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Newlywed Delanie Kristek breaks down the lengthy process of changing her last name

Though the age-old tradition of wives taking their husband’s name after marriage has dwindled somewhat, it is still very commonplace. According to a Pew Research Center survey taken this year, 79% of women reported taking their spouse’s last name when they got married.

But would this custom still be so mainstream today if women were made aware of just how drawn out and mentally draining of a process it can be? Having just gone through it, 27-year-old newlywed Delanie Kristek doesn't seem to think so.


In a now-viral TikTok clip, Kristek recounts the lengthy tale of getting her last name changed, breaking down the stress involved.

Still in the “beginning stages,” as she calls it Kristek has successfully changed her social security and is now onto changing her driver’s license. Even with the “exact instructions” given to her on her NewlyNamed box (a special kit that helps newlyweds keep track of what documents to change), it was “incredibly time consuming."

@chiknnuggiesinmytummy Dont even get me started on our digital footprint and all the places our names are online. #changingyourname #namechange #namechanged #newlastname #lastnamechange #newlymarried #newlywed ♬ original sound - Delanie Kristek

Why? Because "everything's on the government website, which we already know is trash," Kristek explains, adding that "now, post-COVID, I can no longer just show up to the DPS [what Texas calls the DMV], I have to make an appointment. I go to schedule an appointment...all the DPS's near me, in DFW? There's no openings until January 2024. Guess what? I have a flight in December 2023...the name on my ticket is my new last name."

This left Kristek with no choice but to schedule an appointment at a DPS over 40 minutes away.

But that wouldn’t even scratch the surface. She continues, “at that point, I've only changed my social and my driver's license. I've still gotta change my insurance cards, I've gotta change my bank accounts, I've gotta change my passport...Global Entry, which means I'm gonna have to go to the airport."

But wait. There’s more.

"You've gotta change your name in all the systems you're in. Most of us have multiple doctors. I have primary care physician, I have a gynecologist, I have a therapist. There's so many places where my name appears, and now I'm gonna have to go change it. The mental load that it is taking on me...every time I see my name, I'm like, 'Oh my god, that's ANOTHER place I'm going to have to change my name,’” she says.

Understandably, Kristek can’t help but acknowledge that this is a special inconvenience reserved almost exclusively for women in heterosexual relationships, and says that most of their male counterparts "will never understand the mental load and time investment of changing your last name.”

And this is in part why Kristek posted her TikTok.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, she shared her hopes that it would ”shed some light to hetero men so that they can better understand,” and inspire them to help their partner during the process where they can. Whether that's helping directly in the name-change process or even taking on a different task that maybe their wife typically managed. In turn, freeing their wife up with some time and brain space to go through this name-change process."

Still, she stands by her choice to take her husband’s last name. And other than maybe the amount of time it took to get there, she has no regrets being Delanie Roselle Majors Kristek. She just wants others to be fully informed, and therefore more empowered, when going the traditional route.

As she told Buzzfeed, "each couple and person is different, so they need to decide what works for them versus just changing their last name because that's 'the thing you do.' It's time-consuming, it costs money, and there are pros and cons to whatever decision you make. Changing your name after marriage shouldn’t be an automatic yes, it should be a thought-out, conscious decision.”

"How do you bear it? That must be devastating," a colleague said. I'd mentioned that my husband is quadriplegic.

With a familiar tightness in my chest, I answer the same tired question: "It's not. We do just fine." "He lived alone long before I met him," I wanted to say, "and he's a theater professor" — and lots of things that I knew would only sound defensive.

The coworker read my near silence as an admission (of what, I'm never sure. Sexlessness? Solitude? Nights spent gripping a bottle of gin?) and said earnestly, "I'm so sorry you have to go through that every day. I can't even imagine."


I watched the nightmare in his eyes retreat, replaced by a glaze of pity, a softness that I suppose he felt was earned by my hard life. "It's honestly no big deal," I tried again. Too late. The glaze had acquired a sheen.

The politics of disclosure are tricky, and once again I felt I'd done my partner a disservice, however slight.

Though my now former coworker likely no longer thinks of me, he might think of my husband occasionally, his token access point to the homogenized community that is wheelchair users and the pity he thinks he should feel for them and those who love them. From now on, he'll view us and people like us as tragedies — all because I didn't work hard enough to convince him otherwise.

All photos via Laura Dorwart, used with permission.

I didn't tell him about the day my husband and I met to study together at 10 a.m. for grad school exams.

I didn't tell him how coffee turned to whiskey, which turned to singing in a round as he drove me home, or about his first gift to me after two weeks of dating. I'd told him jumping eased my anxiety; he showed up to my door the next week with an indoor trampoline.

Now that I've disclosed his quadriplegia to yet another stranger, my husband is no longer afforded idiosyncrasies or individual traits, all of which he has. He's someone who writes me love letters and teaches improv and is very Virgo about our towel situation and who, unlike me, is quiet and unassuming in grad seminars. Without knowing all this, would my colleague go home and express gratitude to his wife with a "thank God we're not them" subtext?

I knew something of what my colleague assumed because it's what many assume.

I must be up nights, washing the last of the dishes alone, filled with longing that my husband's spinal cord will awaken from its tragic slumber. Or maybe they imagine I'm his "caretaker," a loaded word.

The truth? I haven't cooked one meal this month (too many deadlines), and my husband usually stays up with the baby (I'm a morning person).

He's spent far more time serving as my lay psychiatrist and priest-behind-confessional-screen than I've spent on any of his medical care. He sings me to sleep. I am usually a nervous wreck about everything except his paralysis. Unlike my symptoms of anxiety and depression, his disability is a constant, the only thing that isn't a what-if.

Still, being the ostensibly able-bodied partner to a physically disabled person comes with its fair share of emotional labor.

Emotional labor, in many cases, involves the management of feelings, both your own and others'. At restaurants, hostesses' eyes fly open, anxious, before they whisper to each other — where are they supposed to go? Folks trapping us in the wheelchair van by parking in a loading zone look sheepish at best or sometimes defiant: "What's so special about you?"

Is the usher going to know where to seat us? Will we be turned away? Will the doctor actually speak to him or will she look over his head and into my eyes instead? It's watching someone else be hurt and disappointed — not by an internal source, like my depression, but by others, by buildings even — over and over again and being powerless to do anything about it, unable to unwind the tension that coils in someone's back when they are expected, day after day, to prove they are not a burden.

It's keeping the strained smile on your face when he plans an anniversary dinner at a restaurant that advertises itself as accessible, a claim that proves false.

You find out that "accessible" means that some people get helped up the steps to the only entrance. The manager offers to have a busboy carry him. "My chair weighs 300 pounds," he says, incredulous. The manager shrugs, as if to say, "So? What did you expect?"

He's now supposed to spend the night apologizing for taking up space, and you are supposed to pretend you don't notice. He defends himself well, as always, but his shoulders slump and his eyes shine with hurt, even over cocktails elsewhere after you leave. You want to scream at someone or at least write a strongly worded letter, but there is no one to write to.

It's being afraid not of a disability itself but of everyone else's fear and discomfort, which is displaced onto you as the assumed caregiver. "Don't look at me like that," I want to say to the pitier. "Just build a damn ramp."

Our reality is so far from the assumptions of others. The wheelchair has been integral to so many of my memories of care I have taken rather than given.

Rides on his wheelchair put our daughter to sleep, and when I was pregnant, I rode on his lap to work. During a depressive episode or a panic attack, I've heard the whir of wheels (footsteps, really) in the hallway and felt my breathing slow because he was home.

This is not part of the wheelchair story that strangers and Hollywood and breathless romances want to tell.

I wrote a story about my depression and post-traumatic stress disorder against the backdrop of a ghost town in a desert we'd visited, and I shared it with a creative writing workshop. I included one line about his paralysis. "Is his body supposed to be the desert?" one of the other students asked. "Because it's empty now, since the injury?" Another says, "It's a ghost town. Is he the real ghost?"

Being in love with someone who's quadriplegic is something like loving a ghost, but not in the way people might think. He is often invisible, and if seen, there is just one thing about him that most people seem to notice.

A story with a ghost in it is a ghost story first and foremost, not a story about sports or romance or a family conflict. Similarly, the wheelchair functions as the focus of every story we can construct. Even though you don't want it to, the wheelchair becomes the protagonist, the antagonist, and everything in between.

When I lie awake at night, the honest-to-god truth is that I don't fantasize about miracle cures and redemption songs. I dream of ramps.

Ramps leading up to showers and houses and waterfalls, to haunted hayrides and carriages and job interviews and Capitol Hill. And level ground that fulfills its rhetorical purpose by keeping everyone on the same plane. In my dreams, words become divorced from their meanings; "rustic" and "quaint" become extricable from "tiny" and "crowded," and "winding" and "exclusive" no longer mean a narrow stairway to an underground speakeasy. Restaurant hostesses and flight attendants are not afraid. Doctors listen.

In my dreams, I don't watch him walk. I watch him stop being hurt.

This story originally appeared on Catapult and is reprinted here with permission.

In 2004, Tamron Hall's sister, Renate, was found beaten to death in the backyard of her Houston, Texas, home.

She'd had a history of relationships with abusive men.

As you can imagine, the loss was devastating to Hall, a co-anchor on the "Today" show. She was forever changed.


Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for SiriusXM.

"No one deserves what happened to my sister," Hall told People magazine in April 2016. "For a long time I was hesitant about sharing our story. I didn't want to be another well-known person saying, 'Look what happened to me and my family.' But then I said, 'Screw that. I can save a life.'"

That's why Hall is sporting one purple-painted nail on her left hand.

New profile pic. Watch tomorrow #todaystake as we #putthenailinit @safehorizon 9et for more ...

A photo posted by Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) on

Hall stars in a new PSA for Safe Horizon's #PutTheNailInIt campaign aimed at ending domestic violence.

The PSA by Safe Horizon — a nonprofit aimed at empowering the survivors of and preventing domestic abuse — encourages viewers to paint their left ring-finger nail purple (the color of the anti-domestic violence movement) in a show of solidarity.

The campaign has been an ongoing initiative for the group, but Hall's latest PSA is bringing renewed interest to efforts to #PutTheNailInIt just days before the start of October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Domestic abuse is a topic that gets attention but not nearly enough.

1 in 4 adult women and 1 in 7 adult men will experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

Those stats are alarming enough, but the prevalence of domestic abuse across the U.S. is even more sobering when you dissect the numbers behind the groups that affected even more.

Black women are nearly three times more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner than women from other racial backgrounds.

Women of color, and particularly black women, are disproportionately affected by domestic violence. Black women are nearly three times more likely to be murdered by an intimate partner than women from other racial backgrounds.

Although the issue remains under-researched within the queer community, the data we do have suggests partner abuse is disproportionately affecting all genders and sexual orientations across the LGBTQ spectrum, particularly transgender survivors of domestic abuse.

We need to be talking about this.

Those disturbing stats are why you'll see other celebrities speaking out in Safe Horizon's PSA too.

Stars like rock star Dave Navarro.

"When my mother's life was taken by a domestic abuser, I unfortunately was a witness to how domestic violence can not only destroy the victim's life, but the lives of friends and family members," Navarro said in a statement.

GIF via Safe Horizon.

And actor Alan Cumming.

"Domestic violence can affect anyone," Cumming said. "Whether gay or straight, we need to have zero tolerance for domestic violence, and I salute full-heartedly Safe Horizon’s #PutTheNailInIt campaign for advocating exactly that."

GIF via Safe Horizon.

And actress Kyra Sedgwick.

"As a woman and a mother of a young woman, the prevalence of domestic violence horrifies me," Sedgwick said. "Domestic violence is a secret, insidious, and rampant epidemic that is so often kept shamefully behind closed doors."

GIF via Safe Horizon.

To Hall, our unified efforts can end domestic violence. We just have to stand together.

"My sister’s memory is important to me and I want to uplift her name to help those families and victims who have felt alone," Hall explained in a statement. "Since opening up and sharing our story, I've been approached by countless people who have taken a stand. If we stand shoulder-to-shoulder we create a wall of protection."

Watch these stars and others support the #PutTheNailInIt campaign below: