Sister-in-law's new boyfriend is named our favorite name :(

first time poster and need your help! I'm mom to Nicholas (we call him Nick) and expecting another son in just a few weeks. My husband and I chose the name Benjamin (Ben) as soon as we found it was a boy (in March). Fast forward to end of April, my husband's sister started dating a guy named Ben. We had chosen this name before he was in the picture but no one in the family knows this because we keep names a secret until our children are born. There's no telling this relationship will last, it's 50/50 at this point, but they will have been dating for four months at the most when our son is born. Can we still use the name? we can't find any other name that we love as much. Help!! Thanks.


By Fly
July 23, 2015 10:10 PM

I would still use it, your baby was in the family first. And hey, maybe there is a baby/future-uncle bond waiting to happen! My sister dated a guy with the same name as my brother and that worked out just fine, we had to give one a nickname to differentiate (young and old XD) but it wasn't a problem.

July 24, 2015 8:02 AM

Thanks! I agree, we may need to come up with a nickname to differentiate but if they were to be married, he would become Uncle Ben, which would help. 

July 23, 2015 10:48 PM

The way I see it, this could go 4 ways:

1) You name your baby Benjamin, SIL and Ben stay together. Most likely this would be completely fine, but maybe a little confusing.

2) You name your baby Benjamin, SIL and Ben break up. This will likely be a little awkward (depending on how long they're together before they break up), and potentially difficult for SIL. 

3) You find another name, SIL and Ben stay together. Everyone has different names. You might potentially regret not using Benjamin. 

4) You find another name, SIL and Ben break up. You don't have to deal with potential awkwardness of baby sharing a name with aunt's ex. You might regret not using Benjamin, but you don't have to deal with the baggage. 


Since the family didn't know that Baby's name was going to be Benjamin, technically the boyfriend "got there first". I really think that in the scenarios I mentioned, #2 should be avoided if at all possible, so I would recommend finding another option for your baby. If you can't let go of Benjamin, how about a different call name, like Benji, or maybe initials? 

July 24, 2015 8:06 AM

Thank you for such a thoughtful reply. I think the second scenario is a very likely scenario, which worries me. fortunately my husband just told me that his mother somehow knows we picked the name Benjamin (maybe I slipped once?? Pregnancy brain!) so at least she could now vouch for us that we picked the name before boyfriend Ben came along. One other thing I forgot to mention is that we only see my SIL a few times a year, so its not like the two Bens would be around each other all that often. 

July 24, 2015 12:52 AM

Ben is popular enough that you might get away with it - but it's probably worth explaining to your SIL that the baby was called this before they started dating and you just love the name. Perhaps a nickname for family use might help ease the confusion?

It also depends on your family, whether it's a large family and how many Bens you know outside of the family. in my little bubble, it's as common as John or Dan, and when chatting to my husband I can't refer to any Ben I know without using their surname, an agreed nickname or a descriptor like "nephew-Ben."

July 24, 2015 8:10 AM

Ben is not all that common in our family, no one in the extended family named Ben! Just a couple friends here and there. There are so many boys in the family with traditional names, so nearly everything is taken! More reason we want this name :) I'm thinking in my husband's family the two would be forever known as SIL's Ben and Husband's Ben, which is okay by me. We live far from family so our day to day life with my side of the family, close friends, etc. he'll just be Ben. 

By mk
July 24, 2015 12:56 AM

My first reaction is, so what? Use the name Benjamin. If she stays with him and he becomes Uncle Benjamin, they have a connection. If she breaks up with him, it won't make any difference. And you may end up regretting not using your favorite name.

July 24, 2015 8:11 AM

Thank you! i think you hit the nail on the head, and I will regret not using a name I love. I tend to agree with you on all the points you mentioned but just wanted to make sure i wasn't in the wrong!

July 24, 2015 12:18 PM

This.  I's Benjamin, which is a common, classic name.  It's not, I don't know, Aethelred, where I think everyone would be entitled to look at that oddly.

Your SIL's boyfriend may make a joke about it, and I'd keep that discussion on the light-and-jokey side; I don't think either he or your SIL will actually believe that the baby is named after him.  

July 24, 2015 1:15 AM

I think at four months at the most, you just don't factor him in. It's just way too early to be considering him family or adding him to the calculations-unless they seem super serious (My husband and I decided to get married after less than that, although we didn't make it legal for a year).

If he sticks around-fun coincidence. If he doesn't-meh; whatever, he'll be old news in no time.

The only exception to this is if you have some Spidey Sense that he is really a bad dude. If things ended very badly, and your baby then had the name of the rotten ex....that would be a little regrettable. OR, if your SIL is the type who just actively seeks out reasons for drama/bad blood. In that circumstance, I might go with Bennett or something along those lines, depending on the drama risk factor.

I do think you and your husband might find a light hearted way to give the sis a heads up.

July 24, 2015 8:17 AM

Thank you! I agree that I can't rule out names based on her dating history, there have been several boyfriends! I haven't met this guy (and I'm in no rush to, because of all this, plus my son doesn't know any Bens and I'd like the first one he meets to be his little brother in a few weeks!) so I can't tell if he's a really rotten guy. It does seem serious but I know they will date quite a while longer before deciding to marry. my SIL can be dramatic, but as I mentioned in another comment, my husband just informed me that his mom actually knows that we picked this name (one of us must have unknowingly slipped), so she could vouch for us about the name being decided first if my SIL gets catty when she learns of the name. 

July 24, 2015 4:55 AM

If it was an unusual name, Reginald say, I might re-think it. But I think Benjamin is an expected enough name that it wouldn't matter. Would it be weird for you if your sister in law was dating a Nicholas?

July 24, 2015 8:21 AM

Thank you for your input! You bring up a good point, I wouldn't really care if she brought home a Nicholas/Nick! In my world there's only one, my son, which may sound selfish, but that's how moms are, right? :) I guess the issue here is that I don't want any drama with her upset over us using her boyfriend's name, but I can't really control that. 

July 24, 2015 8:48 AM

This is what I wanted to say: you are saved in this scenario because Ben(jamin) is such a sturdy, traditional name. Even your SIL will likely have more than one association with the name, and since you don't see them often, that helps too. I would go with it!

July 24, 2015 12:22 PM

Thank you! You've all made me feel better about going with my gut, which of course is using the name.

July 24, 2015 2:21 PM

I'm so glad to hear you say that your gut is telling you to use the name. Nick & Ben and Nicholas & Benjamin are great pairs, and a new rel of a SIL you see every couple of months is not worth changing the name you will use hundreds of times every day. I don't care how common or unusual the name is. It's nice to think of her potential future feelings in case they break up, but the rel is too new, there are too many What Ifs for it to get any real weight.

July 24, 2015 4:46 PM

Thanks AJ! I appreciate you sharing your advice and opinion. I'm also thrilled that I'm not the only one who loves Nicholas and Benjamin as a pair :)

July 24, 2015 6:49 PM

Yes, I think you can still use the name.  If the boyfriend stays around, him having the same name as your son (his possible nephew) is not a big deal.  If the boyfriend goes, you could regret using the name you love.

If anyone comments, a simple explanation that you'd picked out the name before your sister started dating him should be enough.

July 28, 2015 8:51 PM

Use it or you'll lose your favorite name.  Simple as that.

July 29, 2015 12:15 AM

I second that. It's a classic; you're in the clear.

July 29, 2015 1:57 AM

Yep, it is YOUR name.  Go for it!  That said, I would give her/them a heads up so that they're not caught by surprise.  There is also the possibility of Bennett to distinguish the name a bit, without giving up "Ben."

July 29, 2015 7:47 PM

Thanks everybody! You have made me feel way more confident in going forward with using the name Benjamin. I'm so excited for him to get here!

September 16, 2015 11:32 AM

We welcomed baby Benjamin on Sept 3. So far, no mention from anyone on it being someone else's name too :-P

By mk
September 16, 2015 11:44 AM


September 16, 2015 3:41 PM

Congrats! I'm glad it worked out for you and thanks for the update.

September 17, 2015 2:56 AM

Congratulations on your new arrival, and his handsome name--and many thanks for updating us!

September 17, 2015 4:17 PM

I commented before reading this! 

Congratulations. I'm glad you used the name, it's beautiful.

September 17, 2015 5:59 PM

Oh, congratulations! I'm so pleased to hear the update, as always, and in this case it's especially nice to have coroboration that it really isn't a big deal to point to the next time someone has a similar dilemma! Enjoy your well-named baby!

September 21, 2015 4:38 PM

Congratulations! I love the name Benjamin!

September 17, 2015 4:16 PM

If it were an uncommon name - something you hardly ever hear I would likely not use it. Benjamin though, is a classic, and therefore I don't think it matters at all.


*Unless he turns out to be some kind of complete psycho or does something really terrible before the birth.