MAFS - an explosive season of DV, deceit and deception

Rachael Scharrer, relationship and divorce expert and wellness advocate, shares her thoughts on the current (2019) season of Married at First Sight (on the Nine Network, Australia) and is alarmed at the behaviours displayed by a few couples and how DV from women to men is being ‘normalised’ on the show in an unacceptable manner.

I have been sucked into Married At First Sight (MAFS), the latest Australian series that couples two strangers based on psychologist, sexologist and sociologist screening. I thought that MAFS was a great opportunity to use the experiences of several other couples to learn more about relationships and discuss with your own love-interest how they feel about certain scenarios and what each of you would like from a relationship. This year, for me as a survivor of Domestic Violence, this show isn’t the picture-perfect portrayal of healthy relationships, clear communication and respect.

On Sunday night, we saw couple Lauren and Matt leave the show. Matt, a confessed virgin before becoming married, was confronted when Lauren announced that she had been a lesbian. All credit to Matt who wasn’t phased by the lesbian announcement. What did disappoint me as a viewer was the Lauren played the victim saying “he used me to lose his virginity.” Matt, sweet and innocent as he is, felt bad for upsetting Lauren (Loz). But let’s get serious, Lauren scared our inexperienced Matt by suggesting that she was into swinging, being dominated in the bedroom and into threesomes. Matt, who suffers from social anxiety and feels very uncomfortable expressing emotions and affection, is ‘vanilla’ and the revelation from Lauren would have thrown him off track and made him question himself…. I don’t blame him! It seems that the experts were also shocked at the revelation of Lauren’s lesbian past and until airing were probably unaware of her preferred intimate advances.

I’ve also been staggered at the females displaying domestic violence towards their male partners. Namely, Cyrell and Innes. If their respective spouses spoke to them in the manner in which they are speaking to Nic and Bronson, women groups around Australia would be up in arms and screaming ‘abuse!’ Yet, this show seems to allow these women to speak and behave poorly towards the men. It’s alarming that women are gaslighting and being verbally abusive in front of a producer and camera-crew, in the least – so what would they do behind closed doors and in private? I hate to allow my imagination to conjure anything else up!

Media today reports that Ines has lost 12Kg while watching the show and has become a recluse. Apparently, her friends are concerned. If this is true, 12Kg on her tiny frame is a scary amount to lose. Maybe this is a tough lesson for Ines and an opportunity for her to see how cold, mean, difficult and deceitful she has been. I wish her well and hope she regains good health and becomes a better person from the show. If this is true, the show has a lot to be responsible for….

My solutions for MAFS is a two-prong approach:

Firstly, it would be great for the team of experts to be more informed about what is going on during the week (before the dinner party and commitment ceremony). This way they can call out ‘BS’ faster and offer the right help to couples in a more-timely basis.

Secondly, if the producers are editing the show for sensationalism, I warn them to be careful. Creating a picture that says ‘it’s ok to gaslight’, ‘it’s ok to treat others poorly if you have had a hard life’ and ‘it’s ok to yell and scream – that’s communication’ is a dangerous path to tread. Society is trying to stamp out domestic violence and violence towards women, children and men. This sentiment should be echoed in the show and I hope that therapy and counselling is offered to all contestants on a regular basis throughout filming, post-filming and throughout the airing of the show.

Relationship take-aways and lessons from MAFS so far:

  1. Don’t allow your past to dictate who you are today and don’t all victim to your past. It will always be a part of you, but it doesn’t have to define you. It also doesn’t give you permission to treat others poorly.
  2. Be open and honest – especially when screening for the show. If the experts don’t know who you truly are and what you truly want, their job of matching you with the right person is impossible.
  3. Get professional support. If life is difficult for you or you have had a bad experience in the past that you can move past, seek professional help. Start with your GP/local doctor or seek the assistance of a psychologist.

If you are experiencing crisis or contemplating suicide or a victim of domestic violence, call: Emergency on 000
LifeLine on 13 11 44 1800 RESPECT Men’s Line (Australia) 1300 789 978

Uploaded on 19.02.19.


This is general advice only and is not provided as legal, medical, financial or other professional advice.