My husband and I are expecting our second son in early July and have yet to find a name for the kid. With our first son it seems like we just happened across a name and loved it from the beginning whereas this time he loves one name and I love none. Our first sons name is Evan; our last name sounds like Nolan, but with an R instead of an N. He loves the name Bennett and I have mixed feelings about it. Some days I like the name (and almost commit!) but other days I think it sounds a little soft or something. Also, I don't like nicknames and would never call him Ben and wouldn't want others to either - I don't think I want that battle.
Names that I like are Owen (but I think it doesn't go well with our last name), Henry and Emmett (but I'm not sure how I feel about the double E sibling name). My husband likes Emmett but doesn't like Owen or Henry as much as Bennett. The middle name will be either Thierry (pronounced TYAIR ee), honoring both my husbands grandmother Terry who passed away and my French heritage or Cruz (we got married in Santa Cruz). Girl names that we considered before we found out the baby was a boy were Emerson (surprisingly I had no problem with that double E sibling pair) and Aislinn. Evan decided to arrive 3 weeks early so I'm starting to panic that the new baby will be born and we still won't have a name for him. I just keep waiting for something to hit me and to just know that we have found his name but I haven't had that kind of "yes, this is it!" moment yet. Should I just commit to the name my husband loves (Bennett) but I only like (most of the time)?
I do think that if one parent can't think of any other name he or she likes better, and the deadline of The Baby Is Here has arrived and there is no more time to keep looking, it can work out well to go with a name that's "fine" with one parent and "TRULUV4EVA!!" for the other.
But I also think two strikes against a name is a problem, and the Ben battle is a second strike: people now are much less likely to go by nicknames, but if you're very opposed to them I think it makes for a happier life to find a name without such a natural one.
(A possible third strike is that when I say "Evan and Bennett" aloud, there is something that seems odd about it to me. I can't put a finger on it. Maybe the four similar vowel sounds in a row, combined with the repeating N-sound and the matching rhythms of the names?)
If you do decide Bennett isn't going to work, it's important for your husband to shift mindsets: the hunt can't be "You trying to find him a name he likes better than Bennett," but instead needs to be "Both of you looking for the name you like best out of the names that are not Bennett."
Emmett seems like an excellent alternative. It has a very similar sound, but no natural nickname. My one hesitation is that it seems very similar in sound to Evan. I don't think it's too similar to use, but it's getting close. (I'd also suggest Everett, but that one does seem too similar to me.)
Elliot seems great to me. It does repeat the E, but it doesn't have a natural nickname. Evan and Elliot. I like that a lot.
Other possibilities that sound similar to Bennett:
Some of these don't work very well in style with Evan, but I like Evan and Garrett, and I like Evan and Jared.
Departing from the sound of Bennett and focusing more on sibling names for an Evan, I suggest Keegan. I am freshly pleased with this name because I met a Keegan at a child's birthday party last weekend, and he was adorable. Evan and Keegan.
I also mention Derek, because it was the name agreed on by another couple I know who had a similar situation. Evan and Derek.
Name update! Marie writes:
Well, better late than never right? Bennett Thierry was born one day after his due date on July 12. He was nameless for awhile after he was born but then I started to see how maybe he actually kind of did look like a Ben. For now, while we can control it he'll go by Bennett and then when he's older my heart won't break if he decides to go by Ben. Interestingly, after we finally told everyone his name my dad told us that since the baby was born he kept thinking that his name was Ben (but for Benedict) so that was pretty cool. And then we also found out that my mother-in-laws husband had a grandfather whose name was Bennett. So after all that crazy stress the name Bennett actually ended up being pretty special. Everybody loves the name and we get compliments on it all the time. Now after all is said and done we love the name Bennett for our little guy and couldn't imagine anything else for him. And bonus I have a favorite name for a potential third kid (Leo) which of course guarantees that if we actually have a third kid it will definitely be a girl. A huge thanks to you and all your readers who weighed in!