Do I Have To Pretend To Like My Mom's New Partner?

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
I've been really trying to get along with my mom's new partner, but I can't stand him. I’m glad she has someone and she seems happy, but he just isn’t good enough for her. His sense of humor is totally inappropriate and immature, and I find him generally unpleasant to be around. She’s been on her own for a while, so at first I was very excited that she found someone, but the truth is my mom deserves so much better than this loser. It makes me sad to see her settle just because she's lonely. Is it wrong of me to ask her not to bring him around when we hang out?
Chikeitha Owens, Licensed Professional Counselor: It’s not exactly wrong, but it is a tiny bit selfish. Did you ever date someone, maybe in high school, who was sporadically rude to your friends and family, and your mom was gracious enough to look the other way? Now, it’s your turn to take the high road. While it’s totally natural that you’re protective of your mother and value your time together, you should want her to have a full life outside of you. Unless this man is dangerous or disrespectful, it’s not really your place to approve or disapprove.
Think about how this would play out: You tell her you don’t like him, not realizing their connection, and it totally backfires and results in her spending less time with you instead of with him. She's your mom; she loves you. But, if she's forced to make an adjustment based on your feelings, that means less time with you or her partner, and it’s unfair to push that decision on her when she’s just trying to get her groove back.
If she's happy with him and is not in any danger, then you must be careful of how you talk to her about her beau — saying something negative could do more harm than good. Depending on how you handle this situation, you might wind up driving her closer to him and further from you. The following tips can help you manage this situation maturely without putting a dent in your relationship with your mom.