You found your perfect partner.
You’ve planned the perfect wedding.
You’ve said “I do” and danced the night away.
You’ve mailed all of your thank you cards.
You’re finally ready for the last official step.
You’re going to change your name.
Women have been doing it for centuries, so it should be easy, right?
But, thankfully for you, I am here to help you through the emotional stages of changing your name.
So let’s begin!
Stage 1: Shock
Every married woman you know warned you that changing your name would be awful.
You didn’t believe them, did you?
You figured that so-and-so must have made it a lot harder than it had to be, and you would be fine.
But then you started your “name change after marriage” Google search.
And she was right.
And you are SO overwhelmed.
And there are so many checklists- but they’re all completely different.
And they all tell you to start in different places.
What about the services you can pay to do it all for you?
The ads make it look so easy!
HitchSwitch for just $39.99 to take all of your problems away?
Sounds great… until you read the FAQs and realize you’re paying $40 to print the forms at your house and STILL do all of the work.
Okay, maybe the $99 package will work! That’s worth it, right?
… Their platinum package just means they’re just going to send you forms that they print, and you STILL do all of the work.
Doing it yourself can’t be that bad, right?
Stage 2: Denial
You can do this.
You can look at all of the websites, formulate a plan, combine all of the checklists, and everything will be fine.
Until you realize that you’ll have to make a million phone calls, contact every company you’ve ever interacted with, and somehow get a billion copies of your marriage certificate.
Didn’t you just send that thing BACK to the government?
Or was that the marriage license?
What’s the difference?
And why does every company want an official copy of the marriage certificate?
Isn’t it just a photocopy of the original? Why can’t you just make 6 copies of that?
Deep breath… it will all be fine.
Just a little time doing research, a few minutes at City Hall, a few hours on the phone with every company you’ve ever interacted with, and you’ll be done.
You can do this.
Stage 3: Anger
At some point, your “few minutes” of research time turns into hours.
Your name change call list has 50 items, and you’re not sure if you even need to contact half of the places on it.
You’re stuck behind THAT person at the Social Security office, and no amount of wine is going to keep you from screaming.
Women have been changing their names for DECADES.
Why is this still so hard?
Why are women the only ones who have to do this?
Why don’t MEN change their names?
Why do you have to decide if you want to drop your last name OR take two middle names OR hyphenate?
Why are you the one that has to get a new Social Security card, driver’s license, passport, bank cards, insurance cards, and everything else?
And what is this going to do to your credit score if ONE person mishears your new name on the phone?
Stage 4: Bargaining
So now you’ve come to your partner in a heated rage, screaming about the patriarchy and how the entire system is biased against women.
Because it obviously is.
And there is only one way out: not changing your name.
That’s totally reasonable, right?
Women changing their name in marriage is so outdated, so you’ve decided you just don’t want to do it.
Until your new husband opens his mouth.
And he tells you about how much it means to him that you’re taking his name.
That he appreciates all of the effort you’re making to change his name.
And he makes that adorable face that reminds you that his happiness is worth all of the effort.
Bonus points if this discussion involves a glass or wine or a foot rub.
Either way, you’re back at square one.
Step 5: Depression
There is no way out.
You’re going to have to suffer through this.
And it’s going to suck.
You’re going to make a million phone calls.
You’re going to stand in so many lines.
And it’s never going to end.
You’ll think you’re done, and then you’ll find out you missed something.
And then another one will come up 6 months later.
And then another one after that.
Start filling your freezer with Ben and Jerry’s now, girl.
You’re going to need it.
Step 6: Testing
Okay, deep breath.
This is going to make your new husband so happy.
And you’ve waited for years to be Mrs. (his-name-here).
Maybe it could be worth it… maybe.
While you’re on the phone with your third credit card company, you start writing your new name.
Maybe you test out your new signature while you’re changing your utilities.
Suddenly you’re making a dinner reservation and testing out your new last name.
You change your name on Facebook for the whole world to see.
Maybe you could get used to this… maybe.
Step 7: Acceptance
It’s been a rough journey, but you’ve hit the final stage: acceptance.
You’ve made all of the phone calls, signed all of the forms, and you’re done.
And, while you’ll never let him forget the labor you’ve put into taking his name, you’re slowly getting used to it being your name.
You have successfully survived the 7 stages of changing your name!
Have you changed your name after getting married? How did you survive the treacherous journey? Do you have any advice for anyone about to change their name?
Share your answers in the comments!
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