Chance is a new psychological thriller starring Hugh Laurie that’s full of moral dilemmas. To celebrate its release, we caught up with dating expert and qualified behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, to chat about why matchmaking couples based on their MORALS is the new way to find romance. 

Jo Hemmings

Jo Hemmings

Why is pairing couples by their morals a good predictor of a match?

Our lifestyle values, whether shaped by our parents and the way we were brought up and/or by subsequent experience, are key to long-term relationship compatibility. If a couple have a mismatched moral code – or one which is at odds with the other – it can cause serious issues in making major life decisions together.

Why is matching people on interests, age and occupation simply not enough?

These things do matter in the ease and comfort of everyday life, but our interests and occupation can change over time, while our moral code and ethical values generally don’t.

When we say ‘morals’ what sorts of things are we talking about matching people on here?

It can vary from religious and political beliefs to attitude to money and our approach to bringing up children. They are fundamental beliefs that tend to start at an early age, instilled in us by family, school and socialisation and are often far more deeply embedded in our psyche than the kind of food we like to eat or the movies we enjoy watching!

What are the typical moral dilemmas couples face further down the line?

Money issues are often a problem – someone who believes in saving and spending thriftily is likely to have a few concerns if they are with someone whose attitude is the reverse of that. Child rearing and discipline is another bone of contention, as are strong political beliefs, which can be a major cause of friction!

How does someone’s moral compass take shape?

It’s usually a combination of upbringing – family values passed on down the line – schooling and early socialisation. We may rebel against them and become quite different to our parents, but nevertheless we rarely lose an implicit understanding and appreciation of those morals. Experiences as an adult also influence our moral compass as we begin to challenge things that as a child we might have accepted without question.

Are morals something we should compromise over when we meet someone we like?

I am all for being open-minded and not having the ‘it’s my way or the high way’ attitude. So, while I think we should be open to adjustments of our moral compass, it feels wrong for most people to implicitly adopt a set of moral values that feel deeply unfamiliar to them, however much they may like someone.

How important to you think it is that we make films that explore moral dilemmas in romance?

Understanding how different people have different morals and why, even if we can’t always agree with them, is part of understanding our culture and evolving as a person as well as being open-minded enough to embrace certain views that are alternative to our own. Relationships can be overwhelming and all-consuming and of course, the triumph of love over difficulty is one which may shock us, question our own values or make us determined to never let it happen to us, but, well-made, it rarely fails to inform and entertain in both TV and movies.

Chance, the new psychologic thriller starring Hugh Laurie, premiers tonight in the UK on Universal Channel at 9pm

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