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by Abigail Van Buren

If Caller Id Says Husband, Wife Should Take His Call

DEAR ABBY: When my husband, "Mac," calls me on the phone, he expects me to look at the caller ID and immediately interrupt whatever conversation I'm having to take his call.

Unless I expect an important call (from a doctor or my children's school), I do not look at the caller ID. I give my full attention to the person I'm speaking to. If I hear someone "beep," I'll attempt to quickly bring the conversation to a polite and natural end before calling back the person who tried to reach me.

Mac believes that anyone I'm talking to should understand that he takes priority. Today, he called seven times in two minutes to then berate me for not instantly taking his call about an unimportant matter.

Abby, in Mac's defense, he's a high-level executive with limited free time during the day. He is not otherwise demanding and usually calls me only once a day. I make every effort to quickly wrap up my phone calls and return his within minutes. Who is right? -- ON A SHORT PHONE LEASH

DEAR ON A SHORT PHONE LEASH: As your husband is a high-level executive, his time may be tightly scheduled. Because he calls you only once a day, it's not too much to ask that you take the call. I can understand that he finds it frustrating that you refuse. If I were you, I'd start taking these calls -- unless you would prefer getting your messages from your husband via his personal assistant.