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Getting to Know Peggy and James Vaughan

James and Peggy Vaughan are life-long partners, both at work and at home. They have known each other virtually all their lives. They were childhood sweethearts who started to school together in the first grade. They've been married 3 times (and never divorced): they had a Tom Thumb Wedding when they were 6 years old, they married "secretly" when they were 18, then had a formal wedding at age 19.

They've been married 56 years and have two grown children and three grandchildren. For the first 15 years of their marriage, James was first a student (getting a Ph.D.), then a college professor, teaching psychology in the Graduate School of Business of two major universities. During this period, Peggy worked to "put hubby through school," then stayed home full-time when the children were pre-schoolers. When the kids were older, she went back to school, graduating with a B.A. in psychology at the age of 43.

In 1970 Peggy and James became a self-employed husband-wife consulting team, working with individuals, organizations, and corporations on a wide range of personal and professional issues. Their willingness to share their personal lives sets them apart from most professionals.

In 1974, with James's disclosure of the extramarital affairs he had secretly engaged in for the previous seven years of their marriage, they faced the challenge of dealing with this life-altering experience. After spending several years privately working through this experience and developing a stronger, more honest marriage, they decided to use their experience to help others.

In 1980, they "went public" with their own story, writing a book titled Beyond Affairs, describing their experience. They also appeared on Donahue as the first couple to deal with extramarital affairs, stay together and appear on national TV together to discuss their experience. They continued to do media appearances through the years, breaking the silence that had surrounded this topic prior to that time. This thrust Peggy into a position of responding to the hundreds of people across the country who identified with her experience and sought her help—which led her to form BAN (Beyond Affairs Network).

Peggy's experience with BAN led to the insights she shares in a book (first published in 1989) called The Monogamy Myth. "The Monogamy Myth" does NOT mean that monogamy is a myth; it refers to a set of BELIEFS (myths) about monogamy that make it difficult for people to sustain their intention to be monogamous. The book challenges most of the prevailing attitudes and assumptions about the issue of extramarital affairs - and helps people be better prepared to either prevent affairs or to recover if it happens. (The third edition of the book was published in 2003, with the subtitle, "A Personal Handbook for Recovering from Affairs.")

In 1991 Peggy and James conducted a series of seminars for individuals and couples on "recovering from affairs," later organizing the handouts from those seminars into a Handbook for couples that could be used independently by others. And in 1992 they turned their attention to the positive side of love by writing a book called Making Love Stay in which they shared their insights and understandings about long-term relationships.

Finally, Peggy turned her attention to "preventing affairs," writing To Have and To Hold to help educate couples (and the general public) about how to avoid being faced with the experience of dealing with an affair.

For more details about our personal lives and our 50 years of marriage, see:
First 25 years of Marriage (1955-1980) and Update of our Marriage (1980-2005).

We are pleased to make our work available through this website.

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