There's something about the holiday season that brings out family drama.
A few days after Christmas, Redditor Throwawayveeplalw wrote a post asking for feedback on how he responded to accusations from his ex-girlfriend's daughter.
He received an unexpected Facebook message from the 13-year-old daughter of an ex-girlfriend. Apparently, the girl's mom told her the man was her biological father and he abandoned her when she was a child.
However, there was way more to the story.
The man posted his story on the "Am I The A**hole" subReddit, where people ask other users if they handled personal situations appropriately.
He gave some background information about why the relationship between him and the ex-girlfriend fell apart.
"10 years ago I (33M) walked out on my ex girlfriend (33F) and her daughter (now 13F). Why? Because it turned out that 'my' daughter wasn't actually mine. My ex had cheated."
"I confronted her and she broke down. I walked out. It was messy because of the amount I also spent on lawyers."
He was blindsided by an angry message he received from his ex's teenage daughter on Facebook.
"I have been no contact since. That is until now, I got a fFacebook message from her daughter which was very abrasive."
"She was accusing me of abandoning her and what kind of father does that. It seems that my ex didn't have the guts to admit her infidelity?"
While her mother had apparently failed to share the full story of why the man left, he didn't hesitate to tell her the truth.
"I told her daughter that I'm not her father and that her mother cheated. She didn't take it well but I provided evidence."
"She actually had the maturity to apologize."
The teen daughter apologized for the angry message, but her mother was not so forgiving.
"Now my ex got a hold of my Facebook and has been blowing up my messenger calling me AH and all sorts."
"Even my sister (35F) said I shouldn't have told."
"[Am I the a$$hole?] AITA?"
People felt empathy for the man and the girl.
It must have been heartbreaking for the man to learn that his "daughter" wasn't really his, and a tough decision to leave a child that he helped raise for three years.
User mynameisegg wrote:
"I bet it was pretty heartbreaking for OP to find out that the 3 year old he thought was his, wasn't. He would have no legal rights over this kid, nor did he want to be with her mother anymore."
"It would be awkward and perhaps even impossible (depending on the amicability of the split) to try to continue a relationship with this child. As a three year old, she would have been too young to have any of this explained to her."
"The knee-jerk reaction you're having is 'how can you leave this child you've loved as your own for three years?' Real life is not that simple; It's a complex situation."
whyamilikethis1089 thought about it from both angles:
"There is no 'right' answer here, they both got screwed. Recognizing that this was devastating and horrible to both is ok."
"No one is saying that he should have stayed, just that him staying would have been the best for the kid, but he also can't be blamed for not staying."
"Basically his decision not to stay and the effect on kid is still the cheaters fault."
Kapalaka said the decision was best for the long term:
"NTA. Alleged-daughter now knows the truth, and unfortunately it hurts. The whole situation is a lose-lose, but at least with this outcome you cleared your name and gave the girl some closure with regard to you."
"All these years she has had the false narrative that she was 'abandoned' from her mother, but now she knows the person that nurtured her left because of something awful her mother did."
"The mother should not have lied and started a ripple effect of pain for everyone. What's worse, she did it to cover her shame; not out of emotional consideration for the daughter."
"It's an awful situation but OP has to take care of his own well-being, too. Setting yourself on fire to keep someone else warm is never good long-term."
Overall, people thought he was right to tell her he wasn't her biological father.
"The child has the right to know, and the wife is a coward for not admitting her infidelity and accusing OP of being a deadbeat, when he is innocent in all this."
brownbird8888 said the truth was important:
"NTA. You set the record straight with everybody. Your ex's daughter deserves to know the truth."
Someone posting under the screen name BigSexii related to the story:
"NTA - this hit close to home. My 'dad' left when I was 4 and resented him for years. One day my mom accidentally let it slip that he lived in town again so I (16 at the time) paid him a visit."
"It turned out my real father had been in prison, and he only tried to help my mom out all those years. I immediately stopped resenting him."
"You did the right thing in telling her, because it's obvious her mom wasn't going to."
Several users pointed out that the root of the drama was the mother's lies.
Thrwforksandknives pointed out:
"NTA. Your ex was caught in a lie and can't handle the fall out."
User electronm wrote:
"Totally NTA! Not only she lied to you for a long time, she lied to her own daughter for even longer time. And it's a very big and ugly lie."
"She's basically blaming you for telling her daughter what she needed to tell her a long time ago and take responsibility for her actions."
Many questioned the ex-girlfriend's motives and reasons for lying to her daughter about who her dad was.
"Did the mother never think that the daughter would reach out? The mother clearly played this off like she did nothing wrong and her 'dad' just up and left one day."
"How horrible is that? Making your child think that their father abandoned them, when in reality, they were the one who cheated, and couldn't muster up the courage to be honest."
"I feel so badly for that 13 year old girl. Finding our your mother has lied to you your whole life. Awful."
981206 felt that the mom used him as a scapegoat:
"Mom wanted to play victim so her daughter wouldn't be mad at her, and you were the easy target because she hadn't spoken to you in a decade."
"It was the right thing to tell her, and the only reason they disagree is because they now have to deal with the fallout of an angry 13yo who was lied to about OP just leaving her for her whole life."
It's undoubtably an all around sad situation.
While the truth does hurt, it was still very important for the daughter to know the man she thought was her father did not, in fact, abandon her for no reason. If knowing the identity of her biological father is important to her, then we hope her mother will be able to tell her accurate information to follow on.