In the movie business, a screenwriter may be told to do a ‘rewrite’ of their screenplay. This usually consists of using the original version of their story as a rough guide but manipulating and editing its events so that it works better for the intended viewer. This might mean losing major scenes from its timeline, portraying characters differently and repackaging the overall narrative.
I have experienced a rewrite, I have been a part of one. It involved manipulation, deleting scenes, editing of major key events and a general revamp and reworking for its intended audience. The rewrite was of me.
To betray and leave someone who you have loved and built a life with takes a special kind of compartmentalization. It involves you untangling from that person, detaching from their love and their bonding to you.
To see it through goes against the grain of everything you have built your relationship together upon; loyalty, trust, honour and respect. You want to leave this person, and if you are having an affair, you want to move onto your ‘new love,’ but that would make you a bad person and you simply cannot afford to be seen as a bad person. The element of self-preservation becomes too great. There is only one thing to do, make them the bad person. Make the relationship ‘wrong’ and undermine all that the marriage was.
The months leading up to my husband dropping the D bomb on me were not very remarkable. I was showered with love, told how happy I made him, how in love with me he was. You know, all of the usual hallmarks of a poor soul who is wallowing in despair at the state of his marriage.
When I found out about the other woman, my husband decided that his narrative had to change and it had to change quick! I had entered stage right and walked onto a scene where he was involved in a forbidden exchange with the new object of his affection. I interrupted uninvited and exposed them. He was naked (not literally), his indiscretion laid bare. What, oh what would he do!
His next line was simple, he blamed me. He screamed at me how unhappy I had made him, how we had grown apart, how he was a free spirit and I wasn’t. Amongst all of this, the other woman didn’t get a mention.
Soon he had not only rewrote me but also our whole marriage. A marriage that had been happy, filled with laughter, love and fun. This is not just my interpretation of our marriage, these were the facts as told by him up until that day, up until her.
Now, I am far from perfect but what he handed me was now an entirely new draft of our life together and of me. I didn’t recognise any of it, it was alien, it was untrue. The injustice of it felt too much to bear, as I flicked through his version of events in my mind.
If I tried to correct him, correct the untruths it played into his hands more. ‘See you think you are perfect,’ ‘you just can’t accept my leaving you.’ I would be gaslighted further and persuaded that his new version was reality. It had such an impact on my very soul, I almost started to fall into a haze of questioning what was a lie and what was reality. I almost fell into the trap of believing the rewrite, it was that compelling! Thank goodness I have our original, unedited version firmly imprinted in my mind.
I had to stay in touch with reality. What was my reality? He had never once uttered the word unhappy in his life with me. He had never indicated any reason why he would want to leave me. There was someone else he was leaving me for. Those were my facts. They became my mantra.
I started to realise the benefits and uses for a rewrite on his part.
It allowed him to detach from me. It allowed him to tell himself, she wasn’t that great anyway, the relationship wasn’t that great, you haven’t wrecked something which was pretty good. To hurt a good person would be awful, so let’s make them a bad person.
It also allowed him to attach to the new object of his desire, rewriting me in his head as the villain and her as his heroine. He could rip away his bond from me and begin to attach it to her.
I had also been loved by his family and friend’s, so how would he make my forced exit and his affair partner’s entry smoother? By rewriting me to everyone he knew of course! He couldn’t face people seeing him as the villain.
It is an awful experience to go through, having someone repackage you and your life to suit their needs, to benefit them in their quest for self-preservation.
I could contact each person he has lied to about me and correct what he has said but where would it get me. I could sit down and provide him with cold hard evidence of the marriage we had been in but what would I gain from it. It is so hard to swallow down but I have chosen not to indulge him in his rewrite, to not engage in it.
This is one movie, I won’t be buying a ticket for.
Through deceit and lies he has her, through deceit and lies she has him. What do I have? My integrity.
Amongst all the injustice, one fact always consoles me…the truth is still the truth and my life is not a movie to be rewritten.