Ms. Jackson if you’re nasty. Or, Ms. Jackson-Smith. Oh, okay, fine. Mrs. Smith.

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for around six months and things are going really well. This last weekend we were at brunch with some of his friends when the topic of women changing their last names came up — and my sweet, understanding boyfriend suddenly announced that not changing a last name was a “deal-breaker” in his his eyes. Yikes! I’m not 100% certain I want to change or not change mine, but I’m alarmed by his hard-line approach here. Should I be scared?

I married one of those self-important blowhards. (Sorry, honey. Love you!) He also announced that not changing my name would be a “deal-breaker,” but lucky for him, he did so after we’d already gotten married and I’d already changed my name. Had he made this freaking ridiculous announcement before our wedding, I’m fairly sure I would have not changed my name. (I’m also fairly sure he still would have married me, but who knows, really…)

Only be scared if he’s also this bossy and unattractively un-feminist in the rest of your relationship. Beware if he expects you to: cook dinner for him every night, wear a skirt every day, always be skinny, not yell, call him “Sir,” comb your hair on a daily basis, do all the housework, or always let him have the remote.

For now, just tell him, “I haven’t decided if I’m going to change my name when I get married, but my future husband’s opinion sure as hell won’t be the deciding factor. So if it really is a deal-breaker–and only you really know the answer to that–we might as well save the trouble and split up now.”

Don’t make a promise you’re not totally comfortable keeping. Setting that precedent so early in a relationship is only going to make it harder to assert yourself later, when it’s something you actually care about.

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