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Widow Fed Up After Sister Insists On Calling Her By Her Maiden Name Since Her Husband Passed

A grief-stricken woman holding her face

Grief has a terrible way of holding onto a person, and it’s no wonder that each person has to work through it in their own way.

But some people will not understand someone else’s approach to grieving, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor QueasyBanana143’s husband had passed away twenty years prior, and she had long since decided not to change her name.

But when her sister continued to pressure her to change her name back to her maiden name, the Original Poster (OP) felt the need to call her sister out.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my sister to stop calling me by my maiden name?”

The OP remained committed to her husband after he passed away.

“My husband passed away over two decades ago. I still considered myself a married woman.”

“My sister has criticized my decision to stay loyal many times. She’s tried taking off my wedding ring, getting me to cheat, and mocking me. I don’t appreciate it.”

“I’ve had friends who have tried to ‘set me up,’ but I tell them I don’t want another partner, and they respect that! My sister does not.”

The OP’s sister kept pressuring her to move on.

“The last few years, she’s been cool, until the last week or so.”

“We’ll call me ‘Mrs. Smith.’ My maiden name was ‘Ms. Jones.’ My sister has started to call me Ms. Jones. The other night she even made reservations for Ms. Jones. She also mailed me a book for Ms. Jones.”

“Then yesterday, I got kinda sick of it. She came over, and we were getting ready to go somewhere, and she made coffee, and she jokingly said, ‘Your coffee, Ms. Jones.'”

The OP had heard enough.

“I got really mad. I said, ‘Don’t call me that.'”

“She said, ‘Huh?'”

“I said, ‘That’s NOT my name. I am Mrs. Smith.'”

“She said it wasn’t my name anymore, but it IS my name. I never changed it back. I never ever will.”

“She’s just messing with me. I don’t like it. It really hurts my feelings. I’ve told her that, and she calls me that, but she says it’s my fault for never changing it.”

“I never ever want to change it. I actually love when people call me Mrs. Smith. It hurts when she calls me Ms. Jones.”


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 were angry with the OP’s sister for pressuring her and renaming her.

“Definitely NTA. My aunt outlived her husband by 16 years and never took off her wedding ring. No one considered calling her by her maiden name, and she wasn’t inclined to revert to it. It was her business and everyone respected that.”

“OP’s sister is trying to impose her values on her sister which is not what her sister wants or needs. Not everyone wants to date or marry again after the loss of a spouse.” – leginnameloc

“By the time my dad died, my mom had been using her married name longer than her maiden name. It wasn’t her husband’s name anymore, it was hers.”

“OP, can you try putting it in those terms when you talk to your sister? You’ve been living and learning and growing and having experiences under this name for over twenty years.”

“It’s not your married name, it’s just your name. It’s who you are and when she tries to make you change it, it feels like she wants you to throw away all you’ve experienced that’s made you who you are.” – readthethings13579

“I do agree you can’t cheat on someone who is dead, but it’s probably the situation that it would feel the same to her.”

“And to me, if it feels the same, it might as well be the same she would still have all the same feelings as if she did cheat.” – Scorched-archer

“My fiancé’s parents have been divorced for more than 10 years, and his mom never changed her name back.”

“It never struck me as odd or anything, that’s who she was for I don’t know how long (I think over 20 years), and splitting up didn’t remove that… especially since they have children, so she’s still part of that family regardless.” – slynnc

“The worst part about being a widow is you don’t know how you’ll react, grief makes you do weird things. This person most likely needs therapy, but her sister is being a major AH. NTA.” – Dawn36

“I think to OP, it feels like her sister is erasing her past, a past that is very precious to her. Grief counseling may be in order, but it’s OP’s life to do what she will with it.” – Aware-Ad-9095

“NTA. Your decision to change your name, start dating, or any other change in your marital status is yours and yours alone.”

“Your sister is bullying you, and You need to stop her from doing it.”

“No one can tell you how to feel; no one can tell you what you need to do. Anyone who does not have your true interests at heart.”

“Anyone who does deserves less contact.”

“The only person who can stand up for yourself is you.”

“Grief and healing have no set timetable.” – oylaura

But others were worried about the OP’s mental health.

“The sister (hopefully) was trying to help the OP heal, but she did it in a way that caused more harm.”

“Trying to force people to change often has the reverse effect. People become more open to change when they don’t need to defend who they currently are.” – SilasRhodes

“I think that in many ways, the fact that OP’s sister is trying to completely erase her husband may be contributing to OP clinging so hard to his memory.”

“I know myself well enough to know that I would probably react in a similar way if someone dared to start calling me by my maiden name after my husband’s death or tried to forcibly remove my wedding ring. That’s exactly the kind of behavior that might foster pathology in a widow.” – diagnosedwolf

“Oh my god, I misread the post at first. I thought it said two years, and I thought OP was being pretty stereotypical for grief at the two-year mark. I am more concerned that it is 20 years now.” – deathbychips2

“Whether or not she judges other people doesn’t really factor into it. It’s an unhealthy standard she’s applying to herself. I hope OP is able to get some support to work through her grief. Definitely NTA of course.”

“It is entirely possible to feel justified in having an unhealthy mindset. That doesn’t make it healthy. Being able to cope with that unhealthy mindset also doesn’t make it healthy.”

“She’s not hurting anyone else as far as we know, and like I said, she’s NTA. Sister is clearly overstepping.”

“If her objection was just, ‘I don’t want to date anyone else, I’m happy just as myself,’ that’s one thing and totally reasonable, but there are red flags in OPs post that imply she hasn’t really accepted her late husband’s passing or moved past it.” – supershinyoctopus

“Honestly, if I was gone, I would never want my husband to feel that way, it makes me feel so sad. We’ve had those discussions, and I’ve told him I wouldn’t want him to be alone, and he said he doesn’t think he’d want to date again, that I’m it for him.”

“I get that (and honestly, with the state of dating currently, I think I’d just be single as well if god forbid anything happened), but I wouldn’t want him feeling like he’s ‘cheating’ or ‘disloyal.'”

“The sister is definitely disrespectful and needs to zip it (and stop using the wrong name, that’s so ridiculous), but she’s probably concerned.”

“OP doesn’t need to date, but she also shouldn’t feel like she can’t ‘cheat’ on someone who’s long dead.” – Afraid_Sense5363

“I think we should cut OP some slack on one point. Has she said anything to suggest she would judge someone in her position with a different take on the matter? It sounds like she’s simply discussing her own widowhood in the post.”

“She did use strong words like ‘staying loyal’ and ‘cheating,’ but people who use such language still don’t necessarily judge everyone else by the same views. It’s simply the standard they apply to themselves. She definitely is NTA.” – AffectionateGolf6032

“It’s not harming anyone else but OP. From a completely practical standpoint, changing your name back f**king sucks. The process is time-consuming and tedious, and it costs money.”

“In order to complete a name change, you’ll need a copy of a birth certificate, your previous social security card, your marriage license, your divorce decree, or your spouse’s death certificate. You’ll need to replace all IDs with your new name.”

“If you don’t have these documents, you’ll need to have them reprinted, you’ll be paying anywhere from $5-20. Then you’ll need to pay for a new driver’s license and passport.”

“Now for time. If you’re missing a document, you’re at the mercy of the state’s record department (some are great, but if you’re out of state… it can take longer), and you’ll have to wait for a copy.”

“When my friends wanted to reclaim their maiden name, they went to the social security office and stood in line for hours with paperwork (birth certificate, marriage license, divorce decree). After getting their SS cards, they had to call credit card companies to have their name changed on their card, they’d have to go to their bank or spend time on the phone changing the name on their account, and they’d have to wait in line to change their driver’s license at the DMV, and get a new passport.”

“Personally, I cannot imagine someone who was recently widowed to go through that immediately after their spouse passed, let alone twenty years later with unprocessed grief. Hopefully, the required documents would be easily accessible, but having to dredge them up is annoying.”

“From a logistical point, changing her name back isn’t necessary, nor will it help her grieve. It’ll just be time-consuming and create unnecessary stress.” – Scankasaursrex

The subReddit completely understood why she wanted to keep her married name. Not only was it a reflection of her time together with her husband, but it was also a major part of her identity, married or not.

But some understood the sister’s concerns, even if she was approaching the situation from a poor angle.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.