Dear Amy: I’m a 55-year-old man.
I legally changed my (first) name when I was 25 years old, mainly because I was the fourth “John” in my family, with many of us sharing the same name.
This change had nothing to do with gender or identity.
Traveling through Europe, I picked up a new, perfectly normal name (nothing wacky), and never looked back.
I have used this name personally and professionally for over 30 years.
Everyone in my life calls me by my chosen name – except my sister-in-law, “Wendy.”
She married my older brother when I was a teen and has become the matriarch of the family after our parents’ deaths.
My younger brother and sister-in-law recently welcomed the first grandchildren into the clan.
I was upset that Wendy objected when I referred to myself as “Uncle Chosen Name.”
She quickly corrected me, using my birth name, which I do not use in any capacity.
Her own children call me by my chosen name, so there is no way this child will grow up using my birth name.
Wendy also creates awkward moments when she introduces me to her friends and says to me as an aside, “I explained about your name.” What?
Why is she explaining ANYTHING for me? They don’t need to have my name explained, especially in a way that makes me look like a gadfly with a personality disorder.
I have no other problem with Wendy, and have always considered her family.
How do I get her to understand that my name isn’t her choice and that her actions are extremely insulting and demeaning?
– Call me Ishmael