When The One You Love Hates The Name You Love

disappointmentBased on a survey I did of UBN’s email subscriber community, the biggest obstacle in finding a baby name is when partners disagree.

This is a topic I addressed before in UBN’s When Every Name Seems Wrong series. That article dealt with finding common ground, discarding both partners’ top names and starting from scratch. The approach was very systematical and is helpful when partners have divergent name-styles.

What that article didn’t address is when one partner absolutely hates the other partner’s most favorite name in the world, the name that feels like home to one partner but not the other.

This is something I have experienced personally. In my situation, circumstances eliminated the debate–my beloved name was a girl name and we ended up having a boy. Therefore I cannot share what learned from my personal experience.

If we found out we were having a girl, this would have been my game plan:

  1. Fight til the end for my beloved name.
  2. If I failed to convince Rob that he was wrong and my name was awesome (after much weeping and gnashing of teeth), I would have tried to let the name go but that would have been really, really hard.

To find out how to maximize success in step 1., I asked readers if they had ever sold a name to a skeptical partner.

Something told me the weeping/gnashing of teeth approach wouldn’t work for everyone.

There were great responses. One suggestion was to find personal connections with the name that the other partner could appreciate.

Ashley said:

My husband is a sentimentalist. He vetoes every name I run past him at first, but I search for names with a personal connection. Nature, music, and anything else that reminds him of good memories are all fair game.

Another reader said that her partner reluctantly agreed to the name after he failed to come up with other options.

Toniette said:

I was in LOVE with the name Blythe, but my husband didn’t like it for a variety of reasons… however, I couldn’t love another name, […]. So, I began my campaign, and since he wasn’t one to come up with other suggestions, or lobby for a different option, she was Blythe.

When I was creating my campaign for my beloved name, I consulted name forums and one great suggestion was to google images of attractive real-life people with the name to show Rob.

One of the reasons he didn’t like the name, was because it was too unique for him. Perhaps after seeing the name on real-life people, he would have an easier time imagining it on our hypothetical daughter.

I tried that piece of advice. The good news was most of the women were attractive. The bad news was that Rob thought one of the women, an artist named Cecily Brown “looked pissed off” in one of her pictures. Perhaps I should have left out that picture.

In the end, I could easily accept that we weren’t meant to have a daughter named Cecily because we have a wonderful little boy. (I hadn’t considered Cecily when my daughter, my oldest child, was born.)

But what if circumstances don’t work themselves out and you have a stubborn partner who’s unpersuaded by your well-thought-out campaign? How do you let go of the beloved name?

There is little advice I can offer. As I was thinking about what advice I would give, I wanted to avoid platitudes, like “time heals all…”.

The best I can do is suggest you find out why your partner doesn’t like the name you love. Your partner’s reasons are also useful during your campaign for the name.

Once you learn your partner’s reasons for disliking the name, you may find out that he or she has very solid, practical concerns that you hadn’t considered because you were too starry-eyed.

At the very least, your partner’s reasons may help you find another name that you both love (or at least one of you loves and the other accepts).

Another piece of advice that may help some of you, especially the name nerds among us, is that as much as you love the name now, and you may always love it, you will find other names you love just as much, long after you are done having kids. And using the names on pets just doesn’t seem as satisfying.

For example, after falling in love with Cecily and giving birth to my son, I fell in love with Opal, a name I will never get to use since we are done having kids.

Us name people might find peace by accepting that we will never get to use every single name we love–at least not on a real-live human. But sharing the lost names with others may help with the process. One way to do this is through writing about the names, like I do on UBN.

I know first-hand how difficult letting go can be. I can only imagine how disappointed I would have been if I had a girl and couldn’t use my beloved name.

However, I also believe that failing to compromise with your partner is one way to sabotage your baby name search. As I said before, coming to an agreement with your partner isn’t just best for your relationship, it is also best for your baby.

Readers: Have you ever been unable to use a beloved name on one of your kids?

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  1. We’re expecting and have been negotiating on names. Twice, we’ve reached an impasse, but in these cases, we have sat down and made sure to talk about WHY one of us was utterly opposed to name. I have three favorites I have been lobbying for. In one instance, when I heard him out, I found his opposition to the name made a lot of sense and it helped me come to terms with the fact that this name was NOT going to be an option–ever–for this family. The process helped me see what was important to my spouse in choosing a name. Since then, I’ve taken my other two favorites that he was initially opposed to and worked to associate them with what I know he values. He has now decided they are both serious contenders. (Whew!)

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