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'AITA for refusing to lie to my niece about why she's not allowed to come skiing with me?' UPDATED

'AITA for refusing to lie to my niece about why she's not allowed to come skiing with me?' UPDATED

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"AITA for refusing to lie to my niece about why she is not allowed to come skiing with me?"

Here's the original post:

I (F29) have a brother, Hugo (M31). When Hugo was 19 he got his then-girlfriend Amy pregnant. They had their daughter Ashley (now 11) and later got married and had a baby boy (4).

Over the years, I've become close to Ashley. When I'm home (I live abroad) I take her out to shows, shopping, horse riding etc. We also keep in contact via text. She’s bright and thoughtful, just a pleasure to have around. Amy has never liked me but has mostly put this aside for Ashley.

Me and my bf are visiting my family for Christmas and then leaving to go skiing. We arranged for Ashley to come skiing and stay with us for New Years. Amy wasn't keen on this idea but relented because Ashley was excited to learn how to ski, as all her school friends do.

I took my bf's hire car to pick Ashley up from school on Friday, and she was excited because it's a sports car and I let her friends sit in it and take pictures. At dinner, she asked if I would drive her to and chaperone her and her friends going ice skating on Tuesday in town. Hugo said I probably didn't want to look after a bunch of kids, and Amy had already planned to chaperone.

Ashley ignored him and begged me to chaperone. I didn't really mind but Amy looked annoyed so I said I wouldn't want to mess with the established plan. Ashley kept pushing, and said she didn't want Amy to come because Amy dressed badly and was never fun and embarrassed her.

Hugo told her to apologise, which she did, but she also kept insisting it was true. Amy got teary and Hugo kept telling Ashley she’d upset her mother but this just made Ashley angrier and she dug her heels in. Because of this, she was told she was not allowed to go ice skating and is now not speaking to Amy.

Yesterday, Amy and Hugo came to me and said they didn’t want Ashley to come skiing anymore. Amy feels like Ashley needs to spend more time with her family and Hugo is supporting her. They asked if I would tell Ashley that me and bf had changed our plans and wouldn’t be going on the trip anymore.

I asked why and they said if they told Ashley the truth that she would blame Amy and that would defeat the point of her trying to build a bridge with Ashley. I said I understand that but I didn’t feel right lying to Ashley and if her parents had made the decision they need to deal with the consequences not push it onto me.

Amy said if I cared about Ashley I would realise it’s best for me to fall on my sword rather than alienate her further from her mother. I said no again but Hugo said we should all take until Wednesday to think about it.

Ashley is still being very standoffish to her mother, and I know if she finds out her mother cancelled the ski trip it will get worse, so now I’m wondering if I should go along with Amy’s plan. I just want what’s best for Ashley. AITA?

Editing to add the background to Amy and Ashley’s relationship (commented this elsewhere): A lot of it comes from Amy trying very hard to be Ashley’s friend. Amy was young when she had Ashley and she was quite isolated caring for her while Hugo worked and went to uni (he was cut off by our parents at that time).

She threw all her efforts into being a mum and being as close to Ashley as humanly possible. Ashley has explained to me that this has become very suffocating to her. She is trying to forge her own circle and she feels like Amy insists on being part of it, while also refusing to engage with her on her level.

The second part is that my parents pay for Ashley to attend a very prestigious private school. Hugo and Amy are nowhere near as affluent as the other families and Ashley feels a bit left out. It’s part of the reason I have chipped in for some of her extra curricular activities.

But the fact is, she doesn’t always feel like she fits in, which is hard for her. Her school is full of non-working “Range Rover/birkin” mothers who are either “cool” or absent, and Amy is neither. She’s involved but Ashley finds her stifling, and doesn’t want her involved in her social life.

it’s also my opinion that Ashley is trying to get some emotional space from her mother only way she knows how - by making her not want to spend time with her. Amy doesn’t respond to her requests so I think she’s just resorting to being mean to her. Which obviously isn’t okay.

Edit 2 since this is being asked a lot: Ashley and I have talked since the dinner and she knows I think she shouldn’t have said what she said, we’ve talked about it. Even she said she shouldn’t have said what she said. Did I go ham and tell her she’s entitled/spoilt/throw the kitchen sink at her? No. But she knows I think she was wrong and she agree.

More info. from OP added in the comments:

- She repeatedly calls me a prostitute and implies that because my fiancé supports me financially I am his employee. She has also told Ashley that I have numerous cosmetic procedures that I don’t, and that I am only with fiancé because he has money.

- The long and the short of it is, she resents that I got to have the young adulthood she didn’t. She hates that I did all the things she would have wanted to do while she had a child, and that I got rewarded for all this with a close relationship to the child that she gave everything to raise. She also thinks it’s unseemly that I don’t have a job or kids. Also, she just doesn’t like me as a person.

- My parents have always been kind to Amy. They’re both gregarious, social people. Prior to this whole mess they actually quite liked Amy, but she was never and daughter to them, and she likely never will be. I understand in some families it’s different, but that is how our family is.

They don’t see my fiancé as a son, they like him, they trust him, but they don’t love him. Maybe with time those relationships develop but they’re not intrinsic. Maybe Amy expected that, and this falling short left her hurt.

What do you think? AITA? This is what top commenters had to say:

said:

NTA and not only will Ashley prefer knowing the truth, but she will also feel as though she can trust you because you are refusing to lie to her. Also, Amy trying to guilt you into lying by pulling the “if you ACTUALLY care about Ashley” rhetoric is such an AH move.

said:

NTA Amy & Hugo need to confront Ashley about how she treats her mother and they should not ask you to lie. Ashley not going on the ski trip should be presented for what it actually is- a punishment- not a means of bridge building.

said:

NTA. Ashley, on the other hand, is. Ashley is being a typical preteen, embarrassed by her parents. Most kids at some point get embarrassed by their parents. The family needs therapy, not lies. And let’s face it. At the minimum, four people will know about their lie—Ashley’s parents, the OP and her bf.

Is the OP expected to lie to everyone who asks her why Ashley isn’t going skiing? Because I would guess that other family members know about the plans. My point is that a lot of people will know about the lie and the more people who know about the lie, the greater the chance that someone will accidentally let slip the truth.

And once Ashley knows the truth, she will lose all trust in her parents and the situation will likely get worse. Ashley should be told that her behavior has lost her the skiing trip—the truth. And Amy and Ashley probably need therapy to help their relationship. Therapy, not punishment.

said:

NTA lying to her is not going to make the situation better. Ashley needs a punishment for being so rude to her mother, but cancelling her holiday is over the top, and lying about it is a bad idea.

Three weeks after OP's original post, she shared this update:

First of all, thank you to everyone who responded. I received some really great advice and some amazingly kind messages, so thank you again! I am getting a lot of update requests, so here it is.

To get this out of the way for everyone who wants a quick update, Ashley did end up coming on the ski trip. We had a great time, me especially as my engagement ring arrived and me and my bf are now officially engaged.

A lot of people suggested we all sit down to discuss what's been going on, and we did. Ashley managed to say a lot of what she'd been saying to me to Amy. The conversation boiled down to, Ashley doesn't want an absent mother, but she wants a mother, not a friend.

She wants a mum who drives her to ice skating with her friends, and sits in the stands to supervise, not one who comes onto the ice with them and tries to hang out. She says she does sometimes feel awkward at school, but she manages it most of the time, until her mum is around and then she is reminded that she's different. A lot more was said, but this was the main gist.

As for Amy, it turns out she has a lot of resentment towards our family, and even towards Ashley. She feels it's not fair that me and my parents focused so much on supporting Ashley rather than supporting Amy. She said instead of funding Ashley's education, my parents should have offered to pay for her to attend university after Ashley was born,

or they should have done this instead of clearing Hugo's student loan debt. She said us caring about Ashley should have made us like her more but we all ignored her in favour of her baby, and now even her kid was abandoning her. I won't comment on this other than to say we were all shocked by what she said.

The outcome of the conversation was that Hugo and Amy decided never to tell Ashley that they almost didn't let her go on the ski trip. Ashley will start seeing a therapist to talk about what's been going on with her at home and at school, and bring her mother into some sessions if necessary. My parents have offered to fund it if it's not feasible for her parents to pay, but they're looking into it.

Ashley said Amy has been giving her a lot more space since she got home, and Hugo has been spending more time with her, and might start taking riding lessons with her (he played polo as a teen) for them to bond more doing something Ashley loves. Overall she seems a lot happier.

Unfortunately, the things Amy said about our family have caused some issues between her and Hugo. Everyone is hoping they can work through it. So, sort of an open ended update, but I'm really glad Ashley finally got to have the conversation she needed, and that she seems to be doing so well, because really that is all I've ever been hoping for. Thank you again to everyone who took the time to comment!

Sources: Reddit
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