‘I’ve Done A Lot Of Work’: How Being Gaslit In The Past Has Shaped Melinda Willis’ Approach To Dating On MAFS

Image courtesy of Channel 9
Throughout her time on Married At First Sight so far, Melinda Willis has unapologetically expressed her concerns about co-star Harrison Boon 'gaslighting' his wife Bronte Schofield.
Despite Schofield denying that she's been emotionally manipulated by her husband, Willis stands by her decision to try and help her castmate see her husband's problematic behaviour — which other female co-stars and the show's experts have also pointed out.
Speaking to Refinery29 Australia, Willis says that her desire to speak up comes after her own experience being in relationships prior to the show, where she felt gaslit by some of her exes.
"There are a lot of men like that [who gaslight their partners] and I'm sure there are a lot of girls too," says Willis. "In my experiences, I've seemed to attract that specific type of guy. So coming from that, I've been single for years now."
The beauty entrepreneur says her relationship history has made her more wary of gaslighting by potential partners, and it also explains why she was immediately looking for any red flags at her MAFS wedding to Layton Mills.
"I've done a lot of work on myself with self-development and have really analysed these relationships and types of men in order to really steer clear of them," she explains.
When it came to her experience on MAFS, Willis says she had to say something after seeing "a person a metre away" like Schofield, who's going through what looks like a very tough time.
"You're seeing this girl crying and going through so much, and you're listening to her stories and you're believing everything she's saying," says Willis. "It sounds like she wants the support and that she needs some reassurance and advice.
"Then you give it and it's kind of spat back at you. Now you're used as bait in whatever game's going on in their relationship."
Earlier this season, viewers saw Schofield's husband, Boon trying to meddle in Willis and Mills' relationship during the separate girls' and boys' nights at the retreat. It came after Schofield refused to believe Willis and her other female co-stars when they warned her about Boon's "emotionally manipulative" behaviour at the retreat.
The MAFS drama has only increased since then, with Boon and Willis paired up during the recent partner-swap challenge, while Mills and Schofield were put together for the task. Next up is this season's final commitment ceremony, where we'll find out which couples have decided to continue in the experiment for homestay week.
Married At First Sight airs Sunday at 7pm and Monday to Wednesday at 7:30pm on Channel 9 and 9Now.
Want more? Get Refinery29 Australia’s best stories delivered to your inbox each week. Sign up here!    

More from TV