Q: About 3 months ago my girlfriend told me her new born son was indeed mine after 9 months of thinking it was her ex’s. When the child was born he was given the ex boyfriends last name. We have plans on getting married. Everything about our relationship seems to be fine accept when i suggest changing the childs last name to mine. She tells me that my name sounds stupid and that his first and middle name do not go with it. I have suggested hyphonating the name but she feels that it would only subject our son to harrasment when he starts school. I am hardly a deadbeat dad, i am doing all i can to support her and my son, working over time, i even joined the marine corpse for her. Is my request unreasonable?

A: No. You are not being unreasonable. Naming a child is a powerful, powerful thing. Whether a child is born to us or adopted, naming is part of claiming our child as our own. No matter how hard you try to be big about it, it will likely influence your relationship with your child if he carries the name of her former lover instead of yours. Your girlfriend is a foolish young woman indeed if she insists on making such an important decision on the basis of something as superficial as how she thinks a name sounds or if she exercises some kind of veto power. This needs to be a mutual decision. You both need to be comfortable with the name your child will be carrying to adulthood.
How the two of you work out the issues around naming your son will say a lot about whether or not this relationship will survive. You’ve become parents before you’ve become a solid couple. I hope the two of you find ways to work better as a team, with both of you making compromises for the sake of your family.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Nov 2006

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2006). Mother of my child won’t accecpt my last name. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/11/13/mother-of-my-child-wont-accecpt-my-last-name/