Dear Abby:

My boyfriend, "Roy," and I have been dating almost a year. We are both 21 but have known each other since we were 8.

Lately, his mother has been making hurtful comments like, "Wow, you're not dressed like a slut today," or "How come you're always here when I come to see my son?"

I don't want to be disrespectful, but her comments are insulting. I don't dress like an extra in a music video. Having been brought up in a Christian home, and still living in one, I know the difference between cute clothes and trashy attire.

These comments from Ray's mother started when he and I began dating. I don't know if it's my clothes she hates, or if it's the fact that Roy and I are considering taking the next step.

It also bothers me that Roy doesn't say anything when his mother rips me to shreds. My mother told me to keep my distance from Roy's mom and make sure he knows how I feel about his silence.

Roy is a "mama's boy," so I don't expect him to say anything to his mother. I don't even expect him to understand how I feel. I just want to know the proper way to handle things the next time his mom criticizes me.

The Girlfriend

Roy's mother sees you as a threat. Her comments are intended to drive you away. Unless Roy speaks up, her behavior will escalate. If you continue to tolerate her behavior, Roy's mother will make your life hell. And if you marry him, she will rule the roost.

Explain to Roy how hurtful his mother's comments are.

Tell him that you will no longer tolerate them, and the next time she insults you, you will say, "Roy how do YOU feel about the way your mother is talking to me? Do you agree with her?" Make it clear that if he fails to stand up for you and tell his mother that he expects you to be treated with respect, the relationship is over.

Dear Abby:

I am a 16-year-old girl and haven't had my period for almost five months. What does that mean?

Needs to Know in Miami

There could be several reasons for it. However, the person to determine the cause should be your doctor. Please do not wait to discuss the problem with him or her. Ask your mother to schedule an appointment and accompany you. It will put your concerns to rest.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate