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My boyfriend doesn't like my name

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Question - (16 February 2017) 7 Answers - (Newest, 17 February 2017)
A female United States age 26-29, anonymous writes:

My boyfriend does not like my name. Of course he is entitled to his opinion about that, but I feel that I am inseparable from my name, and it suits me completely- it IS a big part of me.

I asked him the other day over dinner if he liked it when it came up, and he went silent for a long time, then gave a hesitant nod.

Since then we've had some discussions. There have been silences, and backpeddles, and "just because I don't love it, doesn't mean I don't love you"

He explained they are two different things: him liking me the person with the name, and the name on its own. He said he has two different answers to those questions.

I said "So I guess that means that you like me the person with the name, but don't like the name on its own?"

Then he deflected and said "can you honestly say you like my name on its own?" to which I responded yes, I can.

For me this feels like a big deal.

If I told him I didn't like one of his physical features, let's say his belly, or his nose... that I 'liked it ok, but didn't love it" I can imagine he would freak out. We are in the kind of relationship where we usually support 100%. And he definitely expects that.

My name is a feature of me. It is something that I cannot change. I happen to think it is quite pretty and I wouldn't want to change it.

I don't like being called pet names (which he does a lot, and I now know why). I want my lover to speak my name and enjoy it.

I would honestly had rather him tell me I was putting on weight, or looked chubby in a dress. Weight can fluctuate and you can change your dress, but my name is not going to change.

I know that a lot of you might say that it is trivial. However maybe there are some of you who understand why this has affected me deeply?

I don't know if I want to be with him anymore knowing this. Some people can't handle when a partner isn't impressed with them physically, or is vaguely critical that way. To me, my name is even more important than physical features. This insult came out of left field, and I am really struggling.

Everything he tells me now sounds like such a weak back-pedal.

Please be kind in your replies. I am really trying to reason this through and be a fair person.

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A male reader, olderthandirt  +, writes (17 February 2017):

olderthandirt agony auntJust tell him to call you "Z" and that'll do. He sounds like an idiot if you ask me.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (17 February 2017):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntIn all fairness, WicketPoet, her boyfriend appears to respect her boundaries, but shouldn't try to force himself to like her name or have to lie about it so she'll stay with him.

OP, most people just aren't bothered about names - that doesn't mean they won't love saying your name because it's you they love.

If you're really considering giving up a good relationship because he isn't a fan of the name (not *your* name - *the* name that lots of people have, you being one of them), then you should break up. You need to search far and wide for a man who loves (or will pretend to love) the name you share with countless others.

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A male reader, WickedPoet United States +, writes (17 February 2017):

WickedPoet agony auntThink of your relationship as a sheet of white paper. Now think of a small black dot somewhere on that paper. What do you think your eyes will focus upon? Right. The small black dot. But as time goes on the black dot will grow larger until that is mainly what you will see. The rest of the relationship will not matter. It really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about this issue. It is your relationship and you are free to establish the boundaries and deal breakers for yourself. It seems to me that for you this is a matter of respect. You see your name as connected to your identity and why not? It is. If your boyfriend can't or won't understand how important this is to you then it is just a matter of time before the small black dot is all you see when you look at the relationship. You will feel disrespected and it is impossible for any relationship to survive long term a loss of respect. A relationship is about growing and giving to each other. If you feel limited by this marginalization of something so important to you, and you can't influence him to change and accept your feelings, you should leave the relationship. It is important that your partner accepts your boundaries and it is equally important that once you set those boundaries and convey them to your partner that you remain congruent and consistent with them. The price for not doing so is loss of respect-his for you and you for yourself. Good luck.

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A female reader, Andie's Thoughts United Kingdom + , writes (17 February 2017):

Andie's Thoughts agony auntYou are not your name. Several other people have your name and the only thing that differentiates you is your personality and your looks. Your name may suit you, but disliking your name is not an issue - it would be hard to find many other people who are fussed about names of their partner.

I feel indifferent about most people's names, except the ones I've chosen for my future children. I don't love or dislike my boyfriend's name, but I adore him, so I love saying his name. I don't need to love a word to enjoy saying it because I'm in love with the person.

Please seek therapy, OP; it's not healthy to put so much of your worth on a word - a name that you didn't even choose for yourself. It's more rational to be upset over a physical insult than just someone not being overly keen on your name. You'd be hard pushed to find a man who genuinely loved your name because most don't care, as long as they fall for the person behind the name - which your boyfriend has.

You're not trying to be fair, OP, because you are genuinely considering losing a 4 year relationship over a word that isn't unique to you. Our bodies are unique to us - nobody has the exact same body, which is why it's unhealthy to prefer an insult about something that is personal and unique to you, rather than a name that plenty of others will have.

The answers to your previous posting of this question were kind and reasonable, but you didn't like them because nobody agreed that this is a rational way to feel about a name.

I know you don't mean to feel this way, but you do and it would be good for you to talk through with a therapist why you place so much value on your name. You are so much more than your name, but your posts make it seem as though your name is worth losing (presumably) an otherwise good relationship over. It really isn't and you'll struggle to find someone who values your name more than everything else, like you do.

I remember in your other post, you said you're a romantic who believes you're supposed to love every single thing about each other, but that's fairytale, not how real love works. In healthy relationships, you love them, quirks and all. Nobody truly loves absolutely every detail of their partner - sometimes it's leaving the cap off the toothpaste or toilet seat up all the time, or the way they talk with food in their mouth, or the way they get rowdy about sports, or how they are unintentionally insensitive, etc.

I understand that this bothers you deeply, but you need to speak with a therapist to understand why, as it's not a normal thing to be so upset about that you'd end a long term relationship.

*Why* is your name a big part of you? Our important features are the ones unique to us, which your name isn't. Lots of people have brown eyes and some people don't prefer them to other eye colours, but they still love to look into their partner's brown eyes and don't want them to change.

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A male reader, Been there Now over it United States + , writes (17 February 2017):

You asked him, and he reluctantly gave you a truthful answer. Beyond what you wanted as an answer, you can't ask for more than that.

If it is such a concern for you, you are probably better off never asking that question. Perhaps he has bad associations with your first name. It doesn't make him like you any less.

I can understand why it has affected you, but not so deeply as to consider no longer seeing him. I think most of us would overlook a person's name if we liked them in other respects. We all have our quirks...it looks like this is yours.

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (16 February 2017):

Anonymous 123 agony auntDidn't you just post this question and receive a whole lot of helpful answers? There's no rule that you can't post again, you're most welcome to do so but clearly the answers haven't helped you and you continue to pout over something which most, if not all the aunts who answered, agreed was very childish of you.

Nevertheless, if the fact that your boyfriend doesn't like your name has hurt you so much, then go ahead, break up with him. If you've decided that you don't want to be with him and this issue has affected you so deeply, then what exactly are you asking us? It's your life, your decision, do what you like.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (16 February 2017):

I absolutely understand where you are coming from.

Too many people today are quick to tell us we need thick skins and have to be so so grateful to even have someone but to some of us , especially women , feeling accepted is as important as sex in a relationship

Now if a man came on here and said my partner won't have sex with me , people are often quick to tell him walk away , but when a woman feels that her partner does not accept a part of her ( something that can really affect a woman's ability to be turned on) people often tell her she is being trivial or overreacting

Unfortunately this is a tricky situation in that your name will not change .

Is there some way you can take some time out to think about this though before ending the relationship .

Sometimes I have found that a name that did not appeal to me at first had grown to be so beautiful sounding over time . Perhaps this will happen with him.

I would say not to rush in to breaking up but don't trivialise your feelings either . Just take a breath and some time. Let things evolve a little and

See how you feel

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