The Scarlet A(lise)

woman-caught-in-adultery

When you drop off of the blogosphere for 4 months after 8 years of pretty consistent blogging, it’s usually an indication that something is amiss. Possibly something absolutely amazing is happening, but usually it’s not good.

My absence was due to something not good.

It’s all very confusing and hard to write about, which is why I went mostly silent all over the internet. But I don’t feel like I can move on without letting you know what’s been happening.

In September, I moved out of my house because I became romantically involved with my best friend Rich. I genuinely did not see that as a possibility and prior to that time, nothing romantic had ever happened between us, but due to changes that occurred in our relationship coupled with realizations I had about my marriage to Jason, I made the decision to cross over from a platonic friendship to a romantic relationship with him.

Any time there is a breaking in a relationship, it is painful and difficult to talk about. It’s embarrassing to admit that you failed at something as important as marriage. But when you’ve written very publicly about your marriage and your friendship and had all of that change in what feels like an instant, it can leave you feeling almost paralyzed. How do you renege on everything you’ve said for years?

Originally, I wanted to delete my whole blog, or at least all of the things that I wrote specifically about my marriage or my friendship with Rich. One person demanded that I do so. At the very least, I was going to write this post and apologize for all of the things that I wrote in the past.

But I’m not going to do that.

I’m not sorry that I wrote those things. I believed them when I wrote them and they were true when I wrote and spoke them. They are a picture of who I was, and I think it’s important to remember my past. And there are things related to those topics that I still believe. Even after all that has happened, I still do not believe that approaching relationships with fear or suspicion is healthy or beneficial. I recognize that my actions negatively impact the discussion of cross-gender friendship or interfaith marriage, but I still believe that friendships between men and women can be healthy and that people of differing faiths can have a loving marriage.

But that does not mean that this post is without apology. I am sorry to those who may have felt used by me to promote something that I was not faithful with. I am sorry that I have broken a trust here and that dishonesty with myself translated into a dishonesty with you. I’m sorry for the damage that my actions have done to damage the integrity of the discussion about cross-gender friendship and interfaith marriage.

When everything came crashing down suddenly and I felt like a giant liar, I spoke to a dear friend and fellow writer, and she shared something that Derek Webb said about writing autobiographically. He said, “…it’s okay if things change from when you first wrote about them, you just have to keep updating the story.”

It doesn’t fix everything and it won’t answer all of the questions, but that thought helped a little bit when I was trying to figure out how to write this post.

Relationships are incredibly complex, probably more complex than I ever realized. I’m not going to go into details about why I left at this time out of concern for all involved, but I have certainly come away from this with a greater respect for the intricacies of relationships.

There will likely be more updates that happen over time, though I’m not sure if they will be in this space or elsewhere. For right now, I would simply ask that you hold our children, our exes, and the two of us in your prayers.

  • http://www.ryanthechristian.com/ ryanmercer

    Good on you, I’ve 13 years of posts on my main blog now and some of them (in my high school days) are quite terrible but they show who I was in that moment and what was going on in my mind and life.

  • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

    Alise, I am so sorry for your painful experience. I suppose the information you shared here was necessary, but the details, of course, are none of our business.
    I follow you on RSS and wondered why there were no new posts by you name for so long. I was excited to see this morning that there was a post, but I am so saddened from reading it.
    My thoughts are with you and all who are involved. I hope things work out the best they can from this point. I continue following you and look forward to new posts as you feel appropriate.

  • Stacey

    Alise, Being in an interfaith relationship myself, I understand on a personal level some of the reasons an affair can suddenly look good. As a Christian married to a deconverted spouse, I cannot condone your actions, but I certainly can UNDERSTAND them! There is no condemnation from me. We all change. Things change. God understands and loves us inspite of ourselves. I am sure most of your readers will understand as well. Again, this reader does. :) I imagine there is a lot of hurt going on, and I am sorry for the parties involved. I will keep you all in my prayers. Thank you for being honest. I know it was probably a very difficult thing to do, but you have gained more respect in my eyes for doing it. Hang in there!

  • http://bornagainjen.wordpress.com/ Born Again Jen

    Be gentle and kind to yourself. I’m serious. The good news is that you’re already forgiven though I’m sure you’ve asked for it anyway. None of us out here in the blogosphere have boo to say. None of us out here are in ANY position to cast the first stone. I know what has happened is confusing and painful and difficult. Take it easy on yourself. And keep doing what you do the best which is giving an uplifting and inspirational perspective. Hang in there.

  • Sharideth

    This was vulnerably and beautifully said. I hope everyone who reads it remember the glass house we all live in.

    • http://www.prestonyancey.com/ Preston Yancey

      ^ This. That’s all I would want to say.

  • KimJ

    We all fall short. Period. You are all in my prayers.

  • Chrystal Getz

    I can’t imagine how difficult that was to write and how your heart must be pounding as you await and read each comment. No one can possibly know what life is really like for families behind closed doors. It’s so easy to condemn, but impossible to do so with any validity. I am sorry for the pain that you must all be going through.

  • Jo Malone

    That must have been a difficult post to write. Thank you for sharing, and thank you also for not wiping your blog off the interwebs. Your Derek Webb quote is perfect – I look forward to your new stories, whenever you are ready to share them.
    Bless you, your family, and your new relationships.

  • http://www.veronicamonique.com Veronica Monique

    Alise. I admire your courage in the steps you take and for facing what this means for you. I was initially stunned by this post, but the more I’ve read it, the more I value what you are admitting here. This is how we grow. It isn’t always comfortable, and at times it is down right painful. Keep walking the path, reflect on the past, accept the change, and keep seeking.

  • Jennifer

    I am deeply sorry for what the choices made have done to your spouses and children, and to you.

  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

    Alise, I know you’re probably still struggling with the shame and rock-bottom feelings of having “failed” after writing everything you have online. I know “brave” is probably not a word you would use to describe yourself right now. But it’s a word I would use to describe what you did here – you didn’t give yourself the “easy out” of deleting everything and disappearing from us. I still have an enormous amount of respect for you, and this has only added to it. You’re in my thoughts and prayers, friend. <3

  • pastordt

    Prayers and tears for all of you, Alise.

  • http://unpublishedforareason.blogspot.com/ Hannah M

    Alise, you and your family have my prayers. I have been a faithful blog reader/lurker and am so sorry to hear about this difficult time in your life. Relationships *are* complex and intricate and I am praying for healing for all.

  • http://www.margaretfelice.com/ Margaret

    Ever eloquent, even on such a challenging topic. All prayers to you, and welcome back.

  • Karen Zacharias

    Grace and mercy. It’s all we really have.

  • Rebekah Gilbert

    You are loved.

  • Sheila Warner

    You have nothing to apologize for, at least (IMHO) to those of us who regularly read your blog. First of all, you did nothing to us at all. Secondly, people do change. I have at times in my own life believed very strongly in things that I now discard. It’s part of personal growth. Of course I am sad for all involved, especially your children. When relationships end, there is real pain. But those of us who follow you love you, and that won’t change for the vast majority of us, I’m sure. In the end, it’s none of our business, really. Your life is your own.

  • Carmen

    Your honesty makes me appreciate you even more. I truly wish you the best.

  • http://www.innerwoven.me/ Robert Rife

    Just because you blog on the worldwide web, something I do myself, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to be human. In fact, it begs just that. It’s more painful because you’re on a rather large stage. Thanks for being who you are in process with the rest of us, also in process. Thanks for choosing not to run but to face the entire world with some very difficult to share news. Thanks for letting us be part of your journey, the good bits and the not so good bits.

    Signed, a major fuck up who finds grace everywhere.

  • Angela Shaw

    Dear Alyse. Remember the vow. It’s not hard to fall in love with another. That is why a command to be faithful is there. If is was easy to hold our marriage vows, we wouldn’t have needed the instruction to honor the covenant.

    It will be worth it in the long run to stay true to your husband. The consequences to yourself, your ministry and your children with be far reaching and follow you all your days. God’s forgiveness, thankfully, is always there, but the fall-out will dog all parties through all the weddings, grand-children, holidays, till the grave. God hates divorce because of the perpetual open wound and violence that it brings. Stay under God’s blessing by being obedient. Please, please go against the tide of divorce. Show us how it’s done, instead. Show us how we can overcome and save our marriages. How we can fight temptation. We are desperate to see it modeled and written about.

    And what happens if you fall in love with another after this? I can’t tell you how many couples in second marriages have cried in anguish that they didn’t stick it out with the first one. The problems they hoped to remove from the first marriage only get worse with the second. It’s far more complicated with blended families. To think there is a problem -free relationship is believing a lie.

  • Elizabeth Faith

    There are moments in our lives that turn our world upside down. What an incredibly transparent post! Thank you, Alise. I hope you have friends who will stay by your side unconditionally during this time. I can’t help but wonder how hard it has been all this time to bravely be the Christian in an interfaith marriage, and the extent to which that position may have forced you to swallow your own disappointments time and time again, until you broke. I feel your pain. No judgment here. Take one day at a time and please, let us know how you are doing from time to time.

  • mhelbert

    Alise, thank you for this. I do know what you’re feeling right now. I was a leader in a local church for many years. And, I, too found myself in a romantic relationship with someone not my wife. Oh, not just once, either. My wife, whether loving or stubborn, has stayed with me through all of this. We are now several years into healing. But, nothing is as it was. The shame and guilt of my decisions still dog me. But, these experiences having given me a perspective on relationships that others simply don’t have. The same is true with you. People need you to continue to be open about this. To probe into how relationships grow, or fail. There is no condemnation from God. But, there is plenty from myself. I suppose you’ll understand that as you continue to grow past this. Please, stay with us. We need you and your story.

  • http://howtotalkevangelical.addiezierman.com/ Addie Zierman

    Beautifully, humbly and honestly expressed. Love and prayers for all of you.

  • Kathrine Gathro

    Alise, I am not a regular reader of your blog, so I went to your home page and the “about” label and this is what I found:

    “I’m Alise (uh-LEASE, like what you get with a car) Wright.

    I’m a wife. I get to be married to my very best friend. Jason is funny and creative and smart and handsome. I can’t imagine getting to share my life with anyone other than him. When I met Jason, I journaled that I hoped to some day marry someone like him. Getting to marry the actual him blows my mind to this day.

    I’m a mom. These four people who live in our house constantly amaze me. They crack me up on a regular basis and they push me to be a better person. I’m sure the premature grey that I need to constantly cover up is almost exclusively their fault, but I did it to my mom too, so I guess that’s just how it rolls.

    I’m a Christian. Some days it’s not a label that I want to wear, and some people probably don’t want me to wear it, but it’s true nevertheless. I grew up in the Church and got to know Jesus in 1988, particularly over that summer. Even when it frustrates me, my faith is a core part of who I am”. Hmmm, maybe this is something you need to read again to remind you of the wonderful relational gifts in your life?.

    Alise, I am so sorry for the pain, confusion and feelings of failure that you’ve experienced. And, I so appreciated your honesty in the midst of it all. Welcome to the human race; God works with “what is”, and I am so grateful for that in my own life. Almost every person commented that they “understand” and offered “grace” and support. I think that is wonderful. One element that seems to be missing in this (and I think it is missing in the whole Christian culture) is the Jesus (and biblical) concept and reality of “repentance”. What would that look like in this situation? Every decision has outcomes, and yes, in fact, life is all about a series of decisions–big and also small, day-to-day ones as well. The biblical term for “repentance” has to do with “agreement with God” about God’s way, the right thing, and also involves a “turning from” the wrong way and getting back to the right way. No one has mentioned this. It makes me wonder why that isn’t part of your discussion? Repentance can often break the cycle of bad decisions and result in repair and redemption in one’s heart and in one’s relationships. We often, I don’t think, realize that our future’s really do depend on this wonderful concept. So, the “good-for-you” kind of comments really leave me a little puzzled. .. no, it’s not good-for-you. To me it’s more like: “I am so sorry; it hurts; it sucks, etc.; however, how can I encourage you to repent and keep the covenant? Please know this isn’t judgment; it’s just what I hope is a perspective that could lead more to wholeness and joy. You put it out there, and so I am just offering my thoughts.
    love from an outsider. …

    • http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/ jesuswithoutbaggage

      Hi Katherine,

      I cannot speak for Alise, nor can I speak for her other regular readers, but perhaps I feel the same way as some of them.

      Alise has endured great pain and continues to be in pain; I feel pain empathically as I read her post.

      She is now burdened with broken relationships–who wants that? She might have been a primary cause of the broken relationships, but I don’t know the whole story.

      All I have to offer Alise is support in her situation as it is now. She did not ask for my advice on her actions and I am not going to offer any. I am sure she is overwhelmed with advice, both solicited and unsolicited, from those who know her personally.

      Alise knows all about repentance. She does not need unsolicited coaching from her readers and especially not from strangers. I know you mean well, and I do not say this in judgment, but if you feel an attachment to Alise perhaps you can pray for her instead.

      • Sheila Warner

        Thanks for this. I remember that Alise once commented that people who aren’t in relationship with her or her husband personally were not in a position to give advice. She was concerned about people judging her situation or her spouse without bothering to really get to know them. We need to pray about this life change of Alise’s and love her through it. Unsolicited advice is not warranted by strangers.

        • Kathrine Gathro

          I think if you re-read what I wrote, you’ll see I was not giving advice at all and there was no judgment. I was sincerely asking a question for discussion and wondering about a former perspective, which is what bloggers always encourage; that’s why people blog, to encourage dialogue.

          • Sheila Warner

            “So, the “good-for-you” kind of comments really leave me a little puzzled. .. no, it’s not good-for-you. To me it’s more like: “I am so sorry; it hurts; it sucks, etc.; however, how can I encourage you to repent and keep the covenant? Please know this isn’t judgment; it’s just what I hope is a perspective that could lead more to wholeness and joy”

            That’s advice, pure and simple. “How can I encourage you to repent” is you trying to persuade Alise. You are speaking to her, not to all of us, and not trying to start a discussion with the rest of us.

  • http://www.idelette.com idelette

    Love. You.

  • http://www.twitter.com/teenbug Tina Francis/ @teenbug

    Unraveled and humbled by your honesty. Love to you, Alise. xo

  • Michael Mock

    One of the great difficulties I’ve found with being, y’know, human is that we very seldom learn from others’ mistakes. No, all too often, we have to go out and make mistakes for ourselves. Even when they’re huge, horrible, apocalyptic mistakes. Even when they have consequences that were perfectly clear to everyone, including ourselves, all along.

    I don’t want to absolve you of responsibility (or rob you of volition, which seems to go hand in hand with that). Nor do I want to pretend that something like this doesn’t matter; pain always matters. But I don’t want to condemn you, either; I’m in no position to cast the first stone, especially on a topic like this.

    So I’ll simply say that it sounds like a horrible, painful, nightmarish situation, and I hope that everyone involved will extend as much grace as possible, to themselves as well as each other.

    And thank you for not deleting your writings; just because something didn’t continue to work forever and ever and ever doesn’t mean that it was never good or valid or true.

  • http://www.chezcrazy.org Amanda Sims

    Lifting you up, dear friend. Grace and peace.

  • knit blitz

    This is the first I am reading your blog. My heart goes out to you. I agree with Born Again Jen- be kind to yourself!

  • http://feetunes.com/ David Fee

    I found your site through your Christian guide to Atheists, which was a breath of fresh air for an ex Christian/atheist married to a Christian. Been popping back and wondering where you were. Thanks for very bravely explaining here. Hope you and your loved ones manage to work through it. All I can say is “There for the grace of Go I” That was a little atheist joke, though you’re probably not in the mood, even if you’re checking the comments section. From what I’ve seen you’ve got a gracious readership who care about your well being. Even the ones who think you’re wrong. Which is quite nice in the uncaring World Wide Web universe. Anyhow, all the best. Healing and hope to all those you care about. David.