My mother-in-law is a self-proclaimed cougar.

My father-in-law died suddenly about a year ago. About six months later, my mother-in-law started dating, and then a few months after that called my husband to announce that she officially has a boyfriend. If that weren’t traumatic enough, she’s giddy like a little girl and calling herself a “cougar” because her boyfriend is a couple years younger than she is—which is not that young.

I feel like she is trying to move on with her life and I’m happy for her, but my husband is understandably upset and confused about her behavior. He is still sad about the death of his father and has trouble seeing how she could date someone else so soon after her husband’s death. My mother-in-law wants us to meet her boyfriend, and has tried to get my husband to say hello to him on the phone, but so far my husband says he just can’t do it. Should I push him to meet his mom’s boyfriend? I think once he sees how happy she is, he will actually feel better, but he says it’s too soon.

Your poor husband. No one wants to hear their mother giggling and calling herself a cougar. I think even Oedipus would be like, “Whoa, mom, dial it back a little bit, and please don’t say the phrase ‘tight buns’ to me ever again.”

The problem here is the grieving. It’s taking your husband his own amount of time, and he’s dealing with it in his own way. His mother is taking her own amount of time, and is dealing with it in a much different way. There’s no right or wrong way to go through this, and I think if your husband makes an effort to wrap his head around that, he’ll be able to at least put the judgments on hold.

I don’t think you should push him to do anything. All I think you should do is continue being a concerned, kind, understanding, supportive wife, and to encourage him, should he ask, to do what makes him comfortable when it comes to meeting his mom’s boyfriend. Try and gently remind him that his mom is in the throes of her first new romance in God-knows-how-many years; just because she’s happy with her PYT doesn’t mean she loves your husband’s dad any less.

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