Fury Over Man Demanding Kids Inherit 'Humorous' Surname if They Get Married

A father-of-two's insistence that his kids inherit his unique double-barreled surname has sparked fiery debate on social media.

In a post shared to Mumsnet under the handle Snoozingandlosing12, his partner described how the couple "would both quite like to get married" but are currently at loggerheads over what surname their children will be given.

It's common for children to inherit their father's surname. While research on the subject is limited, a 2010 study published in the journal Gender and Society found that 97 percent of married couples only passed down the father's last name to their first child.

A more recent 2015 analysis by the New York Times blog The Upshot found roughly 30 percent of women that had been married in recent years kept their maiden names in some form.

The issue at the center of this particular Mumsnet post is a little more complex than that. While the woman writing the post has no overt desire to retain her maiden name, she is opposed to her children having her partner's double-barreled surname describing it was not "nice sounding" and "humorous."

A family and a birth certificate.
Stock images of a family and a birth certificate. A dad has sparked anger over his refusal to make any concessions when it comes to giving his children a surname. fizkes/Stu49/Getty

Initially, they agreed on a situation that saw her kids given her surname first and the second part of his surname. "I'm not keen on this," she wrote. "I would prefer they just have my surname or just the second part of his surname."

However, her partner has now rejected this, saying he "feels strongly tied" to both parts of his surname and would be "hurt" if his children did not have it.

Even so, his partner remains concerned that his children could end up with a name that is "hard to pronounce" and that they "could be teased" as a result.

Reflecting on the dilemma, Terri DiMatteo, a licensed professional counselor based in New Jersey, acknowledged that disagreements of this kind were common among modern complex as "families and names evoke powerful meanings and emotions."

"The man in this dilemma has powerful feelings about his surname, and his partner must consider and validate his feelings," she told Newsweek. "Likewise, the man must also honor the woman's concern about the comedic-sounding name."

DiMatteo said it's crucial that the couple make efforts to "engage in a deeper conversation about what's important to them and their feelings about it."

"In the beginning stages of difficult decision-making, acknowledging each other's position and feelings is necessary, not agreement," she said. "Although most are quick to focus on arriving at a solution, expressions of compassion and empathy help to protect the relationship, which must always come first."

She also urged the couple not to rush into making a permanent and lasting decision.

"They might consider a name but wait to act on legalizing it for a few days. They can then reconvene to discuss it again," DiMatteo said. "While they may not develop a 'perfect' solution that pleases everyone, the decision needs to be one in which resentment doesn't fester, as simmering resentment slowly erodes a relationship."

Mumsnet user Stealthninjamum suggested they consult the kids, writing: "Let them decide. I'm sure they'd agree with you." Devoutspoken, meanwhile, thought the dad was being overly precious. "He is being ridiculous to be attached to a name," they said. "Millions of women lose their name every day."

Elsewhere, SeaToSki felt the whole debacle should set alarm bells ringing for his partner. "If this is an obstacle to him wanting to marry you, it seems like he needs to work on his compromising and relationship skills before you agree to marry him," they said. BIWI concurred, commenting: "I'm wondering if he actually doesn't want to get married. It sounds like a very weak excuse."

Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.

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