Two and a half years after our divorce, my ex has met someone he is serious about. I kept my married last name to show my relation to our son - my ex and I have joint custody. The new girlfriend is uncomfortable that I didn't go back to my maiden name and has requested that I do so. Should I have to? - A.W., 28, Houston
Related: How to Have a Better Relationship
You don't have to change your name if you don't want to. Legally, it's your name. The new girlfriend doesn't like it? "Too bad/so sad," as my resident teen likes to say. The girlfriend, and possibly your ex, will grumble for a while, but they'll get over it.
This situation does raise a good question, however: What is in a name? Having the same name as your son makes it easier for people to send you a Christmas card, but other than that, it's not truly what connects you to him, or to any family member. And while it's certainly natural to want to share your son's name, down the road it might become a moot issue: If and when you remarry, are you going to tell your new beloved that you want to hang on to your ex-husband's last name?
Related: The Best Mom Moments
Related: Easy Ways to Feel Closer to Your Partner
Karen Karbo is an award-winning writer and author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Check out more advice from Karen.
Need smart advice?
Maybe your best friend is suddenly acting strangely. Or your parents or in-laws are making you nuts. Or your sister always takes your mom's side in an argument, instead of yours. Whatever's bugging or perplexing you - about your friends, brother, sister, parents, in-laws, husband, you name it - REDBOOK's Karen Karbo has the smart advice you need. Email your questions, rants, and worries to her at email@example.com and please include your initials, age, city and state. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.
More from REDBOOK:
Could You Go a Week Without Yelling?
Have the Hottest Sex of Your Life…with Your Husband
- 6 Shocking Reasons Why Men Stray
- Get a Flat Tummy in 2 Minutes
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 84%!
Connect with REDBOOK:
- Become our Fan on Facebook
- Sign Up for REDBOOK's Free Weekly Newsletter
- Follow Us on Twitter
- Enter to Win FREE Daily Prizes
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.