MAFS' John Aiken speaks out on Bryce and Melissa: 'It's a journey'

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·5-min read

Married At First Sight expert John Aiken has revealed Melissa Rawson was actually receiving one-on-one counselling during her time on the show, just like every other person taking part in the experiment.

During a chat with HIIT's QLD Breakfast with Cliffo and Gabi, John shared Melissa was getting a lot of support behind the scenes.

Married At First Sight expert John Aiken has revealed Melissa Rawson was receiving one-on-one counselling behind the scenes. Photo: Nine
Married At First Sight expert John Aiken has revealed Melissa Rawson was receiving one-on-one counselling behind the scenes. Photo: Nine

"I guess the burning question for me, though, John is watching this Bryce and Melissa relationship play out. It's obviously not a healthy one," Gabi said. "It's not a very balanced relationship. But this is what Melissa said, on Sunday night when you finally as experts managed to get a bit of emotion out of her and how she was feeling, here's what she said."

They then played audio from Sunday night's commitment ceremony where Melissa said, "I don't want to voice how I actually feel."

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"Because you've seen his conflict style with other people?" relationship experience Mel Schilling clarified.

"That's a fear that I have as well," Melissa responded. "I don't want Bryce to get on the defence and go well, 'I've had all this drama in the experiment'. And he writes, leave."

Gabi continued: "Now, John, that's obviously not a healthy way to be thinking in a relationship to be too scared to tell your partner how you're feeling or what you're thinking, because you're worried that they're going to just get up and leave you. Was Melissa getting any kind of one-on-one support behind the scenes in this relationship?"

John Aiken on the MAFS couch
MAFS expert John Aiken said all participants receive couselling. Photo: Nine

"Yeah, absolutely," John responded. "Melissa, and everybody else, for that matter, are constantly supported by a team of psychs throughout the whole show, but also before and after. So it's, it's something that we really attend to and keep a close eye on. Because we're dealing with matters of the heart, and they can get very raw at times on the show."

Gabi then questioned whether it's 'irresponsible' to have the relationship play out on screen.

"Is it irresponsible to have this relationship play out on the show, as it is without maybe having a disclaimer or something? I don't know. I just if it makes me feel really uncomfortable watching it."

John replied: "Yeah, yeah. And I think for a lot of people that are watching it, including us, as you see the dynamics start to form on the show, we have to be really aware of it.

"And when they come up for these commitment ceremonies, it's really a job of ours to shine a light on exactly what's going on, so that we can guide them.

Melissa tends to seem quite down when she's on the couch with Bryce, telling the experts she doesn't want to get into any kind of argument with him. Photo: Nine
Melissa tends to seem quite down when she's on the couch with Bryce, telling the experts she doesn't want to get into any kind of argument with him. Photo: Nine

"And for these two, it is only halfway through. So what you see along the way, is a change in the dynamics to some degree, not just with them but also within the group. And so it is a journey, but I think it's one... that a lot of people can relate to, because they are afraid of being left. They're afraid of being abandoned. And so they get into relationships that aren't, you know, that positive for them, but they don't know how to let go. So it is, I think a lot of the relationships you see on Married At First Sight - people relate very closely with."

Cliffo then applauded John and the other experts for calling out bad behaviour on the show and John joked: "Yeah, I think this year particularly I've probably got, you know, a very grumpy head on. And I do call out behaviour in a very direct way."

The experts, John, in particular, called out James Susler during Sunday night's commitment ceremony, telling the groom while the experts were watching the dinner party, they felt he was gaslighting Jo.

Married At First Sight's James Susler
MAFS' James left the show on Sunday night after getting called out for gaslighting his bride by John. Photo: Nine

"There is the issue, and this has got to do with a behaviour James, which is classic, stereotypical gaslighting behaviour, and it's something that has to stop," he said.

"When you try to have a conversation, you start to talk in circles, you start to deflect and dodge, put it back on to Jo.

"We got a close up look at it last night. We watched it for hours and hours, that behaviour is gaslighting and it is toxic and it hurts people that are close to you."

Fans of the show also took to social media to share their thoughts on the situation.

"So glad John called James out on his gaslighting - doubt it will change his behaviour but at least young women watching will see how those types roll and maybe be aware of red flags," one viewer wrote on Twitter.

James and his 'wife' Joanne Todd left the show after the groom was told off for his behaviour. However, it didn't seem as though he understood what he was doing wrong, so it seems unlikely he'll change.

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