In our modern, progressive society, more and more women are choosing not to take their husband’s name after getting married.
Not that there’s anything wrong with anyone taking their spouses name.
But people should have the freedom to decide what their legal name should be, and shouldn’t feel pressured or judged to change it.
Which sadly still occurs far more often than it should.
Taking the name of one’s husband was, in fact, out of the ordinary in the home of Redditor aitafem, so she had no plans to do so when she got married.
Making the reaction of her soon to be in-laws all the more surprising and upsetting when she shared this news with them.
Wondering if she was being stubborn in remaining resolute, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for being a ‘petty feminist bitch’ and refusing to take my husband’s last name.”
The OP explained how she and her American fiancé had chosen to live in her home country, where changing one’s name after marriage is highly uncommon.
“Me (26 F[emale]) and my fiancé Jake (27 M[ale]) have been together for 5 years, we met in college while he was doing an exchange in my country, Belgium (he is from the US).”
“He loved it here so he decided to stay and we are really happy here.”
“I’ve met his family a few times when we went there to visit them, they’ve never been to Belgium (important for later).”
“Now here, women do not take their husband’s last name, it is the law.”
“All documents will still be in my maiden name after our wedding.”
“I think it is possible to do all kind of administrative stuff to change my name but i don’t want to.”
“All women around me have their maiden name and my fiancé agreed that i should keep my name.”
However, when the OP shared this news with her soon-to-be American in-laws, their reaction was far less than understanding.
“Onto the main issue.”
“3 days ago, we were doing a zoom call with his family and the topic of the name came up and they were very surprised that i was not taking his name.”
“I explained very calmly that it is the law here and that I had the perfect example of my mom who had a business in her maiden name and only used my father’s name when dealing with our school or things like that and that I wanted to take the same approach as her.”
“Well, all hell broke loose.”
“His mom started screaming at me, saying that it is not because I come from a country of peasants that I should punish my fiancé.”
“That he was so far away from them because of me and so on.”
“Jake defended me and I tried to calm her down but she turned to her husband while crying that they never came to my country because they know that it is not nearly as good as the US and that I just proved it and father-in-law (FIL) said that I was a petty feminist b*tch and that he didn’t want to listen to such nonsense.”
“They left the call and my fiancé conforted me because I was honestly very shocked by their reaction and their insults.”
“I thought it was over but they’ve been sending hateful messages over the past days, they even got the rest of their family to do it as well and even my parents said that I should try to keep the peace and offer to check into the administrative procedures to change my name, but I really don’t want to.”
“My fiancé is conflicted.”
“He grew up in a town where it was very very uncommon for a woman not to take her husband’s name and he agrees that it would keep the peace with his family but he does not want to force me and says it is my decision.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The Reddit community completely agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for declining to change her name after getting married.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s future in-laws were being ignorant and insensitive, and that the only person who should have a say in the decision is her, and no one else.
“NTA I am from a country where you don’t change your surname when you marry.”
“It was odd to the UK folk that I never changed my surname.”
“I didn’t have that massive drama but even today people don’t believe I am married.”
“Not my problem tbh, I am sticking to my culture and my husband doesn’t really care.”-SantaPachaMama
“Please do not give in on this.”
“If you give in, they will keep pushing you to do things their way.”
“’You MUST name your baby according to our wishes!’, for example.”- AnnieJack
“Mom’s outburst probably had very little to do with the name, and more to do with the resentment she feels for her son deciding to live on another continent.”
“She unfortunately has decided to direct that resentment at you, which is obviously unfair.”
“As you explained, taking his name isn’t even really an option in Belgium, so it shouldn’t be an emotional thing for anyone.”
“Frankly, that should be a non-starter at this point.”
“I’d take the decision off the table because that’s already been made.”
“The real issue now is what is your husband going to do about his family’s deep resentment of you?”
“NTA and WTF.”
“If it’s not the law and custom of the place where you intend to reside, it’s none of your in-laws’ damn business.”
“It also wouldn’t be any of their damn business if you intended to come to the States eventually.”
“But the fact that it’s an administrative headache for no benefit should settle it with everyone.”
“I cannot abide internalized misogyny.”
“Whoa, that’s a lot to unpack.”
“Belgium is lovely.”
“Your future MIL is unglued.”
“She went full on ugly American on you.”
“She probably resents her son’s decision to move to Belgium and is letting you know you’ve stolen her son.”
“And since he is perfect, how dare you not take his name.”
“Since she is unhappy with his decisions, she lashed out at you.”
“Good luck and I hope things calm down.”- highwoodshady
“NTA I’d block all of them.”
“I don’t care if they’re his family, they can get f*cked.”-BazTheBaptist
The OP eventually returned with an update on where she and her fiancé stood with her decision regarding her last name, while also thanking fellow Redditors who took the time to comment.
“Thank you everyone for your input.”
“I stayed up until 3am last night to read your comments and I am relieved to know that I was in the right.”
“To the people not understanding why I was doubting myself, I was a very confrontational person when I was younger but, after bad stuff happening with close people, I learned to keep my mouth shut.”
“Moreover, his parents never behaved like this with me and when my parents and my fiancé actually agreed a little with them, so no one was on my side, I started doubting my approach.”
“I realize now that I’ve become too kind and that i let people walk over me and that I need to call them on their bullsh*t more.”
“As for my fiancé, we had a long conversation about this this morning.”
‘He was very defensive at the beginning, saying that his parents probably didn’t mean it and blablabla.”
“But after explaining my side of things and showing him the messages they sent, he actually realized that they were completely out of line.”
“He admitted that they never behaved like that with him either and that he was so surprised by their attitude that he didn’t know how to react.”
“I’ve showed him some of your comments and he understands now that he has to set clear boundaries now because it is the first of many fights if he does not.”
“He promised me that he was gonna send them a message today saying that this kind of behavior would not be accepted and that they needed to apologize to me if they wanted to come to the wedding.”
“He apologized profusely and I want to trust him.”
“We also discussed the topic of name again and he promised me that he was fully supporting my decision.”
“Concerning children, we already had a conversation because we both want to be parents and we agree to give his last name.”
“Again, thank you all for your comments!”
It’s good to hear that the OP and her fiancé are on the same page.
Here’s hoping that her soon-to-be in-laws will eventually come round as well, and it will be a very happy wedding.