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Soon-to-be Stepmom Refuses to Call Little Girl by a Name Her Dad Prefers — Is She Wrong?

Naming a child is a process that’s very personal to parents. Whether it’s a name that they’re fond of or a name that has a familial significance, the name is always going to be open to scrutiny. Another tricky parenting situation can occur when stepping into a relationship where the other partner has a child. Combine these two scenarios and you have a situation that calls for an intervention, a mediator, or at least some outside advice.

This is the recently described case with a soon-to-be stepmom on Reddit‘s AITA forum when discussing her fiancé’s daughter (almost age 3) from a previous relationship. Feddupp177, the original poster (OP), is about to become a stepmother and wants to know if she’s wrong for not agreeing to call the little girl a different name than her birth name when she’s at her father’s house (where, obviously, the OP will be living too).

According to the OP, the relationship between her fiancé and his ex was “very hostile” and by the time she became pregnant, “they were very much on the rocks.” The baby girl was named after the mother’s family members (including their last name) without input from the OP’s fiancé. The OP explains that her fiancé was furious about this and wanted their child to have his last name and be named after his grandmother and a name he particularly liked. After a fairly hostile fight, dad won one battle: the little girl’s last name will be changed to her father’s last name. But he’s not giving up the fight.

“My fiancé and his family have decided that since [the daughter] is now too old to go back to court on this again, the answer to this is for this child to have a ‘mom’s house’ name and a ‘dad’s house’ name. I think this is ridiculous, but they say that it’s not fair that her father had zero say in his own child’s name, and that it’s not much different than people who have a street name and a government name. It just seems weird to me because it’s due to a hostile breakup and not the usual reasons. They’ve already started this, with her grandparents, aunts/uncles, and father starting to introduce the name.

“I don’t want any part in this. I don’t think it will even work because this kid is already going to be three-years-old … it will make me look like the toxic stepmother, and it’s just stupid to have a kid going by two completely different names. She’s one person. AITA if I continue to only call her by her ‘mom’s house’ name and don’t support this?”

The Reddit community responses are glaringly in support of the OP, but most of all, they’re encouraging her to reconsider her engagement.

“OP, I don’t know what your life plans or long-term goals look like, but at the very least, I’d think long and hard about whether you want to have kids with this man,” says commenter ScarletInTheLounge. “He’s already given you very clear information about how any child of his only functions as an extension of himself, and whatever he’s telling you about why he didn’t see his daughter much for the first year(s) of her life isn’t adding up.”

Another commenter wisely quoted an iconic filmmaker, sharing: “As the great Nora Ephron said, “never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.”

Commenter EGrass held no punches: “Seriously, the fiancé is a dick. And bullying his ex into changing her daughter’s last name to follow sexist, outdated tradition? Fuck that guy.”

Yet another commenter, dereksalem, made some valid points about the OP’s fiancé and background information about this situation that the OP may not be privy to or sharing on Reddit, but also stated what we think is the obvious point here when all is said and done: “…the kid’s name is irrelevant. Unless she named it ‘Clownshoe Leafblower Smith’ I think it’s petty to even get upset about it at all, let alone try to have the kid confused with multiple names just because their parents are crazy people.”

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