to directing BAN
with Beyond Affairs Network founder
Peggy Vaughan in September 2005
I had been married for
eighteen years when my husband came home
and told me one night that he'd been seeing
another woman. I was shocked. There had
been no warning signs. I thought affairs
happened to bad people in bad marriages
(or people who didn't pay attention to their
marriages like we did!) but Brian and I
had a good marriage. How could this happen
to us? I loved and adored my husband.
Words cannot begin to describe
the intense pain I felt when I heard Brian
say the words, "Anne, I've been seeing
someone else." There was physical pain,
not just emotional pain. Two days later
I was putting pressure on Brian, "who
is it going to be, her or me?"
"Her!" he finally yelled at me
totally frustrated. He wasn't going let
go of his affair partner. So that was it
then. Our marriage had ended, without problems
and without warning.
Brian was my best friend,
my lover, the one I had shared countless
memories and holidays with, and now my marriage
was over. No hope at all …. I thought.
At that point, I received
some very good advice from my friends -
advice that played a significant role is
saving my marriage. "Anne, you can
leave this marriage if you want. You have
every right to do so and nobody would blame
you, but we've seen you and Brian together.
We know Brian loves you. We don't understand
what's going on right now, but we really
encourage: Don't make any major decisions
while you're in the emotion of the moment.
Just wait three months before you decide
anything." (I was already planning
to move with my children back to Europe
where I'm from.)
Two weeks later Brian came
home and wanted to work on our marriage.
No flowers, no getting on his knee's begging
my forgiveness, none of the things one would
expect. "I guess I'm home," he
said sounding anything but enthusiastic.
Chaos ensued. Wrong reactions
make a bad situation worse. While fighting
to save my marriage, I was dealt other blows
on the home front, a fire, drinking and
driving, and what appeared to be suicide
From that broken place
we rebuilt our marriage. Our well-meaning
friends, family and pastor went all out
to help us, but even so, because of the
"code of secrecy" regarding affairs,
people often don't know how to really support
the ones they love through this devastating
While I was surviving my
own personal nightmare, I was sure that
I was going through the worst thing a person
possibly could, and I was sure that my story
was the worst one. This wasn't supposed
to happen to me.
It took us two and a half
years to rebuild our marriage. Today we're
both stronger and more in love than ever.
I remember the affair, and I remember everything
that happened in those days, clearly, but
I no longer have pain attached to the memory.
Once I survived my own
personal nightmare, and came out on the
other side healed, I wondered, why is no
one talking about this epidemic in our culture?
That's when I decided to
write my book titled, "My Husband's
Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened
to Me." I wrote the book I wished I'd
had at the time. I'd always wanted to be
a writer, but never believed in myself enough
to write. Personal growth that resulted
from the pain of the affair, spurred me
to pursue life with passion, and to dare
to be me, instead of living my life to please
In writing, I knew I needed
a mentor, but how could I find such a mentor?
Through an article in a newspaper, I read
about a famous woman named Peggy Vaughan,
a woman who had written her own story of
her husband's affair, and had achieved with
her life the things I desired to achieve.
I wondered how I, a nobody (with a dream)
in Abbotsford, British Columbia, a person
who'd never written before and who didn't
have a degree, could gain the attention
of a famous author from California.
Through her website (www.dearpeggy.com),
I saw that she had founded a network of
support groups for betrayed spouses. I also
saw that at that time there was no support
anywhere in Canada west of the province
of Ontario. So I signed up as a Beyond Affairs
Network (BAN) coordinator. The next thing
I knew people were sending me their broken
heart stories from all over Western Canada.
"I guess I better have a meeting,"
I thought to myself.
Being a BAN coordinator
has been one of the most rewarding experiences
of my life. I did it to help others, what
I wasn't prepared for is how much it helped
me. And yes! Peggy mentored me, but what
came next I could never have dreamed.
Peggy asked me to be her
successor and take over the leadership of
BAN. The moment she asked, I knew my answer
was yes, and I knew in my heart, that I
had been prepared for "such a time
It is our vision that BAN
will become as commonly known and available
as Alcoholics Anonymous, that we can break
the "code of silence," and that
no betrayed spouse need ever suffer this
tremendous pain in isolation, as many in
the past have had to do.
"I felt lost, alone
and afraid. Finding BAN was my lifeline.
I was no longer alone in my pain. I found
healing." - A ban member
"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." - a