The “Last Name Dilemma” after the Divorce
It has been a year now that I have been divorced and nearly two since we separated. Apart from 16 months, since 2004, my last name has remained the same. You are probably wondering why that is? Long story short, I divorced him in 2012 and remarried him in 2014. Nevertheless, I have strongly debated on changing my last name. Here is my dilemma, I have a maiden name, which is on my birth certificate. It is my mother’s maiden name as she was not married when she gave birth to me. I did not meet my biological father until 2012. When my divorce was finalized in 2013, the judge granted me, my father’s last name change based on paternity. So, all in all, I have had a total of 6 last names thus far. My birth name, 1st marriage last name, then back to my maiden, then remarried, then divorced and took on my biological father’s last name, then remarried husband number two again and took back on his last name.
For almost 15 years, I have carried one last name constantly, that of my ex-husband (of two times). Almost if I carried my birth name. It is highly doubtful, IF I ever remarry again, I will ever take on another man’s last name. Here I contemplate what is the best decision for me. Do I change my last name back to my birth name or my biological father’s last name or just leave it as it is?
My dilemma with each is as follows:
- Changing it back to my birth name – this is my mother’s maiden name; it was her father’s name. I was not close to him, nor his family. I really was not close to my mother. I never felt a sense of belonging. Although much of my actual DNA comes from my mother’s side. I am 74% England/ Wales, Southwestern European, 24% Ireland/ Scotland, 2% Swedish. All my ancestry migrates to the areas by which my mother’s family settled. 99% of my ancestry matches are found on my mother’s side.
- Changing it back to my biological father’s last name – I only held this last name for 16 months my entire life. It felt weird. Even to this day, we are not close. We hardly speak. We see each other maybe once a year. I still do not feel a sense of belonging. I know very little about my father’s genealogy or ancestry.
- Keeping my last name as is, his last name, my ex-husband – it is honestly not mine to keep. Yes, I put up with a lot. I have earned the right to keep it. For many years his parents, at least mainly his father, made me feel like I did belong. It was the closest sense of belonging I have felt before to a last name and family. It is not my last name to keep, is it? I have moved on. He has moved on. Yes, I am his first wife. Is it fair to the next wife? We do not have children together.
These are the things that run through my mind. Who am I? Who should I be? What should my last name be? Should I really put this much emphasis on it?
To me, it is all a sense of belonging for some reason and a sense of who I am.
I understand, mentally, it is an internal issue and battle that I am fighting. I am fighting to release myself also from the grips of a failed marriage of not once, but twice. I am in a different place now. Why is this so important to me?
I honestly wonder how many people struggle with this issue and I often think, is it fair to someone that I may marry in the future to keep this last name as I plan on not taking on another married name?
My last name dilemma………. to be continued….