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 in 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.
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 journey.
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, 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. 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 others.
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.
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, and Peggy Vaughan became my personal mentor.
Eventually 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 as this."
In my "pre-affair" life, I worked for a business consultant running business leadership seminars, however, my true passion has always been marriage, family and relationships. Now I have been able to take those same skills I developed over the years as a trainer and coach, and apply them to helping marriages and families instead.
That is a very brief personal summary of Anne's Infidelity Experience. As much great information as available on this website, you really do need to read the full infidelity experience from devastation to full recovery in her book, "My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, which captures the emotions, and gives insight both into how to recover from affairs, as well as how to prevent affairs in the first place.