Hi Duana

I am expecting my 2nd girl at the end of this month. To put it mildly myself and my other half had difficulty agreeing on a name the first time around. I wanted Ellis or Archie for a girl. He wanted Kate or Anna. He refuses to entertain surnames, "boys" names or names that he will have to explain or spell.  At the very last minute we hit upon Elise and both liked it, so now we have an Elise. However, now we are starting from scratch. He's back to Kate and Anna, both beautiful names no doubt, but I just wanted something a little less traditional if possible. I have suggested the following (in no particular order of preference): Greta, Camilla, Camille, Pia, Nia (sounds like rye-a), Laina/Lena/Leni, Margot, Nina and Jamie. (Nia is the female Irish version of his name and James was his Dad's name, so I like both those for family reasons) However, none of these has been met with approval. I am at my wits end and due in a few weeks. Any suggestions would be so gratefully received.
Thanks a million


Okay, I’m going to suggest some names in a minute, but that’s not what you actually need. 

What you need is a naming partner who will come up with other suggestions to make you happy, instead of sticking to the two he’s decided he likes. Please make no mistake, I’m not saying anything about your partner overall, and I think this is a situation a lot of couples get themselves into, where one says ‘I like X’, and the other offers a million alternatives to x, over and over, for the duration.

Don’t do it. Tell him, “It’s not going to be Kate or Anna. I don’t like them.” Then WAIT.

I know what you’re thinking. “But I do kind of like them, I mean if it's the only option, I don’t mind…” I get it. And Anna is one of those names I come back to a lot, and Kate is crisp and serviceable and pretty. But if you don’t like them, it’s not on you to offer endless alternatives, because your partner doesn’t need them. He has names he likes. You need him to find names that you like.

But you’re due at the end of this month. I got you. So without ceding your position, here are some other names that you can, under extreme duress, deign to consider as he worries that your child will be nameless forever. As a bonus, they’re names that work with Elise, of which I am biased-ly fond.

So it’s such an old standby of mine, but there’s never been a better time for Annika. It, and its variations like Anouk, are just Anna variants, but they feel clean and fresh and have ‘Anna’ right in them. Or what about Katrin? Has a similar structure but none of the popularity?

How about Helena, from Camilla? Or, if he likes shorter names, Adele? Or Eve or Jane or Louise? Even though Anna ends in A, it seems like part of what he’s avoiding is too much ‘decoration’ at the end, so maybe only one super-articulated vowel sound would help? Simone? Nadine? Eugenie, which I know contradicts everything I’ve said, but could be shortened to “Genie”?  

Could he be looking for the classic-yet-familiar? Audrey? Rachel? Clara? No, they’re not so uncommon, but they might feel a little less well-worn than the two you’d like to avoid.

My last suggestion is one of those names that was supposed to be timeless but was so popular that it wasn’t—could your baby daughter be Laura? I know, you probably know two at work, and nobody relishes thinking that their baby’s name belongs to someone else—but it’s fundamentally beautiful, not overly frilly, and is beautiful with Elise. And she’ll likely be the only one of her age.

See which ones you like, make a secret list, then make him be the suggestor. See what happens from there. And let me know!