Change Names, Change Identity?
Just because you’re changing names doesn’t have to mean you’re changing your identity. Or does it? The reality is that it’s up to you. A name is often where our identity begins, but as many new brides soon learn, it is just a name. While it is a powerful label that includes us with a small group of people, or can be changed to exclude us from a prior life, it’s the attitude that goes with changing names that will really determine where our identity lies.
‘Individuals who legally change name often ask us about a name change driving a change of identity’ says Easy Name Change founder and director, Genevieve Dennis. ‘I am obliged to inform candidates who are looking at legally changing names that it cannot be done to evade legal obligations, such as debts or court action.’ Providing you’re not running from such problems, you can change your name for almost any other reason. Individuals who legally change names usually report a higher level of confidence and are happier both immediately after and long into the future once the change has been made.
On the other side we have new brides, who often feel a sense of angst about changing names. These women have had the same name their whole lives, and change is thrust upon them. While most brides aren’t usually happy about changing names and can mourn the loss of their prior identity, they usually fall into their new name rather quickly and get on with life. For these women, changing names can feel like a change of identity, especially as they may have a small period of time where they feel the loss of their previous life, but they ‘honeymoon’ period carries them over and they generally feel optimistic about the future and life together as a member of a new family.
Finally, we have divorcees, who often look forward to a fresh identity after changing names. The women most likely to change names after divorce are younger wives without children. There is no feeling they need to remain attached to an unwanted name, and reverting back to their maiden name becomes part of the cleansing process after an unwanted marriage. Divorees often feel relieved as they see all their identification change back to their once familiar name and they no longer feel like the ex-wife, and feel they become a whole new identity.
Identity runs deeper than the name printed on your driver’s license, and while Easy Name Change are the experts at getting this and all your other identification and records changed over, it’s your head space that will dictate where your identity lies. If you are keen to get the feeling of a whole new identity, your name change may come with a relocation to a new town, a new job, new friends and a new haircut. All this can help you move onto a new chapter in your life. You may also be a wife, mother, husband or son, you can change names to aid in affirming or distancing yourself as one of these people. Most people that change names often do claim a feeling of changed identity, but it’s up to you how far you want to roll with it.
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