Despite the woman explaining that Belgium laws don't allow women to take on their husband's surname, her In-laws from the US saw it as an excuse
Taking the husband's surname has become a matter of choice these days. This particular couple had decided that the bride wouldn't take her fiancé's surname, not because she is against the idea of it but because she is from Belgium where taking on your husband's surname is not legal. Unfortunately, her In-laws from the US saw it as an excuse and began to insult her, calling her a 'petty feminist b***h' for doing so. The bride took to Reddit to share her story and ask for advice from other users.
The woman, who goes by the username aitafem, wrote, "Me (F,26) and my fiance Jake (M,27) have been together for 5 years, we met in college while he was doing an exchange in my country, Belgium (he is from the US). He loved it here so he decided to stay and we are really happy here. I've met his family a few times when we went there to visit them, they've never been to Belgium (important for later). Now here, women do not take their husband's last name, it is the law. All documents will still be in my maiden name after our wedding (i think it is possible to do all kind of administrative stuff to change my name but i don't want to, all women around me have their maiden name and my fiance agrees that i should keep my name)."
She continued, "Onto the main issue; 3 days ago, we were doing a zoom call with his family and the topic of the name came up and they were very surprised that i was not taking his name. I explained very calmly that it is the law here and that I had the perfect example of my mom who had a business in her maiden name and only used my father's name when dealing with our school or things like that and that I wanted to take the same approach as her. Well all hell broke loose. His mom started screaming at me, saying that it is not because I come from a country of peasants that I should punish my fiance, that he was so far away from them because of me and so on. Jake defended me and I tried to calm her down but she turned to her husband while crying that they never came to my country because they know that it is not nearly as good as the US and that i just proved it and FIL said that I was a petty feminist bitch and that he didn't want to listen to such nonsense. They left the call and my fiance comforted me because i was honestly very shocked by their reaction and their insults."
However, it was not the end, they continued to harass her. The woman wrote, "I thought it was over but they've been sending hateful messages over the past days, they even got the rest of their family to do it as well and even my parents said that i should try to keep the peace and offer to check into the administrative procedures to change my name, but I really don't want to. My fiance is conflicted, he grew up in a town where it was very very uncommon for a woman not to take her husband's name and he agrees that it would keep the peace with his family but he does not want to force me and says it is my decision." She then asked if she was being the a**hole in the situation.
Users were quick to show her their support with many saying that the fiancé has to do a lot more to defend his wife-to-be. "This is not enough. He needs to step up and shut down his family's behavior. Remember, this is the family you are marrying in to. If your fiance can't stop them from harassing you and saying cruel things to you now, what do you think the rest of your life is going to be like?" one wrote, while another said, "If he thinks you should be trying to “keep the peace” after his dad called you a b****, he cannot be trusted to have your back if you marry this guy." A third added, "And, more to the point, he thinks OP needs to “give up her name to keep the peace.” Change her identity to suit them. (I say this because it’s not her cultural norm - and they operate the same way in Quebec, btw - not to slam spouses who take their partner’s last name. I did, myself.) Expecting someone to alter her identity to suit their preferences is a big f**king ask."
The woman later posted an update saying, "we had a long conversation about this this morning. He was very defensive at the beginning, saying that his parents probably didnt mean it and blablabla. But after explaining my side of things and showing him the messages they sent, he actually realized that they were completely out of line. He admited that they never behaved like that with him either and that he was so surprised by their attitude that he didn't know how to react. I've showed him some of your comments and he understands now that he has to set clear boundaries now because it is the first of many fights if he does not. He promised me that he was gonna send them a message today saying that this kind of behaviour would not be accepted and that they needed to apologize to me if they wanted to come to the wedding. He apologized profusely and I want to trust him. We also discussed the topic of name again and he promised me that he was fully supporting my decision. Concerning children, we already had a conversation because we both want to be parents and we agree to give his last name."