This Woman Doesn't Want To Go Through The Hassle Of Changing Her Last Name Back After Getting Divorced — Now Her Ex Is "Uncomfortable," And She Wants To Know If She's In The Wrong

    "Due to the stupidity of the time and social pressure, I added my husband's last name to my name. So all my documents, like identification, driver's license, passport, all credit cards, and voter registration card, have his last name at the end."

    Marriage can be great. But unfortunately, sometimes it ends in divorce. Which raises the question: If you changed your last name when you got married, are you obligated to change it back if the marriage ends?

    That's exactly what Reddit user u/TAlastname (or OP, for original poster) wants to know. She recently posted in the Am I the Asshole subreddit — a place where people ask the internet if they're the ones in the wrong — wondering if she's being a jerk for refusing to change her last name back after her divorce. Let's dive right in, shall we?

    Here are the details, according to OP:

    "My ex-husband (whom I'll call him by his fake name, Tony) and I broke up two years ago after 26 years of marriage. We have four children together."

    OP continued, "Due to the stupidity of the time and social pressure, I added my husband's last name to my name. So all my documents, like identification, driver's license, passport, all credit cards, and voter registration card, have his last name at the end. We ended amicably due to the circumstances (he is gay), and we divorced."

    After going through all that trouble, OP isn't too keen on changing her name back on paper. "Honestly, it would suck to go to government agencies, pay for everything new, and go to the bank to change everything. So I don't want to take out his last name, but I introduce myself with my maiden name. Only in the documents is it his name."

    Which brings us to the situation at hand: "Tony is currently engaged to a guy, and they are going to get married in the next year. Our son and his family decided to travel, and they invited me. He asked for my ID to make the reservations."

    She added, "A few days later, me, Tony and his fiancé were at my grandson's party. Our son said jokingly in the conversation circle that he couldn't believe that I hadn't changed my last name. I laughed, saying that I was too lazy to rush to change everything that has his name on it."

    OP said, "Tony started to ask if I really hadn't changed my name, and if I didn't think that [him] being engaged to someone else was the best time to change it, and he insisted that it was weird of me."

    She added, "I just replied, 'Unless you can go in my place, spend hours and hours in lines, and pay hundreds for it, I won't do it in the near future.' We stopped talking, and the party flowed smoothly."

    OP added, "Later, he called me and said I was acting weird and [being] a jerk for refusing to change the name, which he said was uncomfortable [for him]. I asked our son, and he said he understands my side of not wanting to do this, but he also understands Tony's side of being uncomfortable with his ex using his last name after the divorce."

    OP explained, "I don't intend to never change; I just don't want to go through it right now."

    Naturally, people had some thoughts, and pretty much everyone sided with OP. Some commented on the fact that Tony should have a little perspective on how tedious it can be to change your last name:

    "If having his ex share a last name with him bothers him that much, then maybe he should take his fiancé's name after they marry."


    "Absolutely. I hope he takes his new husband’s name when he gets married so he can see what a pain it is to change it."


    "In part this speaks to male privilege. We’re expected to go through the rigmarole of changing our name and are then expected to change it back, but it’s actually a massive pain in the ass. Also, what if you have built a career under that name? Your hesitancy is completely understandable."


    Others noted that if OP changed her name back, she may no longer have the same last name as her children:

    "Plus, there are kids, adult or not. Right now she has the same last name of at least one of them. Changing it would make that stop being the case. That was what impacted my mom after the divorce. She says changing it felt like it would be 'rejecting the kids.'"


    "It’s customary that men demand women take on their last name and that the children also get the man’s last name. At that point, I think the man also needs to accept that in the event of a divorce, the woman might not want to change her identity or have a different last name than her kids. So men might start to consider taking on their wife's last name if they have a problem with this, or come up with a different solution."


    And finally, a few even chimed in with their own experiences keeping their ex's last name postdivorce:

    "When I divorced my abusive ex-husband, he sent me a text saying I needed to give up his last name because I 'didn’t deserve it.' He didn’t go by his last name, but I, as a teacher, went by my last name more than I did my first name, and I liked his last name. After I talked it over with my therapist, she said, 'Keep it. He gave it to you as a gift, and you can’t take back gifts. You earned it. It’s your name to do with as you will.' I figure one day I might change it if the situation ever arises, but it hasn’t happened yet."


    "My ex demanded I drop his surname. I got nothing from our decadelong marriage. No alimony despite being a stay-at-home mom (yay, financial abuse), and no portion of the house. I kept his name because it's the name I'm an established artist under. It also felt like the one shred of power I had in the situation."


    What do you think of the situation? Is OP right in not wanting to change her last name, or should she consider Tony's feelings about it? As always, sound off in the comments.

    And for more drama-filled stories — like the woman who showed her husband her underwear to prove she wasn't on her period — click here.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.