Relationships ending is generally a total mess. Throw in marriage paperwork and some kids, and it’s bound to be the ultimate doozy.
But even if the marriage were to end on relatively amicable terms, there are bound to be some complications, no matter how small.
One woman found herself caught in the middle of her parents’ divorce on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Oromuerto made a difficult decision regarding her relationship with her parents, and she worried how her mother would take it.
So much so, the Original Poster (OP) reached out to the subReddit for their thoughts.
She asked the sub:
“WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole) if I don’t change my name with my mom when my parents divorce?”
The OP knew her stepdad for as long as she can remember.
“When I ([Female] 27) was born, I had my mom’s maiden name as my mom and bio father weren’t married.”
“Biofather left, and my mom met my step-dad when I was 3. They married when I was 6 and my mom took his last name. When I was 8, my step-dad adopted me and I took his last name as well.”
“So I had my mom’s maiden name until 8 and my stepdad’s last name ever since.”
“Most days I forget my step-dad isn’t my biological dad. Even calling him my step-dad on here for clarity’s sake sounds weird. To me, he’s just my ‘dad’. The only one I’ve ever known.”
“My mom and step-dad had my younger sister when I was 9, so she’s always had my stepdad’s last name.”
But with the OP’s parents getting a divorce, she wasn’t sure what to do about her name.
“After 21 years of marriage, my mom and step-dad are divorcing on ok terms. Not great, but not explosive either, more of a falling out of love but still wanting the best for each other type thing.”
“My mom will change back to her maiden name, and I know that she’ll be hurt if I don’t follow suit.”
“While I know that legally I can do whatever, I know that I really only have ‘access’ to that last name because of her marriage to him, and he wouldn’t have adopted me if they hadn’t gotten married.”
“I also do historically have a different last name to return to, unlike my sister who has had his name all her life.”
“I plan to stay close with both parents after their divorce, and my stepdad has no issue with me keeping his last name. My whole adult life is built on that last name, both personal and professional, and it feels like part of my identity now.”
“I know it’s going to hurt my mom when I tell her I don’t want to change my name too, but I don’t want to change it.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some pointed out the OP’s stepdad is her dad.
“He adopted you. He IS your father!!! I say keep your last name if that’s what YOU want!!!” – Scully152
“I think the flipside is what is important here. Mom may be hurt, but I’d say if OP did change her name the relationship with Dad may never be the same.”
“Dad didn’t have to adopt, he could have let OP be his stepdaughter.”
“OP makes the adoption seem like a small thing when it really wasn’t. If this divorce happened 15 years ago, ‘stepdad’ would be paying mom child support. If god forbid Mom had died, ‘stepdad’ had signed on to be the parent.”
“Going out of your way to change the name because of a divorce is a would be a big rejection of that effort.” – zerj
“NTA- First; he’s your dad. Not your stepfather. He legally adopted you. He is your dad. Second; this is not something your mother should even entertain the notion of. You’re his child, and you were given his surname.”
“If you wanted or felt compelled to change your name, that would be one thing, but look, you’re your own person with your own life. You have your own relationship with dad, outside of their marriage. And no matter how you came into having that relationship, you do, and it is totally separate from your mother.”
“I wish I could just give you a hug, you shouldn’t be in the position where you even entertain the idea of having to change your name because their marriage is ending. That’s them, not you. You are who you are because of that relationship, and your bond with your dad isn’t a slight against your mother.” – CatteHerder
Others simply said the OP is an adult and can make the best decision for herself.
“It’s your name, you should decide what to do with it. I can see your mom’s point of view but ultimately it’s your choice. NAH.” – DrWhoop87
“NAH. You’ve had that name for twenty years and your stepfather raised and adopted you as his own child, so I think you’re definitely justified in not wanting to change it.”
“Your mother might initially feel a bit unhappy but I feel that she’ll come to understand and accept it in time. I’d suggest going ahead and breaking that news to her soon so she can have time to process and move past it.” – LadySygerrik
“Why is your identity about her? Your entire life is wrapped up in your last name. Just tell her no, and get used to the idea she is going to be disappointed. Life is like that. You can’t please everyone” – raya__85
A few suggested talking to the OP’s mom sooner rather than later.
“I really do not get all the judgments implying that [mother] is an a**hole for maybe, and maybe not, feeling a bit hurt.”
“It isn’t even clear if she does/would or if OP is projecting. Man women really aren’t allowed to have negative feelings about anything without being seen as a**holes for it.”
“And OP, INFO. How do you know your mom would be hurt? Has she said anything?”
“Have you talked to her about it and your own feelings on the matter? Or are you just assuming? You know what they say about doing that.” – YellowBinary
“YWNBTA. You’re anticipating your mom’s negative reaction – and she may be upset, but at the end of the day this is your identity.”
“Nobody’s an AH yet because we don’t know whether your mom will react poorly. You have a right to keep the name that you connect with and have had for most of your life.” – Aggressive-Sample612
Though the OP seems to be struggling with this decision, the subReddit thought the answer was pretty clear-cut.
The OP had the right to have any name she wanted.
And who knows? It might not bother her mother at all, especially given her age.
It might just take sitting down and having that conversation.