Skip To Content

    I Legally Changed My Name When I Got Married And Here’s What I Learned

    Who knew there'd be so much confusion?

    Alice Mongkongllite / Mathew Jedeikin / BuzzFeed

    Hey there! I'm Mathew, and when I got married a few months ago, I changed my last name.

    I thought a lot about the decision to become a Jedeikin (my husband's surname) before my wedding day, but honestly didn't realize what a gigantic pain doing so would become. It's a lengthy process, and, in hindsight, I realize that I should have probably done a little more research before walking down the aisle.

    So here's what I learned about the not-as-common-as-it-used-to-be process of changing your name:

    1. First and foremost, changing your name on your marriage application won’t automatically update it in the eyes of the government. You have to visit Social Security and the DMV. In person.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    Before we go any further, I'll address the elephant in the room: I'm a dude, who married another dude, and changed my last name. I recognize that isn't a very common thing. Heck, when I met my now-husband, marriage equality wasn't yet law of the land.

    I'm mentioning this now because I honestly had no idea that I was going to need to physically visit both the DMV and Social Security office in order to legally change my name. I had this vision that everything would magically just get updated, which was 100% incorrect.

    Maybe it's because, unlike women who grow up in more traditional environments, guys aren't typically raised with the expectation that we might change our last name someday. Or maybe I'm just a total dumbass! Either way, I probably should have Googled "changing your last name" before my wedding day, because I didn't expect that I would need to take multiple mornings off work to hit up my local government agencies.

    2. Then you have to change your name on every bank account, credit card, utility bill, email, etc. Which is incredibly daunting.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    You'll need to visit some places (like banks) in person, others will make the change over the phone, and many will want you to fax or mail copies of your marriage certificate and sometimes your new identification. What surprised me was just how many companies I had to contact. Like, the list was huge. Imagine every single account and profile you've accumulated in your life needing to be changed. It's a pain!

    3. Almost every person you contact about changing your name will congratulate you on getting married, which is killer if receiving compliments makes you feel uncomfortable.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    Having to tell dozens of strangers that you recently got married is an awkward introvert’s worst nightmare. A few times, I tried to lead without the marriage part, but I’d always get asked why I made the change? So I would again have to drop the "I got married' bomb.

    Not only did I feel weird repeating the line "I got married," but when I mentioned now having my husband's last name I was essentially outing myself as a gay man to people I didn't know, which was uncomfortable. I mean, I'm a proud member of the LGBT community, but having to announce my gayness to strangers did cause extra anxiety.

    4. Customer service representatives often have no idea what to do. My name change seemed to confuse the hell out of people.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    I had to make multiple trips to the bank because they used the wrong forms, my credit card company sent me multiple copies of the same card, and even agents at government agencies weren't always helpful. For example, when I went to the Social Security office, I asked the person helping me if I would need to wait until my new Social Security card arrived before going to the DMV and he told me, "You know, that's a good question. I've been asked it before, but I have no idea."

    5. On numerous occasions, the process made me think of the D word…you know, the one that rhymes with schmivorce.

    6. Twitter and Facebook will let you change your username, but Snapchat doesn’t.

    Mathew Jedeikin

    I had to delete and re-create my Snapchat account, which does sound trivial, but I was bummed that I lost the few followers I actually had on Snapchat as a result of changing my name. Then I had to email or text my friends, asking them to accept my friend request so that we could get back to snapping.

    7. Traveling can be complicated while you're in the middle of the process.

    8. People are going to make assumptions about your relationship. In my case, people assumed that my spouse convinced me to take his last name.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    On multiple occasions, when I would say that I changed my name, people would ask David how he convinced me to do it. That joke always seemed so weird to me, because it was my idea to change my name. I have a family middle name that I wanted to pass on to our future child, and I also wanted our household to share a last name. So it made sense for me to change my last name. In fact, David encouraged me to think carefully about my decision and didn’t pressure me one way or the other.

    9. The expenses add up.

    $27 fee at the DMV, $16 for a new passport photo, then $110 for the passport. All in all, the new name cost me $153.

    10. Changing your name creates a lot of confusion, both professionally and personally.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    People who knew you by your old last name will forget. Colleagues and work contacts will be confused when you email them from a new email addy.

    Recently a friend came to visit me when I was working out of our L.A. office and he forgot that I had changed my last name. So he told the security guards he was there to see "Mathew Guiver," and they had no idea who that was. Luckily, I was sitting close to the front door, but a new name is definitely something that takes people who know you a little time to get used to.

    11. It can add pressure to your relationship.

    Mathew Jedeikin for BuzzFeed

    During a somewhat heated discussion with David, I momentarily thought about saying something to the effect of "Well, I changed my name for you." As if I should be able to win the argument because of the decision I made to change my name. Thankfully I caught myself and didn't say it. I did, however, remind myself that this was totally my decision and that I shouldn't expect special treatment because of my new last name.

    12. The process never seems to end.

    Mathew Jedeikin
    Mathew Jedeikin

    Whenever I feel like I’m done, another place where I need to change my name comes up. College and high school records, voter registration, frequent flyer travel accounts. Somehow, I actually still have more things to change.

    13. Although it can be complicated and stressful, getting a new name can feel like you've been given a fresh start.