Losing My Last Name With Marriage, Do I Lose My Identity?

Am I supposed to just leave my identity all behind because I got married? Am I really expected to drop my last name, pick up his, and go on with my life?

What about this identity I have built for myself? What about my family history? What about the legacy of my last name, especially if there are no more men in the family to keep our last name “alive”?

Am I the only one that fears losing my identity for the love of my life?

Since I got engaged, I was set on the choice of not changing my last name and for a few good reasons, if I may say. For one, I am a business owner and entrepreneur; I’ve been known in business as Susan Vernicek since 2006, when I took the plunge with my career. I do know many colleagues who have kept their maiden names for business and I also see many with hyphened last names. That is definitely not a solution in my case because the two names together would be ridiculously long.

The second reason is that my last name plays a huge role in my identity, and I’m extremely attached to it because of the history behind the name. Being the youngest of seven with many amazing layers in our family, we have faced so many obstacles, and for the most part, came out on top. I am always proud to state my last name because it means so much to me. To me, my family name stands for: strength, character, uniqueness, and survival. How can I let that go?

Many would think this is a simple, traditional change, but I had a late in the game Oprah “Ah-Ha” moment. I’ve realized that this new stage in my life isn’t change; it’s simply growth. It’s growth in my identity and growth for my future family history. I want to fully embrace my husband, his family last name, and our future together. The fun part is that I can tell you exactly when I knew I wanted to make this change.

While we were on our honeymoon, I hadn’t changed my last name yet because I was still thinking it through (or being stubborn). About two days into the honeymoon after having receptionists at the hotel check-ins asking if my last name was the same as my husbands, I realized I really disliked saying no and telling them a different last name. I felt disconnected to my husband, and I felt very uncomfortable. It was a really uneasy feeling and that’s when I knew I had my answer. I knew what had to be done as soon as we returned.

When I finally told my husband my decision and why, I felt even better with my choice when I saw his eyes light up. We had different feelings on this matter, but he has respect for my thoughts and gave me the time I needed to process this life-changing decision.

The lesson here is, if we are open to seeing our daily life changes as growth, I believe we will have less fear and stress in the decision-making process. I was really closed-minded for a while and set on not changing my last name. I slowly let my guard down and saw the growth and the bond my future held with my husband.

Think back of when you have you been closed off to change? I encourage each of you to embrace the change and see it as an opportunity for growth.

2 thoughts on “Losing My Last Name With Marriage, Do I Lose My Identity?

  1. I, along with any other married woman, can totally relate with this post. I have been married for a year and a half now and haven’t changed my name. I feared I might lose a piece of my identity as I am strongly identified by my last name.
    I will admit though, at times it can be a hassle having different last names and there are times when I wonder if I should change it.
    Thanks for sharing your journey into your decision to make that big move and change your last name!

  2. Yes! I am also so known by my last name which makes it difficult, but the awful feeling on our honeymoon of not being “one” yet hit me. Thank you for reading the article and sharing your thoughts! Congrats on a year and a half marriage!! Any marriage tips? :

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