The ‘Married Name’ Conundrum!


“You didn’t change your name ?” 

“No I didn’t because… “

I have answered it so many times now in the last few months.

No I am not offended by the question since it is a norm for centuries and so people are curious when someone decides not to change their name. And then comes the second question

“What would your name be if you had decided to change?”

“Ermm..” …the conversation continues for 30 more minutes as I explain the various aspects of a south-Indian name.

So this post is to explain the answer for the above question.

Being a South Indian in the United States (I felt) that this name change has a lot of layers to it and gets complicated.

Here is why:

We have no family names

My last name is my dad’s first name. I don’t have a family name like Smith or Reddy or Shah. So if I do have to change my name , my new last name would be my husband’s first name.

In my husband’s case , his last name is his dad’s first name. So even if I change my name , we both have different last names anyway.

I am JV and the husband is RG

If I change I will be JR and he remains RG

Having a hyphenated name

Say I do want to change and do justice to my maiden name, I can be hyphenated with three first names

My first name, my dad’s first name- my husband’s first name


And say the husband wants to be fair and take my last name and hyphenate it :

His first name, my dad’s first name-his dad’s first name


Or say I take his last name so that we both have the same names I am either

My first name, my dad- his dad



My first name, his dad – my dad


And yet we have no last name 😛

Being referred by last name

Being in a country where you are mostly referred to by your last name , being married just confuses people more. Especially if I am assumed to have gone through the norm.

  • Anyone who see’s R’s name first is going to address me as Mrs G, which isn’t right since G is his dad.
  • Anyone who see’s my present name but knows I am married is going to address me as Mrs V, which isn’t right either since V is my dad
  • People who know me or those in India will call me Mrs R , which is alright but still isn’t my name

FYI – The preferred way of addressing me is Jan, Janani or Ms. V 🙂

Coming back to having same last names:

Since I am really not against (would have preferred) having the same last name I did think through it. If we did want the same last names , we could have

  1. Decided on a common name that relates to our roots and made a change
  2. Agreed on one of the hyphenated forms
  3. Either of us could take the other’s last name

Since neither were ready to give up the names we grew up with (and since it was too complicated) , we decided to make no changes to our names !!

P.S. I did (kindof) bug R about the fact that nobody would ask/asked him about his name while I faced this question almost every other day.

And this post was a mix of (my) logic and humor and it is not to judge/offend anybody.

What are you thoughts on name changes after marriage? Do you have an experience to share? Did you/did you not change your name? Please do share your stories here with me 🙂







23 thoughts on “The ‘Married Name’ Conundrum!

  1. oh wow so many permutation combinations!! 😀 I didn’t change my last name either. It’s already too long and if I add one more title I will no longer be able to fill any application 🙂


  2. Wow, that is an intensely complicated last name conundrum! I’ve often debated about whether or not I would change my name if/when I marry, but I never knew how complicated last names could be in other cultures. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My parents never changed their names either. There’s a really adorable family vlogger on YouTube, the SacconeJolys, that also hyphenated their names. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whew! That’s complicated. I changed my name. If I get married again I’ll hyphenate .

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ha ha ,.. nice post.. even though made me laugh, there is message to all females..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. hahaha.. so true. Forget US, even in India I face this problem on a daily basis. I dont have a last name either. So I get mails from banks as Me-Husband-Father in law. Yes even my credit card. As a norm, I check what they have written, I repeat the warning on the last name. But still have to get it corrected many times.

    Some in the family believe we should just add a last name and end the confusion. I disagree. The confusion is not my problem, its theirs. Deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

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