home what'snew resources ask amy news activism antiviolence events marketplace aboutus
Ask a Question!
Meet Amy!
Amy's Resource Guide
Ask Amy Main
TOPICS
Feminism
Girls/Children
Health
International
Media
Miscellaneous
Most Asked Questions
Politics
Reproductive Rights
Sexual Harassment
Violence Against Women
Women's History
Work/Career
   
 


 
 
Miscellaneous
 

To whom it may concern:

I have much to say and many questions to ask, but for now I just want to ask one question.

When I got married in '04, I changed my last name to my husband's shortly after the wedding. I never wanted to change my name, but it was very important to my husband that I accepted his name for his own religious reasons. If I said I wanted to keep my last name, he acted like he would be offended, and made me feel like I was rejecting him. The only way he convinced me to take his name was by agreeing that in the future we would permanently settle down near my family, since my family is a very close, loving family.

I now regret ever taking his last name, but I did keep my last name as part of my middle name. Changing my name goes against everything that I believe is equal treatment for women. It turns out that I'm the one that is being rejected since my husband doesn't want me to keep my last name, but take his instead. I asked him if we could combine our last names together as a symbol of being one, showing mutual respect, but he was angered by this suggestion, and condemned me for even thinking about and actually suggesting that idea to him. I have realized that I cannot be myself with my husband and expect to be accepted by him; yet he expects me to accept him because he is a male and according to his beliefs, he is the head of our union. I don't agree with the male being the head, but both female and male being the head of their own family.

I don't know what to do. I don't want to be married if I can't have someone treat me as an equal in every aspect of our life. I feel if I stay married to my husband, I will lose more of myself the longer I live as a hypocrite, by living my life the way it is now which goes against my beliefs of equality for women. I don't know if I'll ever be able to find a partner with the same values and beliefs that I possess, especially a male. I guess the main reason why I stay with my husband is for financial security, especially while I am going through school, since my family cannot afford to help me out financially. I do love my husband, but knowing that he doesn't accept who I am, and just accepts the parts of me he thinks are acceptable makes me kind of resent and hate him.

My question is: Should I do what I believe is right and be true to myself, or should I try to keep my marriage with my husband? He would probably divorce me if I changed my last name back to my birth name. I am sorry this e-mail is so long, but I really needed to talk to someone. Thanks for any advice or help you are able to offer. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thanks,

Sarah

Sarah,

I feel like the name change is really a minor point of something larger, as you yourself allude to. It's about your identity, and whether or not your husband respects who you are. In many ways, I feel like you aren't so much asking me a question, but asking me to listen to your own rationalization.

My interpretation of your question is that you want to end your marriage, and you want a reason, or to put the onus on him to initiate the end rather than you. I think that you can take these steps, and from the little you have said, it sounds like you know that you deserve more, and that you can be happier. I might be off base, but that's what I hear you saying.

Good luck and let me know how else I might be able to help

- Amy