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Annie’s Mailbox: Name game could cause confusion

Thu., Feb. 9, 2012

Dear Annie: My wife, “Jane,” and I have been married for five years, and she is the love of my life. She has an identical twin sister named “Jordan.” The two women are best friends. Jordan is at our house four or five times a week, but does not impose on our marriage. She is a great sister-in-law and gives us our space.

Jane has an 8-year-old son from a previous relationship whose middle name is also Jordan, after his aunt. I’ve watched the boy grow up and have gotten to know him well over the past several years. I love him as if he were my own.

Recently, Jane discovered she is pregnant with our first child. Naturally, I’m thrilled. However, despite my objections, she is determined to name the child Jordan, regardless of gender. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t care, because Aunt Jordan is a good role model. But there are already two people in the family who have that name.

Am I right, or should I be more sensitive to my wife’s wishes? – Steve in Ohio

Dear Steve: You need to be sensitive to hers, but she also needs to be sensitive to yours. Ask her to compromise. Point out how confusing it could be if both your child and Aunt Jordan are in the same room. And some children are highly sensitive to being named for a relative of the opposite sex. You also can agree wholeheartedly to have it as a less-used middle name instead.

But if your attempts prove futile, it may not be worth the damage a protracted argument would cause. Children somehow manage to grow up just fine in families where multiple people are named for the same relative. And if the confusion is too great, you can call your child by a nickname.

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