Dear Aunty Em: Name change

‘To change or not to change your last name when getting married in your mid-30s?’ – Name Check

Cat Stevens was born Steven Demetre Georgiou and changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1978
Cat Stevens (his stage name) was born Steven Demetre Georgiou and changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1978

Dear Name Check,

I heard a story on the weekend about a doctor of philosophy who changed his surname to ‘human’ because he wanted to break down the barriers between himself and others. He also happened to be a paranoid schizonphrenic who lived on the streets of Oxford, UK, and went shoeless in the snow.

In summary, dude was nuttier than Snickers bar.

Changing your name, especially in your mid-30s when you’ve established yourself professionally, can seem very crazy.

Will people still know who you are on LinkedIn? Are you going to have to do that whole ‘nee blah blah’ thing?

By changing your name, you are consciously making a statement about your marital status. The question is, do you want to make this statement? Some people will automatically assume that you are Mrs X, not Miss Y the second you say ‘I do’ so this is something you may need to address if you decide to keep your maiden name.

In contrast to this, many feminists fundamentally disagree with the concept based on historical and legal issues around marriage and property.

Finally, there is the question of children. If kids are part of the equation, some women change their names just to make life easier when it comes to filling out permission forms and the like (it’s easier for the people in the office if the birth parents have the same name as the kids).

The real question – the only one that matters – is how do you feel about your name? Do you love it the way it is or are you keen to try on something new for size? The process of changing your name is an administratively painful one so you can effectively ‘lay-by’ the new name for a while before you formally change your paperwork over. You don’t have to decide straight away.

My advice? Try it on for size, play around with it and make a call on it when you’re comfortable.

Alternatively, you could both change your names to emojis and confuse everyone, just like Prince did when he became *symbol*.









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