Baby-names are, like, serious things. Turns out you can’t just steal one from someone you know — because not only is that weird (there are literally millions of other names to choose from), you will cross a boundary with your friend/family member and they WILL hate you — or at least they’ll write a flaming Reddit post about you!
Over at Reddit’s r/Am I The A-Hole, an OP says, “As soon as we found out I was pregnant, we started referring to the baby by name. Because we’ve had this name in mind for so many years, our whole family knows the name and the meaning behind it….My cousin’s wife gave birth two weeks ago. They had refused to tell anyone what name(s) they were thinking about during the pregnancy, which is fine. But the name that they ended up choosing is pretty much exactly the same as the name my husband and I chose for our baby.”
The OP’s baby name? The OP won’t say, but they do give an example: “It would be like if our baby’s name was Mary Elizabeth, then the name they chose is Mary Eliza.”
The OP continued to explain that she was pretty annoyed (who wouldn’t be?). Yes, it seems petty, but a name IS a big part of someone’s identity:
“I was pretty upset when I found out, because they definitely knew the name we’d chosen and it feels weird and kind of spiteful to use it. I know we don’t own the name or anything, so we can’t stop them from using it, but it still felt pretty icky. My husband and I basically decided to just be sort of privately weirded out but to try our best to ignore it.”
But the OP’s family isn’t exactly about taking the high road:
“Well, it turns out that even though my husband and I are trying to take the high road here, the rest of the family is pretty mad. Apparently, a bunch of them (including my cousin’s mom) have reached out and told my cousin and his wife that what they did is really shitty and that they need to think about changing their baby’s name. I absolutely didn’t ask them to do this, but I can’t pretend I’m not happy that people are ‘taking our side.'”
And then the cousin got mad at the OP and essentially asked her to tell their family to chill out. Yikes.
“My cousin called me yesterday and said that I need to call all of our family and tell them to stop pressuring him about the name and that I’m fine with it, because they’re ruining his and his wife’s time with their newborn. I have no intention of doing so because A) I didn’t ask them to talk to him about it in the first place and B) I’m not fine with it; I think it’s weird that he and his wife did this and I have no interest in defending him. AITA?”
The Reddit commenters shared their perspective — and it was mostly leaning toward NTA responses (Not The A-Hole).
Many people were like, “they’re sneaky…”
“NTA. Cleary your cousin was keeping the name secret because they knew this was going to cause a ruckus – and did it anyways. Good on your family for seeing the BS, too.” — GrizzlyDraws
“Exactly what I thought too. They kept it a secret because they were scared of the fallout. Now that’s it’s happening they cant deal and want to blame someone else. Honestly I don’t know why you would want all that stress just to steal a name.” — hotfrspock
“My aunt did this to my mom. Turns out my aunt is a narcissistic sociopath who has committed a litany of sadistic interferences over the years, and everyone hates her. It wasn’t an accident and it was very likely done to hurt feelings, as they obviously knew what you’d picked out.” — MeaningfulPlatitudes
Others thought these cousins were no-good garbage humans that need to be avoided:
“Honestly they did it bc they are drama starters! Apparently these cousins have a competitive relationship with OP. They did this to start drama. Only jerks do stuff like this. Distance yourself from this cousin. If they steal your unborn child’s name, god knows what kind of crap they’ll try and pull in the future. You see their true colors now! I’m sorry this happened but at least you know what you’re a dealing with and at least the rest of the family does as well.” — SassyPikachuu
People were ALL ABOUT the OP’s family coming to their defense, too.
“God no, NTA. I LOVE that OP’s family are pushing back. My kind of family!” — PretentiousUsername
Some people thought the cousins were jerks, but not because they kept the name a secret.
“Cleary your cousin was keeping the name secret because maybe it’s a cultural thing, but most people I know who’ve had kids in the UK haven’t told anyone the name until after their children have been born and named. They haven’t “kept it secret,” it’s just not really the done thing to mention the future children’s names for all sorts of reasons. I’m not saying that the cousin isn’t an arsehole, just that “keeping the name secret” before the birth isn’t necessarily a sign of guilt or if anything else.” — Grayson481
But at least a few people took this stance, although this was as diplomatic as it got:
“I know I’m in the minority here but I just don’t see what the big deal is if second cousins have the same name. That’s getting fairly extended as far as families go. Also, I don’t believe in this whole “claiming names” thing for the most part anyway. Edit to add: For all we know the cousin or his wife also has a sentimental reason why they chose that name for their child. To assume that OP’s reason is more legitimate or important is wrong. OP can still name her child what she planned anyway because, again, second cousins. Those kids don’t even have the same grandparents. —CornPorridge
“I would say that the family needs to cut it out with the “change your baby’s name” BS. The damage has been done. It’s not the kid’s fault. And as sad as it is to hear, you can’t call dibs on baby names. Just name your child whatever you want and move on. The kids won’t care. If they even grow up together, they may even think it’s cool.” —TechLeopard
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