Dating someone with the same last name can be a fairly strange experience, and it’s not as uncommon as you may think.
There are currently at least 10 surnames in the US attached to more than a million people, and the numbers are much higher in some other countries.
If you’ve met the perfect partner only to find out they have the same name as you, first of all, you’re not alone.
Secondly, here is a look at the taboos, pros, cons, and other things you should know about what it’s like to date or even marry someone with the same last name:
Is It Ok to Date Someone With Same Last Name?
There is a stigma in some circles about dating someone with the same name – although you really shouldn’t let it bother you.
The thing is, when someone hears you have the same name as your partner they are going to ask or joke about two things.
They’ll ask if you’re either:
- Related to them (which obviously doesn’t feel good to hear), or
- If you’re already married (this question can also become awkward)
Jokes aside, it might be a good idea to check the family tree to make sure you’re not a distant relative!
The “are you married” question is going to be a mix of an in-joke, and people genuinely assuming you’re married.
I know a couple that has the same last name. Whenever they’re asked if they are married they always say, “nope, we already have the same surname. What other benefits are there.”
Pros of Dating Someone With the Same Last Name
Here is a ‘lighthearted’ look at some of the pros of dating someone with the same last name:
- No need to change all your identification documents if you get married
- You already know how to spell and pronounce their surname
- Any future children get to have both of your surnames
- It’s easy for family and friends to remember your partner’s name
Obviously, these pros are subjective, but it’s important to tell yourself that it doesn’t matter what other people think or say.
If you’ve fallen for someone with the same last name it’s just a coincidence. It shouldn’t have any influence on the relationship at all.
Cons of Dating Someone With the Same Last Name
Depending on how you look at it, there are also some potential downsides to dating someone with the same last name as you.
- People will joke about you being related to them in some way
- People will assume you’re married (it’s usually easier to just go along with this)
- You can’t double-barrel your surnames (well, you could but it would be a little odd)
- You or your partner may have been looking forward to changing surname when married
If any of the cons or downsides are too much to handle or are putting pressure on the relationship, you have options.
You should bring the topic up with friends and family and let them know how it’s affecting you. Let them know that hearing jokes about your last names is getting old.
Barring any ignorant or rude family members, everyone should understand and stop bringing it up.
As long as you don’t have to show any form of ID, this is the easiest way to avoid any comments about being married, etc.
You could even legally change your surname if it was really bothering you. This is a simple process in most countries and is inexpensive.
You can find out here how to legally change your surname in the US, for example.
List of the Most Common Surnames in the US
Here is a list of the 10 most common surnames in the US as of 2020:
As you can see, with millions of people sharing the same surname in just the US, it’s not that unlikely you’ll come across someone with the same last name if you have one of the more common surnames.
Marrying Someone With the Same Last Name (Taboo?)
There is a name for marrying someone with the same surname, it’s called ‘Same-surname marriage.’
Historically, same-surname marriage has been prohibited in some East Asian cultures, and this is where some of the taboo comes from.
There are some ancient texts in China called Liji, which means ‘Record of Rites’. In these texts, it states that same-surname marriage was seriously opposed by the dynasty at the time.
Today there is a marriage law in China that states same-surname marriage is now only restricted to lineal blood relatives.
In the western world, there is not the same history or taboo. It’s really just the fact that people will joke about it that annoys most same-surname couples.
Marrying Someone With the Same Last Name as Your First Name
I’ll never forget the day I was introduced to a nice lady called Marie Marie.
That’s right, she had the same first and last name and it was so unusual to me it’s stuck with me all these years.
I did the right thing and resisted asking her about how or why she had two same names. I could only imagine she’s been asked that a million times.
She may have married someone with the same surname as her first name, or her parents may have given her the same first name to match the family surname.
Again, this is something that happens in some cultures, although it’s not the norm in the US or the western world.
It’s so rare that it’ll make you raise an eyebrow, but before you ask the person about it, take a moment to consider how often they’re asked the same questions!
In my experience, it’s a lot more common for people to have very similar names like; Stephen Stephens, Matthew Matthewson, Mark Marks, Andrew Andrews, and so on.
It’s a deliberate move by the parents of these people and has been somewhat of a trend at times.
Image credits – Photo by Iwona Pytlowska on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.