Ask James: ‘My Boyfriend’s Family Don’t Like Me, Should I Try Impress Them?’

James Kavanagh answers your questions as only a gas bitch can.

There’s been so much action and talk around the Black Lives Matter movement and it’s something that’s moved me and I want to get more involved. Any ideas on where to start or where to help in Ireland? Christine, Dublin

I think one of the first things we need to do is to get more black people on to our timelines. Hear them, listen to their experiences and amplify their voices wherever possible (there are loads of great people to follow, but @ericacody, @musicbyloah, @celaviedmai & @the_amanda_ade are all fab women to follow and listen to). Sometimes I’m stuck for words when things like this happen, so I find it easier (and perhaps more constructive) to share a black person’s voice and thoughts on the situation. And remember, racism isn’t something that’s happening in America, it’s absolutely everywhere and white people need to stand up to it. Listen, learn and be an example of the change you want to see in the world.

I feel like my boyfriend’s family don’t like me. He’s a real mammy’s boy, which actually causes issues with us – apparently, none of what I do around the house is quite to the same standard as what his mum would do. I also don’t think anyone’s ever been good enough for him – according to his family. Should I just ignore them, or try to impress them? Rachael, Dublin

I’m sorry, but there’s nothing worse than parents who pour undiluted praise, service and love on their kids. They usually grow up to be unbearably hard to please. Obviously love your kids etc, but don’t give them a God-complex. Your relationship is first and foremost with him, not his family, so to be frank, don’t care what they think if you’re happy – they sound like meddlers. But it kinda sounds like you’ve got two issues here. He sounds like a bit of a Gaston… I’d re-evaluate your position in the relaysh; are you his servant or his equal? Get him to pick up his load a bit.

I often end up paying for a lot of the household bits. My boyfriend (he actually moved in recently and I take care of the finances) doesn’t throw money towards stuff at all – and he has a well-paid job. I have asked for contributions, but I hate having to ask all of the time because it’s awkward. What do I do? Anon, Dublin

Ugh, there is nothing worse than a cheapskate that you have to live with. What I’ve done in the past with house-scrooges is added up all the bits for the house; food (if you share meals), cleaning bits and rent, and ask for the total sum per month so all the bits are included in the monthly rent. Same sum, every month. If he’s still being weird about that, eject him from your life.

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