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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.

DEAR ABBY: My parents and my older brother, "Mike," cannot get along. To make matters worse, my sister-in-law, "Janice," is holding the children for ransom from my parents until they resolve their differences with Mike.

Abby, my parents have tried many times to reconcile, but it always blows up into a huge argument where nothing is resolved.

My sister and I feel stuck in the middle. Since my parents are denied their grandchildren, I feel guilty for having a relationship with my nieces and nephew.

They are all so stubborn, and it's tearing our family apart. What can I do? -- STUCK IN THE MIDDLE

DEAR STUCK: Why should your nieces and nephew lose their aunts because of the inability of the parents and grandparents to make peace in the family? Please don't make your parents' problems your own. Forget the guilt and see the children.

DEAR ABBY: My husband has been supporting a man for the last nine months. So far he has given him a house, a $6,000 truck and has paid all of his bills.

I went away for a week, and when I came back, I found this man in my house. What do I do? -- WONDERING IN UTAH

DEAR WONDERING: First, ask your husband what his relationship is with this man, and why he is being so generous. Does he owe this person a debt? Are they lovers? If his answers don't satisfy you, consult a lawyer before all the assets are depleted.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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