The Last Name Debate

While B and I don’t typically argue, one argument that we have had these past 8½ months is on the subject of the last name of our child. This is not typically a problem for married couples as most husbands and wives share a last name, although not always. B and I do not share a last name, nor are we married. He staunchly believes and will adamantly argue that in our particular case a daughter should take her mother’s last name and a son should take his father’s. Since we are having a boy he believes that our son should have his last name. No ifs, ands or buts. I never have heard this logic before and although his cousin “confirmed” the idea for me I am still unsure.

My friend who has is unmarried and has a daughter with her longtime boyfriend decided to give her a hyphenated last name rationalizing to me, “there isn’t a ring on my finger.” I am more inclined to agree with her theory. While I have no doubt that B will be a good father and present in his son’s life regardless of our relationship status, I am unsure about ceding full last name to him. I have tried to compromise by saying that we could do a hyphenated last name or use both last names, but have our son formally use his last name for school, etc. B refuses to budge on his position. Whenever I bring up the topic he shuts it down and gets incensed like I’m insulting him and his “manhood.” I feel like since there is no guarantee for our relationship (not that marriages necessarily have any guarantees) my last name should probably be included as well.

To be honest I care much less about the issue than he does, but I do think it is an interesting debate. Is this more of an issue for men than women? Somehow it feels as though he is territorial about his son having his last name to pass on. Ironically, although B puts up the argument of sons carrying on their father’s last name, he has his mother’s last name. I haven’t decided what to do yet, but time is flying by and I have about a month to make a final decision on the last name of baby.

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About Brickhouse

This little box cannot contain me, but I'll give it a shot: Black college grad, mother-to-be, broke, educator, activist & writer embarking on a new journey. Trying to document this crazy world surrounding me in hopes of retaining/gaining sanity.
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4 Responses to The Last Name Debate

  1. Not that I’m anywhere near an expert on this debate, but I have never heard the logic he’s using either, nor does it make sense to me. Why should the gender of the child matter? Is it more “his” child if it’s a boy? Silly. Hyphenation seems like the fair way to go.

  2. ewoman88 says:

    So odd… O.o
    Personally I decided to go with J’s last name for our son because it’s simply easier to say and spell than mine 😀
    It’s not something he deserves to be territorial over really, since you’re the one who’s doing all the work here don’t you get final say on the name? 😛

  3. Brickhouse says:

    Right? Although I have told him (perhaps more antagonistically than necessary) that the final say lies with me, I feel like I don’t have too much of a problem with the baby having B’s last name. I have a problem with him feeling like it is his right when honestly all he has done so far is impregnate me and attend occasional doctor’s appointments. I had never heard of the son taking the man’s last name regardless of marital status so it seems ridiculous to me.

  4. In my opinion, if he hasn’t put a ring on it, you should hyphenate the name. As a traditionalist, I believe children should have their father’s name (especially boys). It doesn’t really matter for girls because if they get married, they’ll change it anyway. You may know that Hispanics always use both names. My best friend is from Venezuela and her name is Bridgette Saenz y Gustav (w/Gustav being her mother’s name). However, at school and in her professional life she simply uses Bridgette Saenz. When she marries her fiancé, her name will change to Bridgette Saenz y Gustav y Williams (yep, she’s marrying a Brit)! XOXO

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