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Why would people do this?

(118 Posts)
tanith Tue 11-Dec-18 13:27:46

I have just received 2 more cards addressed to me by my Christian name only no surname. I was recently widowed and it seems that at least four people have stopped addressing me by my married name and I don’t understand.

One friend explained that she ‘forgot’ my surname, I was married 23 yrs and we’ve exchanged cards, the whole time how could she forget?
I’m finding it bloody annoying and upsetting to be honest I haven’t suddenly lost my surname because I’m widowed.

Got that off my chest ? and breathe.

PamelaJ1 Tue 11-Dec-18 20:02:31

When my father was alive I addressed mailto both of them with his initials but if it was, for instance, mums birthday I would use hers only.
Now she is a widow I use her initial although, I believe but am happy to becorrected, that the correct thing would be to use his.
The only sensible thing to do is marry someone with the same initial!
? for Teetime and tanith, so many of us will be in your position one day, many are already there.

Anniebach Tue 11-Dec-18 20:09:10

I always my Christian name and the Surname I took when I married. I said earlier I did use my husband’s Christian name on our daughters wedding invitations, he was their father and if he had lived it would have been his Christian name on the invitation, I wanted him included even if it was only his name.

stella1949 Wed 12-Dec-18 03:27:34

wildswan16 I do the same with long-term unmarried couples. There are a few in our family - I just address the cards to "Mary and John" rather than get tangled up with surnames.

Bikerhiker Wed 12-Dec-18 07:46:51

Tanith and Teetime so very sorry for yours and your family's losses. I do hope you all have some support to give you some comfort.
How odd and distressing to have cards addressed just to your Christian name Tanith. I am guessing that these are classic cases of people just not knowing what to do when someone is bereaved.
Recently having lost my daughter I find people go to great lengths not to offend, upset, remind me. Mostly I say "I realise how difficult it is to say or do the right thing. Please don't worry about it". Other times it hits a raw nerve and I am not so gracious! It depends if I feel that they are behaving thoughtlessly or not.
To address unmarried couples I write Ms A Whatever and Mr A Whatever.

Iam64 Wed 12-Dec-18 08:41:03

Tanith, I understand you feeling upset, three months is no time at all following bereavement, especially the one you experienced (are experiencing)

I can only think of two close friends who took their husband's names on marriage, the rest of us kept our birth name. I know several couples who chose a new name, or made one by combining pieces of their own birth names. Friends in other countries where the tradition is not for women to give up their name and take their husbands, are always shocked by our tradition. I'm surprised that some people continue to find it a surprise when women remain a Ms birth name.
Ms has nothing to do with being widowed or divorced, its a choice that means women's marital/other status isn't announced as soon as they give their name.

Anniebach Wed 12-Dec-18 08:44:53

I would find it strange having a different surname to my daughters .

jaylucy Wed 12-Dec-18 09:59:17

I personally hate being addressed as Ms even though I'm divorced, I'd rather either Mrs or nothing, just my name, but I can understand how upsetting it can be to have a surname missed off.
For friends and workmates I have always just put their first name, probably because half the time I have not known their surname! Married / widowed friends I always address the envelope to them even if I do know their husband/partner.
Missing a surname off must feel as if either your husband didn't exist or you weren't married. This Christmas will be difficult for you, I know. Just pause to remember the happy times you had and you'll get through the day.

Charleygirl5 Wed 12-Dec-18 10:05:20

tanith I think addressing the card as your friend did was so insensitive. As you said, how could she forget your name?

I am sure your lovely family will help get you through this first Christmas. flowers

Fran0251 Wed 12-Dec-18 10:09:42

Anniebach is correct. Usage depends on which social circle you are in/writing to. I used to be involved in charity work in upper social circles and getting the right title was very very important. The rest of us do what we prefer, it's a free world.

jenpax Wed 12-Dec-18 10:19:32

Culag I also will not be addressed as Mrs John Smith I remember when I first married receiving a card from a great aunt addressed in this way and being very annoyed I resented losing my surname which is an unusual one let alone losing my first name for a mans name! My late mother was happy enough to be addressed as Mrs David Smith and said that this was the correct form of address for a married lady, I guess I was a non conformist even then ??‍♀️
Tanita sorry for your loss; 3 months is no time at all you are not being over sensitive. ?

Rosina Wed 12-Dec-18 10:19:55

That was a silly excuse tanith and probably sprang from fear of embarrassment (hers) although why I can't imagine. People do get frozen with panic wondering how to deal with the social niceties after bereavement and as she has been your friend for so long, she is probably trying really hard to not upset you - and she has got it all wrong. I wish you well. (flowers)

Rosina Wed 12-Dec-18 10:20:52

That didn't work = sorry - there should have been a small flower motif there. First time I have tried that - and now the last.

ReadyMeals Wed 12-Dec-18 10:22:41

I have a relative who has VERY recently been widowed. I thought she would probably prefer to have her husband acknowledged at this time so I used Mrs (DH initial) Surname on her card, but in future years I will probably use her own initial. Though I believe traditional etiquette says you use the husband's initial until or unless the widow begins dating again.

annep Wed 12-Dec-18 10:31:32

So sorry Tanith. Condolences to you and everyone else here who has had a bereavement.
It's extremely weird to have cards addressed like that. Why change it at all?
I personally do not use the husbands Christian name. To me its as if you are not a person in your own right any longer. Strange custom. Bad enough changing surname. Thats my opinion. I know others feel differently.
Anyway never worry about it Tanith - silly people. flowers

chrissyh Wed 12-Dec-18 11:06:09

I do put first names only to a couple who live together but are not married as I don't know what surname to use.

moorlikeit Wed 12-Dec-18 11:22:03

None of my younger female friends or family want to be known by their husband's name so have retained their own. Taking a husband's name is seen as perpetuating a patriarchal institution. I usually put first names only on Christmas cards to them as it's quicker than writing out 2 surnames. Older friends and family get the traditional treatment.
Personally, I totally support keeping your own name and not losing one's own identity through marriage although, of course, that maiden name was patriarchal in origin and I do understand the issues re any children's surname. However, the Spanish seem to manage it.

Merry16 Wed 12-Dec-18 11:30:17

I am very sorry for your loss and understand that you must be missing your husband very much. However, I wouldn’t worry about the name on the envelope/card. Be thankful your friends are thinking of you and sending cards. A name is just a name, friends are much more important

lizzypopbottle Wed 12-Dec-18 11:32:26

Wheniwas I went from my maiden name always being spelled wrongly to my married name being similarly mangled!

Coolgran65 Wed 12-Dec-18 11:41:28

My dil retained her own name. I put both full names when addressing a card.

Brigidsdaughter Wed 12-Dec-18 11:53:16

My condolences to all the recently bereaved here. Christmas is an awful time for highlighting loss.

Anniebach and Bikergran I completely agree about not mentioning your lost loved one. We need to keep them alive in some way.
Next Sunday it will be 7 years since our son died in his sleep. He had a rare genetic disorder, lots of issues, epilepsy being the worst. It was sudden and shocking. Anyway, I remember one lovely neighbour who wrote on her Christmas card ... to ..., ... ... and not forgetting Sam. (The year after. We'd actually sent and received most of ours before he died.)
It can still move me to tears. So simple and heartfelt.

To OP, I find it strange that anyone would address an envelope without a surname. Sometimes a neighbour might but that's different.

flowers to everyone for Christmas. It brings lots of memories

Anniebach Wed 12-Dec-18 11:59:40

Taking my husbands name when we married didn’t change who I was,

Tillybelle Wed 12-Dec-18 12:32:45

Firstly, I am so sorry to hear that you have recently suffered the death of your husband. I do hope that you have some comforts in life to sustain you. After 23 years of marriage it must be a very big loss and difference in your life and even though we all know it has to happen some day, it does not make it easier. I hope that Christmas will pass easily and that you will feel blessed during this time. I know it can be hard. Do treat yourself very kindly.

As for the ignorant few who do not use your surname, well, I am lost for words actually! I've not come across this and think it is very stupid! Perhaps the friend who forgot has mild dementia. I will admit, I am very scared I might have it as I forget names which I know really well, and then I panic and that makes it impossible to remember anything.

Yes - you have every right to let off steam! Good old Gransnet is the perfect place to do it! I am sure many people here understand and agree! I certainly do!

With lots of love, TB flowers

grandtanteJE65 Wed 12-Dec-18 12:49:58

I was taught as a child that a widow was addressed as Mrs Jack Smith until after her husband's funeral, then from that day onwards as Mrs Mary Smith. She also moved her wedding ring from the ring finger of her left hand to the ring finger of her right hand. This, however, was not universally practised.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that customs differ (and differed) from one part of the UK to another.

Nor do I see it is applicable today, where most women prefer to be Mrs. own Christian name, rather than Mrs husband's Christian name.

I use my husband's surname, as I said when we married that I didn't think I would feel married if I still was addressed by my maiden name and if anyone addressed me by my maiden name in conjunction with Mrs, I automatically waited for my mother or grandmother to answer, even after both ladies were dead!

I don't object to the few people who can't remember my married name addressing letters to DH and me by my maiden name. So far the post office has managed to deliver them, but I would be annoyed by anyone just putting my Christian name on the envelope, as I am constantly annoyed by people I don't know from Adam addressing me by my Christian name instead of Mrs + surname.

GrandmaPam Wed 12-Dec-18 12:58:53

I would be too! Your name isn't Jack!

FarNorth Wed 12-Dec-18 13:03:31

I suppose it's faintly possible that the people addressing the cards are starting to have age-related memory problems?

Please don't let it upset you, Tanith. I don't expect they meant to be uncaring.