As much as we like to think the best of them, family dynamics can be endlessly complicated.
Depending on our relationship with our family, we may be more or less inclined to sport the family name we were given at birth, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Because of her connection with her family’s heritage, Redditor throwwayccount847374 and her husband agreed for them both to have her last name after getting married.
But when he started expressing doubts about their baby having her last name, too, the Original Poster (OP) was surprised at his change of heart.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for assuming our kids will take my last name?”
The OP recently realized her husband didn’t agree with their future baby’s name.
“My (29 Female) husband (29 Male) and I are pregnant. We’re happy about it but it all happened so fast so we didn’t discuss the details before.”
“Today while we were fantasizing about our future, I kind of wistfully said the full name of our baby (gender-neutral first name we chose and my last name).”
“He was upset and asked why I assumed they would take my name.”
“I said it was because I thought he didn’t care about his last name whereas my last name is very important to me.”
The OP was surprised because of her husband’s relationship with his own last name.
“Context: I never changed my last name when we got married because in my culture, this is uncommon, and my name also has very heavy cultural and historical significance.”
“I am extremely proud of it and I am also very close with my extended family.”
“My husband has no relationship with his family, as his parents abandoned him to his uncle who abused him for years until he moved in with me.”
“When we were getting married, he wanted to change his last name to mine because he felt like my family was his real family, which I was okay with but eventually we decided he doesn’t need to go through that hassle since he’s a part of our family regardless.”
“He’s never expressed any type of interest in his heritage (Irish), and even when I suggested we go visit Ireland, he was uninterested.”
But when it came to their future baby, the OP’s husband had different feelings.
“But now, he said people will think the kid is not his, and that it’s disrespectful to have kids not take the father’s last name.”
“I was confused because he had never expressed any such sentiment before. I told him my last name is nonnegotiable, so we can hyphenate it.”
“He was resistant since both our last names are clunky and long, but eventually he said only if HIS name comes first.”
“I got really annoyed at his implication that there’s something wrong with taking the mom’s last name, so maybe I was a little petty and said, ‘Suits me, that way people will think your name is just a middle name and mine is their last name.'”
“He told me I was being an a**hole and left the house. It’s been a couple of hours and he’s responding to my texts with one-word responses.”
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 argued that the couple needed to work on their communication skills.
“I’m torn between YTA and ESH. Your husband absolutely overreacted but this was something you should have discussed and agreed on, not simply assumed, particularly in this case where you know that his heritage is a difficult subject for him.”
“Also, just because he hasn’t previously expressed any interest in his heritage doesn’t mean he hasn’t been thinking about it, particularly now that he’s about to be a father.”
“There is nothing wrong with any of your reasoning, but this baby is part of both of you, everything needs to be discussed and agreed and you cannot assume anything, also, given his background and desire to be part of a family, didn’t it occur to you that having his child be called a name different from his might be very upsetting for him? Like he was being rejected. Again.”
“And your retort was simply nasty, particularly when taking what you’ve told us about his family into consideration. You need to stop assuming and start communicating.” – history_buff_9971
“YTA for assuming and doubling down to explain why you think your last name is more important after he told you how he felt about it related to your kids. You’d made your mind up without speaking to your husband/the child’s father. He got defensive and you both said stupid things.”
“But imagine if the situation was reversed and your husband came in hot at you over the topic. Would you have felt respected? You really cut your nose off to spite your face by getting defensive though.”
“You wanting to share your last name with the kids is 100% valid. But rather than speaking about it and deciding together you did what you did. And then didn’t take a beat to even truly consider his point of view or how your actions made him feel. I get why he was p**sed.”
“You both need to apologize for how you spoke to each other, but you need to own your assumption and how it helped create this situation in the first place.” – MoMoJangles
“YTA for assuming the name. Depends a lot of the country where you live because there are laws on names that vary.”
“He might have been okay with the baby name if you hadn’t sprung it up on him.”
“As others suggested, you should re-open the discussions about names and your growing family.”
“Him changing his name is a hassle, but if it’s legal, he’ll overcome the difficulty. I and my wife also didn’t want hyphenated last names ourselves and also we wanted that we have the same names with our kids. So if men are legally able to change their names in the country you live in and his home country (of citizenship), then it would be nice if he’d do it.” – santtu_
“YTA. Instead of discussing how you felt with your HUSBAND you decided to just make assumptions and ended up making an a** of yourself.”
“Also, I feel like when he wanted to change his last name it was you who decided he didn’t need to go through that hassle. But that’s just my POV.” – ERxMikey14
“It sounds like hubby doesn’t have a family name. You are incredibly proud of your family name and the extended family it links to, have you considered this may have been his opportunity to have a small experience of that himself?”
“I’m not saying YTA, but maybe talk to him a little more about it.”
“I struggled to articulate these kind of feelings about family myself over the years, we are kind of programmed to not let it effect us, but maybe take some time to discuss it further rationally before making any decisions?”
“Might be an opportunity for him to change his name as well so he finally feels part of a real family tree?”
“Not everything is black and white.” – SamatureHour
Others were confused by the OP’s husband’s change of heart about the subject.
“NTA. He knew well in advance how you felt about your last name. He even said he would take your last name. If he’s so concerned that people will think he isn’t the baby’s father, he can change his last name to your last name as he originally wanted to.” – Special_Respond7372
“NTA. I do think you should revisit him changing his name to yours so you’re a ‘matching’ family since it seems to be bothering him already; it will only get worse.”
“My partner and I aren’t married and when we had kids they took his surname, mostly because I loathe my surname and didn’t want to pass on the bullying I endured because of it. It was all fine at the time but now I do feel like an outsider sometimes.”
“While I recognize that it’s silly and doesn’t matter, I do wish we all had the same name or at least that my kids had my name. If I get called Mrs. Partnersurname by the school one more time, I swear I will lose my s**t, lol (laughing out loud).” – Pretzelmomma
“NTA. This sudden attitude of his is definitely… weird. I’d remind him of when he wanted to change his last name to yours, and suggest he now take the time to do that, that way the three of you will have the same last name. Easy peasy.”
“I agree that this should be calmly talked over since this clearly has become a bit of a hot-button issue, but I also don’t totally begrudge OP from kind of assuming the baby would get her last name considering all the other discussions they have had about their last names.” – fallingintopolkadots
“NTA. First of all, if this was a story from the perspective of the father, nobody would bat an eyelash about your assumption; but the fact of the matter is that these traditions have no logical basis in the modern world. Your names and traditions are equally important.”
“As for your comment about the baby’s name, it’s very clear you had a rational reason to assume your name would be prioritized. He literally almost took it himself.”
“If my wife wanted my name for herself, I think I’d be quite surprised to find she’d object to our children having it. His reasoning, by contrast, is based on an outdated tradition that, as stated, he himself already almost bucked.”
“Hyphenating is the clear answer (even if his family wasn’t in the picture, his name is still his) but his desire to be prioritized in the hyphenation still reeks of the double standard. I’m not a dad so again, grain of salt, but it’s odd he feels he needs to ‘win’ here.” – aemondstareye
“NTA. It’s not like it’s too late for him to change his last name to yours. It makes total sense that given he literally wanted your last name, you assumed he wouldn’t have strong feelings about the kids. Hyphenating is a reasonable compromise but not if he plans to basically pretend your name is just a middle name.”
“He’s just being sexist and selfish.” – Outrageously_Penguin
The subReddit understood the importance of some family names and why the OP was so connected to hers. But while they were equally confused about the husband’s change of heart, it was clear more communication needed to happen about this subject before the baby was born.