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Three Marriages, One Name Change

On Huffington Post today. 

For 43 years I was Tracy Sutton. A good, solid WASP-y name, if a bit juvenile. (At least I don’t spell it Traci with a heart over the “i”). No one mispronounced it. Rarely was I ever asked how do you spell Sutton? And Sutton enjoys a certain Google imperviousness. I liked the anonymity. There are a bazillion Tracy Suttons on the planet.

Oh sure, it wasn’t a name immune to ridicule. Sutton rhymes with glutton and mutton. My aunt used to make fun of her little brother Bobby (my father) by calling him “Sobby Button.” But let’s face it, Sutton has the dulcet tones of WASP establishment. They name Restoration Hardware sofas after Sutton. It’s Anglo-Saxon, but a little less common than Brown or Jones. It has a whiff of snobbery. Sutton Place in New York City, for example. And it’s edgy too — Willie Sutton the bank robber.

I also have a long-established pedigree as a Sutton (if you go in for that sort of thing). I’m descended from a George Sutton who came over to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634 and became a Quaker, and later his offspring got hung as witches and such. It’s a true-blue American name. When people meet a Tracy Sutton they think “oh, what a nice ordinary person” and then they immediately forget you, because it is such an ordinary, forgettable name.

So imagine the act of rebellion it was to chuck it for “Schorn.” A name that 99.9 times out of 100 is mispronounced as “Scorn.” The c is silent. It’s pronounced “shorn,” as in — to hack off all your hair. Of ambiguous origins, the name may be Germanic, referring to an archaic term for shovel. (Sutton means “south of the town”… not that I’m comparing or anything. People of the shovel. People south of town. Which would you rather be?)

When I married my husband, changing my name to Schorn just seemed like the right thing to do. It meant a lot to him, and it’s an honor I did not confer on my two previous husbands. (Who, for the record, both had English, easy-to-pronounce surnames.)

I fully expected to be Tracy Sutton for life. I also intended in both previous relationships, to be married for life. It didn’t work out that way. I married my first husband when I was young and over the next 10 years, he descended into mental illness, for which he refused to seek treatment. The divorce was terribly sad and terribly necessary. My second marriage was brief and disastrous. I learned 6 months after the wedding that he had a double life and was a serial cheater. One small consolation as a two-time divorcee is that I didn’t have to get a new passport. Sutton remained constant even if my personal life was a train wreck.

And so I would’ve remained — safe, single, and Sutton — but for Paul. We met in New Orleans at Jazzfest in front of Solomon Burke, the world’s sexiest 400-lb man wearing a purple sequined suit, crooning “Cry to Me.” The trajectory of my life after that encounter was not what I expected. Paul might have been a Hurricane-induced fling, except that he is a Texas trial lawyer and Texas trial lawyers are renowned for their powers of persuasion. After a long-distance courtship, I married him. Really, I’m still not sure how I got here. I like to say he sweet talked me all the way to Texas. Which is a feat when you consider there are a 100 days of 100-degree temperatures here, snakes, scorpions and Rick Perry. He’s thatgood.

When I met Paul, he was recently divorced after a long-term marriage to a serial cheater. His life was also not what he had expected either. His ex-wife had used his name for over 20 years, but had never legally changed it. When he discovered her infidelities and divorced, she went back to her maiden name. He said the change made him feel relieved, because when a person steals 22 years from you, hey, the least they can do is give you back your name.

As a Catholic, he considered an annulment, but couldn’t do it because he didn’t want his children to feel illegitimate. I’m Protestant, so our marriage wouldn’t be considered valid in the Catholic Church anyway. But the idea of annulment — that a marriage is null because it was never entered into as a sacrament, with the true spirit of commitment — felt true for us both. We both had profoundly screwed up when it came to choosing life partners in the past. We were chumps. And although we were chumps who filed for divorces, we were people who sincerely valued commitment. My first husband chose his illness over his marriage, and my second husband chose his affair partners over his marriage. They had entered into those unions retaining a dysfunctional sort of autonomy. They held back. They “committed” with two fingers crossed behind their backs. You can have this symbol of unity, but not the substance of it.

Perhaps at some level I had sensed that, because I never felt compelled to change my name for them. Not that you cannot keep your name and be committed. Of course you can. But when I was a younger Sutton, I could stand apart on paper and retain my identity. I could say, I’m not with that guy. We’re not kin. I held back too, even if it was just my name.

With Paul, especially after both of our nightmares with infidelity, I wanted to demonstrate to him that I was jumping in with both feet. That my commitment was total. That it would be an honor to wear his name. He had never had a wife who legally changed her name for him before. And I had never legally changed my name for anyone. This was ours.

So I took Sutton as my middle name and jettisoned “Marion.” (Not such a hardship, really.) My marriage has the substance of unity, but this time I got the symbolism too. I went Old School. Taking my husband’s name felt (and still feels, three years later) like my one, true marriage. The past is annulled and this is who I belong with. I want everyone from the schoolteacher to the airport security officer to the pharmacist to see I’m with that guy. We’re kin. I’m a Schorn.

Not Scorn. S-C-H-O-R-N. ShhhhORN. The c is silent. Thank you.

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  • The whole taking-the-name business is a pretty deep thing to ponder. I took my first husband’s name when I married at 22 (mostly to get rid of my very ethnic maiden name and to trade “up” for a waspy last name). However, I too dropped my original middle name (Susan) and used the aforementioned ethnic maiden name as my new middle name. It’s hard to give up our roots totally, isn’t it? I have kept the waspy name for decades, even during my second marriage, which is now being dissolved. I was NEVER tempted to take my second husband’s name, and I’m sure it irked him that I still carried another man’s moniker. The whole name-taking business is very personal, and even though I’m generally a traditionalist, I’m glad that I live in a time when people have a choice as to how they wish to be known. It’s no longer O’Somebody, or Somebody’s-son, or Ibn Somebody. Now we can hyphenate, combine, or even invent new names to define our relationships. It’s all about personal choice, which is just fine by me.

  • This one is rather esoteric CL. Probably, a lot of elements of culture there. My mother never changed her name…but she has a devoted husband in my father. While I changed. I am known by that name in all my circles. All my certificates and acknowledgements bear my name. It is traditional to refer to people’s work in academia as (Sutton, 2005) and it is attributed to a book or a paper that you wrote in 2005. So, who knows that (Sutton, 2005) is the same person as (Schorn, 2012). I mean your work is global…and people know that there is a Sutton, who writes good stuff in international business. As a Schorn, you are a newcomer in 2012…well well well…It is all in the name.

    My son says that he would remove his father’s title from his name when he would reach matriculation (when technically you can change in India). But, then why does he need to do that? Cos he doesn’t want to carry the burden of identity of his father on his name…well good…but…I don’t mind either way. There is no copyright on a name…

  • I never thought I’d marry, never mind change my name but off I went and did both. Now I’m known professionally by my married name so for now I’ll keep it but I do think eventually I’ll change it back to my maiden name. I never really liked my married name – I did it for practical reasons that are too hard to explain here – and I do like my maiden name very much. It goes with my first name much better, actually. Things to ponder….

  • CL, I know exactly what you mean. I changed my name 26 years ago when I married my cake-eating ex, as I was just graduating from law school. We were married for 25 years and he was never committed as he should have been, he led a double life and always had one foot out the door (though I did not know it till D-day last year). As you said, he committed with two fingers crossed behind his back. Now, I am advanced in my career as an attorney, and his last name which is mine, is well known and incidentally somewhat unusual. Still, I recently got engaged and I KNOW that I want my fiance’s name. Due to kids with my ex’s last name and logistics of my career, I feel forced to keep my ex’s name, but I am going to hyphenate it with my fiance’s name, to be my new last name. My fiance is thrilled, and I know what you mean about realizing the commitment and unity and wanting to celebrate it with the name. Also, my fiance and I were both married Catholic– I would love to annul that sham of a marriage, but I cannot bear the thought of doing that to my children or having any further contact or dealings with or about my ex. And my fiance does not want to take that step (annulment), though he was also a chump (but if there are degrees of chumpdom his was a lot less dramatic and not long-term), due to his children, and because he does not want to open up that sort of animosity with his ex, with whom he has maintained a reasonable relationship over the years since his divorce. Again, you’ve hit the nail on the head!

  • “I had never legally changed my name for anyone. This was ours.”
    You were a married-name virgin. And so was he. Kind of cool that you got to try that out together.

    I hyphenated my STBXH’s last name with my maiden one. Once I get divorced I am looking forward to getting his stinking ring off my finger, but am not sure what to do about my name. I like having the last name of my children. Don’t know why this is important to me, but it is. So I may hang onto it for that reason. Maybe.

  • I took my husband’s last name–traded one awkward and mispronounced last name (Hey, EVERYONE is dyslexic!) for another one. I am a traditionalist, too. I would be married forever, and we would live under one family name. I was thrilled, and I think he felt honored, as well, though, being adopted and then abandoned by his adoptive father, his last name carried a lot of ambiguous feelings for him. No matter! We were starting our own family!

    And all my children’s friends called me “Mrs. MarriedName,” which amused and delighted me. When I divorced my cheater, one of my favorite of my children’s friends awkwardly started with, “Mrs. Marr–oh…sorry….”

    “No,” I told him, “Don’t be sorry! That’s who I am! I earned it. I’m not giving it up. That is my name, and you can continue to call me that.” Many of my friends still call me “Mrs. MarriedName” because they know I love it, and they are amused by the formality of it all, as well. I love it, too. I still refer to myself that way.

    Either way. I may be referred to as “Stephanie,” or “[X]’s mom.” It’s all good.

    One thing I won’t do is yield my earned and beloved last name to the whore.

    Further, when helping my kids take care of business-banking, healthcare, what have you, I want there to be no question as to who I am–and one word, my last name, deflects the question, “And you are?” My name makes it clear, I am this child’s mom.

    So, yes, I ticked the box on my divorce paperwork that allows me to change my last name to my maiden name–but I likely won’t.

    If I ever change my name, it’ll be for a man who loves me and wants me to be his wife.

  • This is a timely post.
    As of last Friday, I can legally go back to my maiden name, after 19 years.
    I hyphenated my name when I got married, as it seemed a good compromise. Still who I am, but acknowledging my commitment, being linked to the kids. Now that I kids are older, I am less concerned about sharing a name with them. They are verbal, they can say who they are, and who I am.

    I spent the last 19 years somewhat regretting the hyphen for practical reasons. Computers cannot deal with the hyphen, my passport and ticket names frequently do not match; people would only use the end part (ex’s name) etc.

    I am published under married hyphenated name, but have decided I will publish under maiden name from here on out. Both my first and last names are relatively uncommon, though common together (if that makes sense). But, no one else has my maiden name in my particular profession (thank goodness for Google). Anyone looking for me under old name should be able to find me under new name.

    Today I am off to the Social Security office to make it official!
    Looking forward to jetissoning (sp?) married name at work, as exH worked there (until 2 weeks ago!) and I always hated being referred to as “so and so’s wife” instead of, “you are the new __ here, who happens to be married to X”

  • I am looking forward to changing my name once my divorce is final. I can’t stand my stbx and I certainly do not want to carry his name around for the rest of my life. He was such an NPD that I pretty much lost my identity in our 15 year marriage. I want it back. I was a strong , independent woman before I married him. For the last two and a half years I have fought hard to become that woman again. I have heard the pros and cons, especially because I still have school age children. Going back to my maiden name means that I can close the chapter on that portion of my life and start fresh.

    • I share Margo’s sentiments. My feeling is that when you are born, you are “given” a name. It is yours to keep or share, honor or defile. You choose.

      After my husband cheated, I lost all respect for him. I also lost any feelings of loyalty, significance or meaning in sharing a name with someone so unworthy and vile. I don’t want to be associated with him ever again.

      X can give anyone his name again, but he will never be able to shake off the taint of deceit and immorality that attached to it with when he decided it was okay to check out on me and my kids to go screw his coworker.

      My boys call me “Mom,” and that is THE name I cherish most in my life. I also love being called “friend, sister and coworker.” Maybe someday, I’ll have the chance to add “lover” to that list, but I’m not holding my breath. For now though, any other name is superfluous and insignificant to me.

      Our sons were given a name in purity and with love. Their names will always have a completely different meaning than the surname their father and I shared before he chose to disgrace it. They will choose to either honor it or shit on it like dear old dad.

  • I never changed mine. There were a lot of reasons, one of which was that my own last name is unusual while his is very common–so much so that at one time we were getting police inquiries about someone with his name who apparently was wanted for dealing in controlled substances! And no, my STBX wasn’t involved in that, as the history of that felon predated STBX’s move to this state. Another reason was that I was married in my mid-30s and had a track record under my own name.

    I’ve never regretted not taking his name, and now I’m happy that this is one thing I won’t have to deal with. That said, I work in a community where it’s more normal not to take your spouse’s name, or spouses will decide to hyphenate their surnames so that any child will reflect both families. However, I completely get that after a bad marriage, it probably feels good to wipe out the past by taking on the name of your spouse. Heck, My STBX brother-in-law took his wife’s name because he wanted to wipe out the karma associated with his family name (bad marriage, cheater father, etc.). I hope it works for him! 🙂

  • I kept my maiden name when I married my STBXH 22 years ago. I am an attorney and your name and reputation are important. Also, my maiden name is VERY rare as it was Anglicized Slovak when my paternal great grandfather came to the US as an immigrant. There is only one male that I know of in the U.S. with this name to pass on the name.

    My father, however, is the main reason I want to keep my name- to honor him. My father was and is the ‘best’ man in my life I have ever known. He was thrilled that I wanted to be an attorney (as he considered going into law at one time). He put me through law school, and I remember him mailing my law school applications for me, gathering my letters of recommendation from my former professorswhen I was overseas working. He and my mom paid and put me through law school saving all his money from working until retirement as a high school teacher.

    He died three years ago after a lengthy battle with Alzheimers- I’ll never forget him!! He was such a wonderful man and I just don’t think I’ll ‘ever’ meet a man who could hold a candle to him. For this reason, I don’t think I will ever change my name.

    Someday, maybe I will meet and marry a wonderful man in the future- maybe I’ll feel differently then. . .

  • Tracy,
    I hope that you won’t see this as challenging you or in any way confrontational, but I have a question about this part of your post.

    “Paul might have been a Hurricane-induced fling, except that he is a Texas trial lawyer and Texas trial lawyers are renowned for their powers of persuasion. After a long-distance courtship, I married him. Really, I’m still not sure how I got here.”

    I mean, isn’t that how all of us began our relationships with our cheater exes? Isn’t him sweeping you off of your feet “sparkly behavior?” Isn’t not knowing quite sure how you got there, giving up your power? Chumps give up our power to someone else. Why we do it, I don’t know, but we do. It certainly sounds romantic as hell and I am envious, because I am absolutely starved for romance. I am not saying that Paul is not the best thing since sliced bread or that he’s not on the up and up, either. I’m not even saying that sparkly behavior is necessarily the hallmark of a cheater. Mine is the anti-Mr. Sparkle. Oh, he certainly has a certain charm (when he wants to), but one would never call him sparkly. And I know sparkly, gregarious, charming men who I totally do not believe are cheaters. (but of course, one never knows for sure.) I also know sparkly narc men as well who ARE cheaters, so I get completely the type you are talking about.

    That was a long winded way of saying… how do you know the difference? Just because someone was cheated on, too doesn’t mean that they necessarily have integrity. They might be a cheater too. Victims aren’t necessarily good people just because they are victims.

    I am asking these questions because I believe that the majority of us are absolutely terrified to get into another committed relationship. You seem to be quite successful at it, except for me, the paragraph I quoted sends up all sorts of red flags, if I was in that situation. And I don’t know if its just me being SUPER careful, or what.

    You see… for me, the thought of being in an intimate relationship makes me wanna throw up. I sincerely do not know how I’m ever to trust again, when my true ‘LIFE PARTNER’ could’ve conducted this secret other life for at least nine years. (that i know of).

    Again, I truly hope that you will not see this as judgmental in any way because I do not know Paul and that was the briefest of snippets into how it all began for you two. My purpose is in trying to help the rest of us move forward with our lives in a healthier way.

    • No offense taken. It’s hard to condense a 1.5 year long courtship into a single paragraph. All romances start with some kind of zing. And New Orleans is magical. We all sparkle in New Orleans. What my husband did over the time I got to know him, is convince me he’s a good guy. And he is — not just as a former chump — but as a person. I have to laugh a sparkly too. I think he’s wonderful and charming in his quirky way, but he is the least sparkly person I know. He would say this too. He doesn’t flirt. Isn’t clear when other’s flirt with him. And he loathes being the center of attention — to the point it’s pretty neurotic.

      Really I could write a lot about how he very different from the others — and perhaps that is a good post, if I don’t embarrass him more than I probably already have. He had to convince me — and he did. It’s still a big scary risk to move your life for someone — I vowed I would never do it again, and I did. I felt that solid about him. Still do.

      I tell you two things he did the first time I met him that impresses me about his character. 1) He told me a story about suing an employer for sexual harassment (he does employment law) and the guy was really horrible, just vile. Fancied himself quite the ladies man and he had a pair of snake skin shoes. Paul went to settle the case, but asked for the guy’s shoes as part of the deal — so he could give them to the victim.
      (He didn’t get them), but I LOVE that he asked. Love, love, LOVED it. Fell in love with him right there. 2) He ordered me a cup of tea. He jokes about it now, but I got a cold while I was there and a sore throat, and he noticed and made this care-taking gesture. It was room service tea, stupid expensive tea. I really paid attention to that cup of tea. The last two husbands, I would’ve been making my own cup of tea.

      Little things added up to big things. Didn’t rush it. Spent a lot of time writing too. I like the inside of his head. He liked mine. Felt very secure with him. Didn’t with the others. Can’t really explain it in a comment. But perhaps I’ll expound another time.

      • Thank you for expounding on that. This is the thing. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) you wrote about Paul, I could honestly say about my own husband… the one who decided in 2002, (after he lost his COBOL programming 120k a year job) to get on a “pen pal” site which then lead to it being sexual and then again and again and again… and he could not stop, even after leaving it all open on my laptop one night 7 years ago. 🙁

        Of course, he was also 50 (now 61) and we had these two very high maintenance boys to raise and no family, few friends close by and an isolated community (which we both grew to hate even though its very beautiful)

        I realize that there are no guarantees in life and looking back, he definitely needed to be in therapy for all he was dealing with… but he chose this other path.

        He would still make me that cup of tea… and I wouldn’t have to ask.

        I felt so safe with him. It was difficult with my horrific childhood to trust anyone and he was the most rock solid, excellent character, top to toe, I could’ve ever hoped to have met.

        Its like I always say… but the ship ISN’T sinkable! What do you mean, its sinking???

  • I was very traditional and took my X’s name when I married him. But I always thought he had a BORING Hispanic last name. I was glad to get my maiden name back, thank you very much. I even had it changed on my degree. YAY!

    I remember when a mutual friend told him I planned on taking my maiden name back he replied: Why would she do that? Her maiden name has a lot of bad memories for her… REALLY? WTF was he talking about? Like HIS last name was oh-so-superior? Don’t make me vomit. He was ALWAYS the superior one. His mother was a better mother than mine was, his family were more Catholic, they were closer than mine were, blah, blah, was always a competition with him. Asshole.

    Anyhow, now that I am getting re-married…I seriously considered NOT changing my name…I mean, I am going from my Hispanic maiden name to a Polish last name….I figured, why change it? However, my soon-to-be husband has requested I take his last name. Traditionally, Hispanics do not hyphenate names….we just tack them on the end….So, if Maria de Lourdes Garcia married a guy named Mendoza she would (1) either keep her name (which is very common in Latin American countries) OR (2) she would just tack his on and become Maria de Lourdes Garcia Mendoza…No hyphen. Garcia Mendoza being her last name. I know, I know….L O N G.

    As an American of Mexican descent, many of us have now just taken our fathers names and moved on. It is easier. I don’t mind being a —czyk. I think it will be a good thing. 🙂

  • I kept my maiden name when I married my ex over 34 years ago. But when we had kids and people questioned me if I was their mom I unofficially started hyphenating, using his and the kid’s last name tacked onto my maiden name. Then, a little over a year ago and only one month before DDay I had to renew my driver’s license and knew that I had to have the paperwork to back up the name I had been using for 30 years or drop the hyphenated name and go back to just my maiden name. At that point I had sensed that my ex was deep in predatory mode for the skank who seemed to be reciprocating but I had been through that scenario before and things had never developed (at least that’s what I thought then but have found out since that I was repeatedly chumped and didn’t know it…) I asked him if there was any reason why I shouldn’t officially change my name to include his and whether or not what seemed to be going on with the skank was going to develop into something more than the “just friends” stage and, of course, he denied, denied, denied. So, against my better judgement, and resenting the hassle of having a hyphenated name, I paid my lawyer $600 to make it official before I renewed my license. One month later I discovered the truth and booted him out and into the arms of the skank. So now I am back to just my maiden name. I couldn’t wait to dump the ex’s name–as I told my friends, I was getting rid of everything “insert ex’s last name” except my kids….. Hindsight. So bittersweet.

  • Geesh. I haven’t had conversation like this about last names since Junior high.

    Tracy Sutton, doesn’t sound wasp at all, not in america. I had an asian, jewish, scandinavian, Irish, English friend name Stockton. Yes spelled like one of the signers of the declaration of independence. Now the name Stockton seems like an asian name to me, ’cause he looked Asian. America, ya’ gotta’ love it.

    Anyway, Tracy, you sound a little overconfident about your new hubster. It’s best not to get to comfy. He most likely will cheat again. Like my bro’ said. All men cheat. It’s in their nature. Now a women that cheats that’s a bad one, and even marriage counselors know that marriage will be difficul to impossible to salvage. Both are wrong, though, man woman, dog , whateva’ it’s wrong.

    Just don’t get to confident about your new man Tracy honey. Keep your eyes open and don’t give him too much leash. Oh, yeah, and the fact that he was cheated on likely don’t mean jack. In fact, it might even make him feel as if he was missing out, particularly when he hits his late 50s and early 60s. Did ya ever think that maybe you should keep the name Sutton. Just sayin’

  • I wasn’t married ro the person that drove me to CL, but I was married before, and I proudly took his name, even tho’ my maiden name is very well known where I live and keeping it could be beneficial. Unfortunately my husband died in a plane crash, and there was no identifying body so he was considered “missing” I waited 10 years to declare his death (the law is 7). And I waited 15 years to change my name back.

    I loved him that much, and I did it for the kids. When I felt they were old enough and could give me their approval. I think that when it’s right you just WANT their name… My 2 cents. Oh and Jobe, we are here to HELP each other, NOT attack each other. There are millions of websites, please go play dirty somewhere else!

  • I have a last name that I have always liked– it’s one of those ethnic names that, if you have it, we’re probably related. It’s pretty uncommon. I never dropped it when STBX and I got married– I became Ethniclastname-STBX’s name. I’m keeping it that way because of my kids. I have no idea if I’ll ever get married again or if I’d change my last name, keep it the way it is, hyphenate Ehtniclastname-NewH’s name, or what. I probably won’t have to worry too much about that in the near future, though! :S

  • timely post… I am in the middle of changing back to my maiden name. It’s already changed back at the important places. It’s just at a few random places that I still have to do it.

    I changed my name in the first place when I married my ex because I had never considered not changing it I was never a big fan of my last name growing up. It was mispronounced frequently, even though I totally don’t get it – it’s pronounced just the way it’s spelled! Also, between my 3 syllable first name and 2 syllable last name I always felt like it was a mouth full to say. So I always planned to changed it… but I also always thought I’d end up marrying a dude with a BETTER last name. That didn’t happen. My new name was at least short but it was also definitely difficult to pronounce. And, unlike with my maiden name, at least I understood why people couldn’t pronounce this one. The new name was German, with one of those silent g’s.

    Anyway, while I’d been with my ex since I was 19, I’d only married him when I was 27… maybe 26? Already blocking it out I guess. Either way, I hadn’t really had the name THAT long. And I decided to change it back because I didn’t want to feel like he “owned” me or like I was his anymore. I wanted to get back to who I was before, only a better version, I guess. I also assume there will be a future Mrs. Silent G and I don’t want to be confused with her, or have him feel like he has TWO chicks again. The only thing is I wish my two boys could have my same last name. Not because of the “confusion” or because it feels insanely weird to have different names, but just because I don’t really want them to be associated with that name either or for that family to be able to claim them. But oh well, I’ll have to deal. He is their dad, they love him, blah blah blah. The only real con I’ve come up with about changing my name back is that if I tell people some of the real asshole things he’s done to me, I’d prefer he have the same name as me so they can more easily figure out who the asshole from the stories is 🙂

    I have no idea if I would change my name again. Right now I would tell you no and that If I got married again he should just be happy that I don’t still have my ex-husbands name. But I also know my feelings could change on the matter. But I also don’t know how much I’m counting on getting married again.

  • I have been married 4 times. The first 3 were less than 4 years, but my last one (getting a divorce) lasted for 18 years (together for 21 years). My question for Chump lady and other commenters here is who in the hell is going to want to date someone who has been divorced 4 times? I feel like such a loser and failure. I am currently separated from my current husband who is a serial cheater.

    • Marie,
      I don’t think that you’re a loser at all. You’re not a loser because you’re here and that means that you care. Have you been in therapy? Maybe you’re attempting to heal some childhood hurt by marrying men who remind you of someone who hurt you. Like maybe your father, or even your mother.

      Have you figured out what went wrong? You say that three were cheaters. So, those three marriages were doomed. I don’t think its information that you need to divulge on the first date or even the 4th or 5th… but if you and the other person start getting more serious, then of course, the talk is important. I think that a man who has feelings for you and has a mature healthy attitude would welcome this discussion and not judge you for it. If he does, then he’s not right for you anyway.

      We have ALL made mistakes. I’m sure that he has too. Maybe he has some things that he’s afraid to divulge too. Maybe you’ll share some aspects of yourselves that will serve only to make a more intimate bond. That’s what true intimacy is, IMO.

      My husband withheld lots of stuff from me. some of it, he dumped on me after d-day #2. uhhhh… too little… too late.

  • Chump Lady, please don’t take this the wrong way, but you may be picking the wrong men like I did. 3 out of 4 husbands I have had were cheaters. This last one is a serial cheater. You don’t know your husband well enough. My last husband cooked me dinner about 3 times a week, made my birthdays and Christmas’s special and did so many other things for me. He told me he liked spoiling me. Well, little did I know he was cheating on me the whole time. I’m just saying you can’t get too comfortable like I was. My husband used to hate Bill Clintion because he had no morals. He always talked trash of people who cheated. He completely fooled me Chump lady. I really hope your husband is a good guy. I really do. 🙂

    • my wasband too, would have disdain for cheating celebs. Its not okay for others but its okay for him? That’s pretty fuckedup.

      But, you bring out an interesting point which I am well-aware of and that is the DOTING cheater. And I mean these guys are so gooooooooddd… like too-good-to-be-true, good. So, in effect, there may be absolutely nothing wrong with our “picker.” In fact, my husband chose me. It was his hot pursuit of me and intense interest that made me comfortable and feeling secure and ultimately made me fall in love with him.

      He was soooooo *different* from all the rest.

      ermmm… no, not really.

      I’m not sure if its even possible to ever know someone well enough. Hell, the wingnuts don’t even know themselves! They believe with all their heartless and soulless that they truly ARE these really good people.

    • I don’t think CL is saying that marrying someone you observe acting in a moral way *guarantees* they won’t cheat. Ultimately, nothing is guaranteed in the future, right? At the same time, as Bertrand Russell observed, “When one admits that nothing is certain one must, I think, also add that some things are more nearly certain than others.”

      Some people are more likely to cheat than others. And usually there are some signs to be seen if only we are open to seeing them (hence the importance of avoiding “spackle”). Moreover, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. So watching how someone treats the people around them and reacts to a wide variety of situations in different circumstances over a long period of time tells us a lot. And while the information gained by that observation cannot guarantee the future, it can certainly *increase our odds* of picking someone who will be a good mate.

      Put otherwise: Observation + Time – Spackle = Your Best Chance at Love

      • “Put otherwise: Observation + Time – Spackle = Your Best Chance at Love”

        This is a great concept!

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