I had someone ask me recently, why didn’t I leave my married name after my divorce? Well, in a nutshell, here’s why. The time I was married meant a lot to me. But after the marriage, I had to forge my identity. I was no longer a wife, or an aunt, or a sister or daughter in law. It was me. The hats I wore changed. That doesn’t mean that I regret my marriage. I don’t. Changing a person’s name shouldn’t mean that they never want to be identified by a relationship. It just means that they are reflecting who they are. It’s been almost fifteen years since I divorced him. For me, it’s been a metamorphosis. I’ve been able to grow and learn without restricting myself. I’ve found myself learning what real love is and being okay with who I am and where I want to be.
First, let me say that I hope and pray none of you ever have to go through a divorce. It’s painful, and a slew of emotions swirl around inside you that is difficult to explain unless you’ve been through it. You can love a person and not be able to be with them. That was the case for me. I know he loved me. But I also know that it wasn’t a healthy love. Love is helping each other through the best and worst times. Our perception is a funny thing. In my view, he never showed me the same kind of support I showed him. That’s okay. I don’t hate him. A part of me will always love him. We spent a lot of years together. I loved him enough to let him go. He’s now with someone that he could have a family with and I’ve figured out who I am. I’m no longer the same woman he was with – and I’m glad. That woman couldn’t tell someone off like I now can. She was a doormat that people walked over and she didn’t know how to fight back in a relationship. I do now. In many ways, my divorce allowed me to have a complete metamorphosis into who I truly am.
Why change my name? It was a personal decision that I felt was right for me. Many aspects of my life changed. Divorce can be tougher than death. Death is permanent. You know the other person isn’t coming back, but divorce is different. You have the potential of seeing that person again. I no longer wanted to be seen as his wife. I wanted recognition for who I am. I’ve become stronger, educated, focused, and driven.
When I look back on our relationship, I recognize that it takes two to make a marriage work. Honesty is critical in any relationship. If you can’t trust your partner, you have nothing, and no amount of repair will last if you aren’t honest with each other. If children are involved in the divorce, there needs to be communication with everyone who will be affected. Children get attached to families, and splitting those families up, can often have a long-lasting impact.
If you decide to change your name, make sure that you have thought through the reasons why. You decided to marry the person when you thought it would be forever. You may want a clean slate, and that’s okay. Weigh your options carefully. Be comfortable with your decisions. If there are children involved, you may want to hold onto the married name for them. These are decisions that only you can make. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. It’s your life that is affected. Make the decision that is right for you.