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by Abigail Van Buren

Woman Objects to Giving Cell Phone Number to Her Boss

DEAR ABBY: My boss wants my cell phone number for "work purposes." He has trouble with limits, and I am reluctant to give it to him. I don't want to receive text messages, unsolicited calls or contact outside of work. My private life is just that -- private.

I have kept an unlisted cell number for many years for good reason. I have a home phone and will answer it when the boss calls. I arrive promptly at work, but leave the job there.

My privacy is important. I had a bad marriage, and there was stalking and invasion by my ex-husband. Those individuals who need my cell number have access to it.

Am I out of line? I realize that many people use their cell phones as their only phones and others don't mind receiving calls, but am I required to do so?

I think this has upset my boss even though I have explained my reason. I don't use my cell phone on the job; it's in my purse except during personal time (lunch, etc.). Must I give up my privacy to keep my job? -- WANTS PRIVACY

DEAR WANTS PRIVACY: As long as your boss has your home phone and can reach you in case of some emergency, I see no reason why he should be pressuring you for your cell phone number. Stick to your guns and don't apologize for it.

DEAR ABBY: I'm a 16-year-old girl whose parents have been married for almost 19 years. Mom started school two years ago to become a nurse.

She has always been an independent woman, but since she went back to school and is making her own money, she feels the need to be more free. Mom works eight to 12 hours a day. She leaves early and comes home late. She never stays for dinner when she's home, nor does she do anything with us as a family anymore. She used to work in the same study as my dad, but she moved upstairs. She also won't sleep in the same bed as Dad.

Mom is seeing a marriage counselor, and she wants a divorce and to move away. She says nothing is broken in the marriage and there's nothing to fix -- but why does she want to leave? She promises she won't see less of us, but she will be more than a half-hour away. She works nonstop and is constantly going out with her friends. I miss her, and I want my old Mom back! Is there any way I can stop her from going? Am I selfish for wanting her to stay? -- SHAKEN IN VIRGINIA

DEAR SHAKEN: You are going through a rough period, and you have my sympathy. Your mother appears to be so preoccupied with herself that she has forgotten she's a mother. Under the circumstances, all of your feelings are normal. Of course you want your mother and your old life back, and those feelings aren't "selfish."

While you can't stop your mother from leaving, you can ask her if you can join her during a couple of her therapy sessions so you can air your feelings in a safe environment and get some of the answers you're looking for. There are very real changes going on in your life and your parents'. You deserve some answers, and you are old enough to hear them.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)