When a man and woman get married, the assumption is that the wife will take her husband's last name. There are variations, of course. Some women keep their maiden names for various reasons (professional, children from a previous relationship) or the couple will hyphenate. However, in today's society, it is still a very rare thing for the husband to take the wife's name.
Non-hetero marriages are different. When two women or two men get married, both last names are up for grabs. They may hyphenate or keep their respective names (especially if they are not out at work, for example). However, the conversation has to happen in order for the couple to decide what they are going to do.
Bo and I had a quick conversation about it and discovered we were both on the same page. I am taking her last name. And there are several reasons for it.
When Monty and I divorced, I kept my married name. The kids were young, and it made more sense to me at the time to have the same last name they do. In addition, I didn't want to have my father's last name, and moving to something different would have been unnecessarily complicated. So I kept my married name.
Because of that, when Bo and I got engaged our choices were for both of us to keep our respective names, for her to take the last name of my ex-husband, or for me to take her last name. Neither of us wanted to hyphenate, partly because of the length of her last name.
I didn't want to keep our respective last names. One of the joys of being able to legally get married in the U.S. is to legally pronounce that relationship to the world, including with a name change. I can legally take the name of my wife as an outward sign of our love and devotion. Why wouldn't I do that?
So that left us with one of us taking the other's last name. Bo wasn't comfortable taking my last name because it's not my maiden name. (For some reason, she doesn't want to share my ex-husband's last name. Who would have guessed....) I agreed with her, and realized that I didn't really want it, either.
Yes, it's the kids' last name, but the kids are comfortable in the idea that not everyone in their family has the same last name they do. They understand that family is as much love and desire as it is name and blood. So it doesn't bother me at all anymore to have a different last name than theirs.
In addition, my current last name is representative of something that isn't me anymore. It's from a very different time in my life, It's appropriate that my new last name will be much more who I am.
I'll have to practice signing the new name.