Mrs. Partner’s Last-Name

I bit my tongue when she called me Mrs. Partner’s Last-Name.  I bit my tongue because it felt more important to me in that moment to have her as an ally than to correct her assumption.  I bit my tongue, but Mrs. Partner’s Last-Name does not even begin to be my name.

If you wish to address me formally, you may call me Dr. Whedon.  See, I have an independently earned professional title.  I am not defined by my relationship status.  You don’t even really need to know that a married title is totally wrong.  And I have my own name.

Let me repeat that, because it’s important: I have my own name.

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13 Responses to Mrs. Partner’s Last-Name

  1. Hillary says:

    I didn’t change my name and I was surprised at the uproar and uncomfortable feelings it arises. I get the feeling my decision is somehow viewed as anti-my-family.

    And so over the past few years I have come to expect to be called Mrs. Partner’s Last-Name specifically on wedding invitations and event place cards, but this makes me feel a whole big–”What the hell!” That’s not my name.

  2. Carolyn says:

    I did, as you know, change my name, primarily because I had a visceral need to get rid of my father’s patronymic. But I growl at people (sometimes literally, depending on how well I know them) when they call me “Mrs.”

  3. Megan says:

    I share my partner’s last name because I lost the coin toss.

  4. Pingback: What's In A (Family) Name? | Strollerderby

  5. Vanessa says:

    We went with a whole new last name for our new family. And I still somehow get the Mrs. Partner’s Bachelor Name problem! That doesn’t feel any more my last name than my maiden name does now. Maybe I need a name tag sewn onto all my clothes. :)

  6. Maggie says:

    We married when we were both 39. Shortly thereafter we went to a company party where we knew almost everyone, but where many people didn’t know of our recent wedding. A high-ranking out-of-town male was there and my spouse said hello. Then he said, “This is my wife … Maggie HerOwnName.” The man’s face registered a question and my spouse said “I’d had my name for nearly 40 years and didn’t want to change it.” Everyone laughed, but also that was the end of any concern about my name — for me, for his coworkers, and for mine.

  7. Maggie says:

    (should have pushed Post Comment AFTER editing)

    I mean, my husband claimed the right not to change his own name.

    (why doesn’t this read as clearly as I meant to write it?)

  8. Amadea says:

    Now I have that song stuck in my head that’s like: “that’s not my name! that’s not my name! that’s not my name! that’s not my name!”

  9. hemp says:

    Now I have hair down to the middle of my back wearing a fing Vera Wang wedding dress and participating full force in the bridal industrial complex. While Id like to think that some of that rage is still inside me and I dont think I have become soft I think I have become more tolerable and understanding of others and their beliefs..There are some who may think that a woman changing her last name is unfeminist. To me this is a very tricky and personal decision for every woman who is about to get married.

  10. Somehow I missed this one until now. I’ve only been called Mrs. Partnerslastname about twice (in seven years), and it Does Not Go Over Well. I got called Mrs. Mylastname a lot by undergrads who couldn’t seem to master Ms. or my first name (they assumed it was also my husband’s last name, because they assumed I was married, once I was pregnant and later mentioning my child): teachable moments, but also annoying. I was so happy to finish my doctorate and switch to Dr. and then Professor: it simplified matters considerably … though the Mrs.’s never entirely stopped.

    Oddly, the couple times I’ve been called Ms. Childslastname (all three of us have different last names), I’ve found it sort of amusing and cute. I correct them–Molly or Dr. Westerman, thanks–but not with the grr feeling of Mrs. Partnerslastname (or, most awesome of all, Mrs. Partnersfirstname Partnerslastname, as one wedding invitation read … are you freaking kidding me?).

  11. Sarah K-D says:

    Hahaha… My mother-in-law always addresses packages, letters, even formal emails to Mrs. our-hyphenated-last-name. We both changed our names. Maybe now that I have a Dr. in front of my name, she will stop it? Eh?

    • Sarah K-D says:

      Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that she was horrified when we chose to do that, mostly because she ‘hadn’t been consulted’.

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