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by Abigail Van Buren

Boyfriend's Mockery Is No Laughing Matter

DEAR ABBY: I have been dating a man I'll call Ben for five months. He recently quit his job to go back to school full time (he's 29), and I support him financially. Things were fine until he started hanging out with some college kids who live next door to us.

When Ben and I are alone or around his adult friends, things are fine. But when he gets around these fellow students, which is often, Ben mocks me in front of them. For example, when I go next door to tell him dinner is ready, he'll start making fun of me in a really embarrassing and juvenile way.

I know it may be fun for him to relive his college days, but being made to look like a fool in front of his buddies is starting to wear thin.

I have discussed this with him. He insists that he's just playing around (even though I wind up in tears), and says that I'm too controlling, this is his only life, and he's only having fun.

Is this something he's going to grow out of? -- TIRED OF BEING THE JOKE

DEAR TIRED: Not without help. What you're describing isn't immaturity; it's hostility. You say you are supporting him while he attends school full time. Perhaps the burden of gratitude has grown uncomfortably heavy, so he's taking it out on you and trying to make himself look less dependent in front of his schoolmates. He could also be using you. Regardless of his motive, he is showing disregard for your feelings. Put your foot down now or it will get worse.