everything, and some of our friends asked if we were splitting up, but it was worth the hassle. Please tell that bride who wrote to stick to her guns. Buffalo, N.Y.: I just read this in the Buffalo News. I hope you will print it. When a 29-year-old man took his wife's last name, he was accused of trying to ingratiate himself to his new father-in-law, a powerful attorney. The man said, "My maiden name was a big hassle. I had to get a court order, and my credit-card companies still don't believe me." Surprisingly, the easiest thing to change was his Social Security card. After all, to the government, he's only a number.

Tags: marriage

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Texi's Comment
Ms. Been There, Done That. If your maiden name means that much to you...stay single. Our, soon-to-be married granddaughter wanted to keep her maiden name and asked me about it. I told her if you love a man enough to follow the tradition of marriage and have his children, why wouldn't you take his name? She's now happy changing her name.

Reader Comment
Why the hell are all these stupid "spell castor" garbage testimonies on the Ann Landers advice column? They should be on their own Facebook page. This is pure crapola and should not be on this column. People-get real!

Mimi's Comment
I was 37 years old when I got married. I took my husband's name, and moved my maiden name into my middle name, but I never felt good about it. My identity is with my maiden name, personally and professionally. Nine months into our marriage, I got my name changed back. Neither of us has ever looked back. I am happy with my name, and he's happy with his. We just celebrated our 31st year together. You can be your true self, just listen to your heart.

Reader Comment
I have never understood the strong feelings some women have about retaining their maiden names. My husband and I consider one another and our children ONE FAMILY with ONE NAME. There is so much confusion, stress, and even anger about any other arrangement. Maybe women need to remember that by keeping their maiden name they are also keeping a MAN'S surname--their father's.

LZ's Comment
I will give one word. My daughter has been married 4, yes four times. She’s currently divorced. NOW, if she wants to be able to get on an airplane soon, she’s will have to produce her birth certificate, all her marriage certificates, all her divorce papers, and her revert to maiden name papers. I’ve only been married the once,but I had a name change before marriage, and that and my my marriage certificate was burned in a house fire. I know it’s not a biggie to get a replacement marriage, but the name change was so long ago, I can’t even remember where it WAS, but still. The men? No problem. They walk in with their BC and that’s it.
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, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them."
-Ann Landers