Day 164 – Why I Kept My Name

I’ve had several people ask me “so, are congratulations in order, MRS. Curl? (showing full teeth – full smile)” Or more bluntly, “are you changing your name?” I was sort of put off guard by the question because I never considered changing my name when I got married. Since it has raised more eyebrows than anticipated, let me explain. (I honestly didn’t think it was a big deal – we do live in 2011 but apparently, it is.)

I’ve already changed my name once – identity issue

When I became a US citizen, I changed my first name to “Jeena.” I was born in Korea and immigrated to the US when I was 10. My given name is Jee Hyun, which no one in my elementary school could say properly. So, kids started calling me “Jee-na” and it became my nickname. The name stuck and when I became a US citizen, I had my name legally changed to Jeena JeeHyun Cho. It was a tough decision then because I felt very strongly that my name represents who I am and I liked my name.

Pain Factor

For those of you who have never gone through a legal name change, let me tell you – it’s a pain. Sending proof of name change for everything that has your name on it, driver’s license, social security card, passport, bank accounts, credit card accounts, the list goes on and on. Just consider that for a moment – that’s A LOT of people and companies to notify. After extremely frustrating 6 or so months of getting my name corrected on everything, I decided I was going to remain Jeena JeeHyun Cho until the day I died.

Fast forward 10 years later, I get married and I’m faced with the decision of “do I change my name again?” Changing your name on your driver’s license is one thing but how about intellectual property such as www.jeenacho.com? What happens to that? Do I now go buy www.jeenacurl.com too? What about facebook? Do I now claim www.facebook.com/jeenacurl?

What about the 100+ cases that I am actively managing (or have managed previously) which all has my name as “Jeena J. Cho, Esq”? Who’s going to prepare and file all those Notice of Name Change? Yep. You got it. That responsibility of filing all those notices, getting new diplomas ordered, updating my name with the bar association would all fall on me. And this pisses me off. I get married, and I (not he) has to lose my name, yet I am fully responsible for implementing the change. Ugh.

At the end of the day, there is really no good or bad reason/excuse/explanation (call it what you want) for why I didn’t change my name but it simply boils down to – I didn’t want to. The only person who would have any say in the matter – namely Jeff is okay with me being his wife as Ms. Cho. Jeff and I want to be married and we are very happy. I don’t feel at all that being Mrs. Curl would either make me more or less committed to my relationship. Make no mistake, I’m in it – 100%. I just don’t feel I need to change my name to prove it.

Split the baby options

I did briefly consider other options such as both Jeff and I changing our last names to make some sort of combination of the two, adopting a whole new last name, etc. None of that just seemed right. I’ve been living 33 years as Jeena Cho and I’ll just be happier staying that way. Incidentally, when I brought up the subject of Jeff changing his name, he sort of laughed and dismissed it immediately.

It’s all about making choices that are going to make you happy. Common! We do live in 2011. I am not his chattel. (Even though Jeff disputes this. 🙂 )

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Susanna March 25, 2012 at 6:03 pm

LOL, I can’t believe this is still a subject that needs discussion! I got married the first time in 1970, at the ripe old age of 18. I couldn’t wait to change my name from a difficult name that everyone mispronounced to one that I liked. Big surprise, that marriage ended after 3 years, and I kept my married name. Then I remarried and I kept my same (first married) name. By that time I had a profession and it seemed appropriate. Besides, my husband had been married twice before and there were too many Mrs. Cobbs in the area (should have told me something. . .). Fast forward another decade. Mr. Cobb was deceased and I married a third time. This time my husband would have been very hurt had I kept the name I’d been using all of my adult life, so I adopted his last name.

That was nearly 25 years ago.

One of my sisters took her husband’s name, one has kept her maiden name through 30+ years of marriage.

I can’t believe we’re still talking about this!

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