Hi, My Name Is . . .

Me, on my Wedding Day
I had no clue of the name drama that lie ahead for me!
Photo by the great Timothy Glenn Photography

My full name is Kathleen Ann Undecided.

Married women, I pop champagne & throw confetti for you!  Yes, you.  Whether you kept your maiden name, hyphenated your maiden name with your husband's name or took your husband's name, I whole-heartedly support & applaud your decision.  The simple, sad truth is that I can't make a decision.  

I have seen family & friends take different paths when it came to changing their names, such as my sister who has kept her maiden name & my best friend who took her husband's name.  Both are in happy, healthy, loving relationships.  Clearly, the decision to change or not change my name has no impact on my marriage.  It's a matter of following my heart & doing what's right for me.  Throughout our happy engagement, I had no doubt in my mind that I would follow tradition & become Mrs. Husband's Last Name.    

We got married last January, officially becoming husband & wife.  I changed my name on Facebook.  I proudly wore my Mrs. Husband's Last Name hoodie during our Hawaiian honeymoon.  I printed business cards with my married name.  And the name game stopped there.  What had seemed like the best decision for me now filled my mind & heart with doubt. 

I still want to take my husband's last name.  We are a team, we are partners & our shared last name is an important way for us to reflect that.  Agreed.  Hyphenation is not in the cards for me, just a personal preference.  Agreed.  Here's where it gets hard.  

The way I see it, I have two options: drop my maiden name & take my husband's last name or drop my middle name, make my maiden name as my middle name & take my husband's last name.  Both my middle & maiden names mean the world to me.  Ann is my middle name & I was named after my Mom who has the middle name Ann too.  I don't want to drop it.  Sullivan is my maiden name & it's my Dad's last name (obviously).  My Dad died when I was 13 years-old & my maiden name is a connection to him.  I don't want to drop it.  I have done nothing to change my name in the past (almost) year but that doesn't feel right either.

About two weeks ago, I mustered all the courage I possibly could & filled out the HitchSwitch paperwork to begin the process of changing my name.  I decided to go with my first instinct & follow the traditional path of dropping my maiden name & taking my husband's name.  As kind, understanding friends & family reminded me, I would always be a Sullivan & my last name has nothing to do with a connection to my Dad.  I felt so brave & confident.

And then I cried & cried.  The easy, detailed HitchSwitch paperwork arrived days later & I cried & cried some more.  Epic meltdown. 

Hello, my name is Kathleen Ann Undecided.

Do you plan to or did you change your name?  Any advice for an undecided married girl like me?  


  1. I'm so sorry this has been such a hard process. I admire how you are honoring your family through names. I didn't know about your dad and I see now how that can make this more difficult. This might not help now, but if you plan to have kids, you can always name them after your mom or dad. Also, who says you can't have two middle names??? You can drop your middle name legally, but it will always be your middle name, right?

  2. For my first marriage, I took my husband's last name, and took my maiden name back in the divorce. Following that, I re-examined my reasons for changing my name in the first place. I felt that I had done it to conform to expectations without considering what was best FOR ME. My name is part of my identity, and it was important to me to represent that. My legal name is still my maiden name, 4 years into my second marriage.

    As someone who's done both, I recommend finding whatever method works for you, and taking your time to find it. As I know you're aware, you don't have to change your name right now, you can wait a few years. Figure out how you want your name to express your personal identity and then do what you need to do.

    Personally, I'm a big fan of using all of the names, as Libby suggested: Kathleen Ann Sullivan HisLastName. You could even change the order: Kathleen Ann HisLastName Sullivan. Play with all of the options (I mean ALL, including both of you taking both names or creating a brand new last name) and find out what works. Good Luck!!

  3. I kept with tradition and took my hubby's last name. Sorry you're struggling. I'm sure it's hard not feel like you're losing a part of your identity.

  4. I'm sorry you are struggling so much with this. My only words of advice are...if you are planning to have kids - please change your name! Keeping your maiden name might make things easier for you, but your kids friends, their parents, teachers, etc. will all struggle. You will get a lot of "Hi Mrs. uhhhh" followed by awkward silence and uncomfortable looks. Additionally, I think kids feel a stronger sense of security & belonging with having a "family name" - but it may just be my old-fashioned views. All in all - whatever you choose will be the right thing for you.

  5. I'm so sorry. I thought I was having trouble changing my name, but my only baggage was the hassle involved, no family drama.

    There's nothing wrong with having four names!

    On the other hand, maybe there is a way you can incorporate Ann OR Sullivan into your life other than as your name. I grew up with a beautiful wood sign hanging in our kitchen that had my maiden name carved into it. Wall art, or jewelry (maybe a ring with the name stamped or engraved in it?) could be a way of honoring that part of your family even if you drop the name in question from you Social Security card. Ya know?

  6. There is no rule on having 2 middle names & who would really know? It's not often you write out your full name any more. And think of it this way: when you have kids & they ask why you have 2 middle names you can tell them how special those names are to you and how you couldn't bring yourself to dropping one of them.
    At the end of the day, choose what feels right for you. Whichever name(s) you choose, your family - & most importantly your husband- love you!

  7. Our story is a little backwards, but the bottom line is that I won't be changing my name. I'm happy to be Mrs Husband to our future children, but at the end of the day, my name isn't maiden or otherwise-it's mine. Don't worry if it takes you some time to decide what feels right, and don't feel pressure to make this decision quickly-you'll only make it once.

  8. I hope you can make a decision soon. Does your husband have any thoughts on it? I know from my own family that the women keep their maiden names. I don't really know why but that's how I grew up so I think most likely I would keep mine if that time should ever come when I have to decide.


  9. Thanks for your kind, thoughtful comments! I have SO much to think about. Hopefully I will soon have a follow up post with the good news of my final decision :-)

  10. Whatever you decide to do, you can count on the help of www.hitchswitch.com through every step :)


Hi, Lovely! Your kind comments are most welcome & always appreciated. XOXO

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