Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Resents Wife's Desire for a Little Time on Her Own

DEAR ABBY: I must be old-fashioned, but I believe that dinnertime should be sacred family time. The phone should be turned off and the doorbell ignored.

After many years, I've finally convinced my husband to let the answering machine pick up calls while we're having dinner. However, another problem is that he cannot turn away visitors who come to our door while we're having dinner.

My husband thinks it's rude to turn someone away. I believe his inability to do this is a sign of immaturity and lack of consideration for his family.

Is it rude to tell people, "We are just sitting down to dinner -- may I call you or come by your house when we're finished?"

Please settle this long-standing debate, Abby. Who is right? -- EXASPERATED WIFE

DEAR EXASPERATED WIFE: Much depends upon who the drop-ins are. If they are "regulars," then your family time policy should be explained. If they're out-of-towners who just happen to be in the neighborhood, make an exception, invite them in and order a pizza.