We are surrounded by tradition in so many aspects of our daily lives.
Traditions help guide us and reinforce familial and cultural bonds.
Of course, the traditional way of doing things isn’t always the best way.
What happens when the person closest to you decides to uphold a tradition you don’t agree with, and pass it on to the next generation as well?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Ineedadvicepleaze when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for outside opinions.
“AITA for telling my husband I don’t want to give our child his last name?”
She began with the background.
“My husband and I have been friends since middle school, dating since junior year of high school, and got married as soon as I graduated college.”
“We’ve been married for two years now, we just found I’m pregnant with our first child.”
“When we got married, I hyphenated our last names, with my last name being first because I believe marriage is a union, and taking his last name felt like him claiming ownership over me.”
“My husband was frustrated with this decision, but I stood my ground and was not going to budge.”
“He eventually accepted this, but he did not hyphenate his last name.”
“This bothered me for reasons I can’t explain, but I never brought it up as something I had a problem with because I honestly understand.”
Then she got to the problem itself.
“Now I’m pregnant, and I wanted to tell him now, while we still have eight months to discuss it, that I want to hyphenate our child’s last name.”
“He BLEW UP on me, telling me I’m being ridiculous and I can’t actually expect him to be okay with that and he just won’t stand for it.”
“I told him I want OUR child to have OUR last names.”
“He told me it wasn’t his last name, it was mine.”
“I then told him that HE is the ridiculous one for not realizing how silly he sounded by saying my hyphenated last name wasn’t ALSO HIS NAME.”
“Before we even got married, he told me he wanted his hypothetical son to have his first name.”
“I agreed, with some reluctancy if I’m being honest, but I love my husband and I love his name.”
“I brought this fact up to him.”
“If we had a son, my husband wants him to have his first AND last name, and even if we have a daughter, she’ll still have his last name.”
“I told him that it wasn’t fair. I even told him that we could put his last name first when we hyphenate, but he was not having it.”
“I went on to say that my sister has constant problems because her son doesn’t have her last name, even though the father has never been in my nephews life.”
“She gets questioned by doctors and teachers if she’s really his mom, and since she’s gotten married, she even has problems with getting him under her husbands Tricare.”
“I told him if we ever separated, I don’t want those problems.”
“Then he blew up on me again for ‘assuming’ we would separate, and THAT’S when I finally snapped and told him he was being a stubborn-self centered, man child.”
“He knew that that wasn’t what I meant and he was being extremely obtuse.”
“He left to cool down and now I’m getting texts from my MIL(Mother-in-Law) saying that I was being unreasonable and manipulative, and had to reduce to insults and throw a fit to get what I want.”
“(Even though I didn’t get what I wanted)”
“I can understand he wants his child to have his last name, but I feel like hyphenating is still giving the child his last name.”
She was left to wonder.
“Am I the a**hole?”
Having explained the problem, OP turned to Reddit for an outside opinion.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some were confused by husband’s stance.
“Also, what’s his issue?”
“You compromised on your last name and that’s okay, because comprise is how relationships work.”
“But he didn’t want the name for him, which, okay. But where does HE compromise?”
“I mean, you took his last name in addition to yours, you agreed to name the child after his wishes…”
“He has to make compromises as well. You deserve to be listened to.” ~librarianknight
“His name is still there, so I don’t see the problem.”
“It seems weird that he is so adamant about not including your name. He is acting as if its your name or his, when in reality it’s both.” ~ toosmallshovel
Others pointed out the logistical problems.
“Son having the same first name and last name as his dad can be so problematic.”
“Records such as hospital, dental, credit can be merged or faked.“~PandasNPenguins
“And I have a different name from my husband and daughter and I never have problems.”
“I let my husband name our kid with his last name because to me I was keeping my name (did not hyphenate) and she was getting her name.”
“Now that’s she’s older, she wants to hyphenate it to have my last name and his. He agreed if she still wants to when she’s a bit older.”
“It is completely reasonable for the baby to have a hyphenated name.”
“It’s extremely common and even common that the father doesn’t hyphenate.”
“He’s being controlling and misogynistic.”
“Also, you know what does cause problems?”
“My father and brother having the same names.”
“Lists of problems with debt collectors. Tax time. Divorces.”
“You’re saving your kid from that with a different last name. The child is both of yours. They should have both of your last names.”~ kitzunenotsuki
Comments took issue with the tradition as a whole.
“I know it’s the tradition for the wife and the children to take the man’s last name.”
“But, it’s an outdated, sexist tradition hailing back to the time where a woman and offspring was the property of the husband.”
“IMO, YOU are the one growing the child inside your body.”
“YOU are the one who (with the red flags this incident has raised) will probably be the main upbringer.”
“If the child were to take anyone’s name it should be yours.”
“I know a lot of guys will think it’s weird to consider taking their female partner’s name since it’s an entitlement they’ve grown up to expect, but for him to have a reaction like this about it?”
“That says a lot about his personality.“~ lunagrape
OP did return to respond to some common comments.
“I am AWARE we should’ve discussed this before, but no one is perfect and we still have eight months to work this out.”
“I’m not going to divorce my husband over this but I’m not backing down.”
“To people saying it’s ’emasculating,’ I don’t care.”
“I’m not going to prioritize anything over my husband’s ego.”
“To people saying that I’d be giving my child my father’s name, why are you so focused on how men are going to influence my child’s name?”
“It’s not about giving my child a name that is non-male oriented, it’s about sharing my heritage, my history, and my identity with my child through their name.”
“To people that are saying I’m taking away my husband’s ability to claim the child as his, the baby would ALSO share his last name and children are not possessions!”
“To the person that said it’s weird to give my child my last name unless I’m accomplished in my field, why don’t you think the same thing about men?”
“Also, people saying that men are the head of the household, what era are you living in??”
“The sexism in those particular comments is unreal.”
“I’ve gotten a lot of people commenting ‘what’s your children going to do when they get married???’ And that’s up to them.”
“There are plenty of options, they can have a third last name, keep their last name, take their spouse’s last name, come up with a completely new last name!!!”
“It’s up to them!!”
“And that’s assuming they ever even get married.”
“But I’m not going to decide what to name my kid over their hypothetical marriage and hypothetical children that are decades from being a possibility”
“People that use feminism/feminist like it’s a dirty word are immediately irrelevant.”
“The only people bringing up being ‘woke’ or ‘feminist b*llsh*t’ are people calling me the a**hole.”
“I never once said sharing my name with my baby was to be ‘woke’ or ‘feminist.’
“I agree we should all have the same last name!!”
“If only my husband would hyphenate!”
Traditions help guide us and reinforce familial and cultural bonds.
There is something to be said, though, for breaking those traditions and starting something new.
While not everyone will be okay with the change, be wary of those who refuse the idea outright.