Affairs Network - BAN
Support Group for Recovering from a Spouse's Extramarital
The following is based on information
provided by BAN's founder Peggy Vaughan.
Question: Are there support groups
to help people recovering from affairs?
Answer: Yes! There is BAN.
is BAN? | What is the purpose
of BAN? | Benefits of
BAN | What is the goal of
BAN? | History of BAN
| Future of BAN | Words
from Anne | Additional
Information | Testimonials
from BAN Members
BAN is a network of local support
groups for people who are dealing with the devastating
emotional impact of their spouses’ extramarital
affairs. It is an all-volunteer, free, grass-roots
organization and only exists in cities where someone
has volunteered to serve as the local coordinator.
BAN is for women and men, whether
still married or divorced, seeking support in
recovering from their spouse’s affair. BAN
is NOT for counselors (unless personally dealing
with their spouse's affair). BAN is NOT open to
members of the media.
BAN is NOT for those who have
had affairs themselves.
Also...please note that BAN is
ONLY for meetings, NOT just email contact.
Disclaimer: BAN is not a replacement for counseling
or other professional help.
As of June, 2005, BAN chapters
are in 36 cities in 28 states in the U.S. and
18 cities in 9 countries outside the U.S. A current
list of cities is available on founder Peggy Vaughan’s
What is the purpose of
The purpose of BAN is to provide
an opportunity for people who are dealing with
a partner's affair to come together for strength,
insight, and mutual support. It is best suited
for individuals who are seeking to gain more information,
understanding and perspective about the issue
of affairs in order to make more informed personal
BAN is both a place to safely
share the painful emotions that interfere with
recovery and a place to gain strength and perspective,
aimed at thinking more clearly and acting more
effectively, in order to recover from this experience.
Benefits of BAN
One of the most powerful benefits
of support groups is their ability to break through
the sense of isolation that many people feel who
are dealing with a spouse’s affair. You
see other people at different stages of recovery
and can get a perspective that isn't possible
when dealing with it alone. And more importantly,
you can get the support you need to get on top
of your life and feel like a whole person again.
BAN is not a substitute for professional
help. But even with good counseling, support groups
can play an important part in the healing process.
What is the goal of BAN?
Each BAN member will determine
for themselves just what they’re seeking
from the group at any particular time and use
the group to reinforce their own effort. This
does not mean it is a selfish pursuit just for
your own good. “Helping others" does
more to "help yourself" than almost
anything you can do.
The ultimate goal of BAN is to
help people reach a point where they no longer
need it. While this process takes time and can't
be rushed, it’s important that BAN serve
to actually "move the process along."
History of BAN
In 1980, when Peggy Vaughan went
public with her personal experience in dealing
with her husband’s affairs, she received
such an overwhelming response that she first established
BAN as a way to maintain contact with everyone.
She also put them in touch with each other for
mutual support. All the early contact was through
regular mail or telephone.
Through the years she continued
to put people in touch with others who wrote.
Then in 1996 (when she began the www.dearpeggy.com
website) she used it to coordinate the contact
among BAN members. In 2000, the first organized
Local BAN Chapters for face-to-face meetings began,
each with a local volunteer Coordinator.
Future of BAN
“After 25 years, BAN is
set to continue indefinitely, with the goal for
it to grow to the point where it will be as common
and available as Al-Anon and so many other support
groups. As each Coordinator feels a need to move
on, they try to identify someone in the group
to take over the role of Coordinator. And I have
already established my own successor so that BAN
will continue in the same vein.
"Anne Bercht, who is currently
a Local BAN Coordinator in Canada, has followed
in a path very similar to my own in that she has
“gone public” with a book about her
experience, a website, and her husband’s
support and involvement. So she has agreed to
work with me to insure a smooth transition to
the point a couple of years from now where she
will move the BAN listings to her website and
take over my role. “
– Peggy Vaughan,
At the Smart Marriages Conference in Dallas, Texas,
Words from Anne
How I wished I’d found
BAN when I first discovered my husband’s
affair. At the time I could barely make it through
one hour at a time. I longed to talk with others
who could understand what I was going through,
and I wondered if there was anyone. I could only
afford counseling on a biweekly basis, and waiting
those long 2 weeks until my next appointment seemed
The first time I found the www.dearpeggy.com
website in 2003, I had a strong feeling I would
somehow, like Peggy, also make a career of helping
others survive infidelity. I wondered if I could
somehow get Peggy’s attention. I wondered
if she would have time to answer an email from
a nobody in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She
answered alright … and at that time I had
no idea where that first email would lead.
As Peggy has said being an expert
in infidelity is not a career one chooses, it’s
a career that chooses you. I am awed by the responsibility,
and honored. I am passionate about helping others
recover from the pain of affairs, and with vigilence
and compassion intend to continue the work which
Please visit www.dearpeggy.com
- the “Home of Beyond Affairs Network –
BAN” where you will find:
BAN Support Group Overview
The Backstory of BAN
The Need for BAN
Coordinator Information and Sign-up Form
List of Cities with BAN Chapters
Info if there is no BAN group in your City
Testimonials from BAN
I felt lost, alone and afraid.
Finding BAN was my lifeline. I was no longer alone
in my pain. I found healing.
Finding people through BAN
helped me realize that the feelings of despair
and the pain I was experiencing were shared by
many others. The knowledge that I was not alone
in that dark place helped me on my journey back
Thank you so much for the
meeting tonight. It makes me stronger to be around
people who understand what I am experiencing.
Thanks for your encouragement, the books and information
and most of all for your friendship.
BAN helps to change scattered
destructive thoughts into focused thinking as
one struggles to accept and understand the normal
healing phases after affairs. Betrayed spouses
are finally breaking the “Code of Secrecy,”
talking about the trauma associated with affairs
I am so appreciative such
a group was started and I feel fortunate to have
dialogue with others who have experienced the
I can come here and share
and even if ya'll think I'm nuts (you won't be
the only ones) at least here a group understands
part of my struggle.
I only wish that such a
group had existed here many years ago; it would
have saved me years of pain and anguish.
As I look back on our meeting,
I realize that not one of us said, "Do you
know what I mean?" We all knew. What a relief,
knowing that someone understands—really
I never would have dreamed
that the day would come when I would need a support
group to help me through the aftermath of an affair.
I find the interaction more
helpful than just simply reading a book.
One man drives two hours
each way and has never missed a meeting. He had
talked to no one for four years before BAN. (From
Needing a group like BAN
and without one in my town, Peggy encouraged me
to start a group. Now, comes this outpouring of
people in need of a group like BAN. (From a Coordinator)
One of the first amazing
things to me is how international this group is...
I felt so alone in my small little city ...and
then suddenly with e-mails from Maui and Memphis...South
Africa and Australia...I felt part of something
bigger and safer in an interesting way."
(From a Coordinator’s perspective)
Can’t tell you how
grateful I am to have you and your group at our
church. (From the coordinator of support activities
at our host location)
Before joining BAN I felt
very alone in this battle; I felt beat up, let
down, worthless, ashamed, embarrassed and stupid.
I was completely discouraged with life. I could
not see a future being possible for me. BAN gave
me a ticket or a pass to go on with life. It gave
me hope that I could survive and that my marriage
could survive, if we both worked at it. BAN gives
the victim a way to reach out for help without
being judged or ashamed. I will never be able
to express in words the gift of hope that BAN
has given me!
BAN gives me a sense of
self worth when I can use my crazy unfortunate
circumstances in life to comfort that new person
who has just found out about their spouse’s
infidelity and encourage them that they can make
it. My heart breaks in sympathy for what the new
person feels, but if I would have had BAN when
my husband’s infidelity first came out,
I KNOW that I would be a much different person.
(Note from Peggy: This shows how BAN members not
only receive help, but give it to others. In fact,
sometimes "helping others" does more
to "help yourself" than almost anything
you can do.)
I came to the meeting broken
and in despair. I met women with similar casualties
and suddenly my aloneness disappeared. However,
the most monumental help for me was that I stopped
divorce procedure because I realized something
very important. I realized, as our group got larger
and larger, that even if I left my husband of
many years, chances were that another man I might
meet would probably be an adulterer. Just look
at all these women!! Their husbands and exes would
be out there for me to meet, yuk, what a thought!
I realized it's better to work out my situations
with the father of my children, with a man that
I had a very long history, than risking a repeat
with someone new. Society and human beings being
what they are today, a similar encounter is a
I remember the feeling inside
me when I first read about BAN, what it was about
and that there was a support group in the place
I lived. Not only had my husband left me, but
he had betrayed me and the pain, hurt and sadness
was in reality, unbearable. I was so anxious to
be able to attend a BAN support group. Knowing
you are not alone and you are not insane and it
is okay to feel what you are feeling really does
give you permission to grieve your loss. In all
this confusion to know that all you are experiencing
is "normal" is such a relief! It is
amazing that we all have different stories, yet
the common denominator is we all feel the same
pain and are able to talk openly knowing each
and everyone of us understands exactly what the
other is going through. Having a man in the group
is inspiring as you learn that they have all the
same feelings and emotions, but are not as able
to express them quite the same as a woman. BAN,
for me, has been a major support, as well as informative
and comforting. There is so much care and concern
for each of us by the others in the group because
we have all been there or are still there. BAN
is a safe place and you can cry and even laugh
and it feels okay. We truly do receive help for
ourselves as well as give help to others.
I left the BAN meeting with
so much going thru my mind. I did so much process
and pondering that night. It gave me a little
more sense of peace than when I first entered
that first meeting. I was actually in the presence
of others who knew exactly how I felt. I felt
no shame or embarrassment when sharing my story.
I was with people who knew all the emotions that
have been stirring in my heart, body and soul.
This is the comfort of the BAN Group. I am thankful
to have found BAN and others who take the time
to offer me the support I need at this time.
For many long, lonely years
I kept the secret of my pain. A chance reading
of an article about BAN in our local newspaper
brought me to a meeting. Finding BAN, talking
and sharing with others, marked the beginning
of my healing. My pain was out of the closet and
into the light. One of the most helpful aspects
of BAN was listening to others' stories. It helped
me to see that the pain and shame I felt were
not unusual. Being in a group like this helped
me to sort through the myths and misconceptions
about adultery. It has been a wonderful sharing
and learning experience. I do not think I could
have come so far without this group experience.
I find it hard to talk about
what happened with most people. I have VERY few
people I can share this with. My parents and a
few close friends know what happened and I am
grateful for their support. Although for me the
comfort is greater when the person has experienced
the same or similar shock and betrayal, like the
others in BAN. I never thought I would try to
work through a situation like this. I always thought
that I would leave a marriage if my husband had
an affair. Those were all thoughts before I even
met my husband because after meeting him I never
thought he would have an affair. Yet here I am
giving it every ounce of my being trying to build
up this marriage.
2005 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.
If you would like to share a
success story, helpful insight or comment on this
article we welcome your remarks. Email your questions
or comments to Brian and/or Anne firstname.lastname@example.org
(Due to the large volume
of emails we receive, we cannot answer all emails,
but we care about every person who contacts us
and will do our best to respond personally to