Fault-finding: A True Relationship Killer

Article Author: Ernest Quansah

Fault-finding is toxic, dangerous, and destructive. Even holy writ warns against it: “Cease to find fault with one another.” Once upon a time, she was young, beautiful with a firm body. You swept her off her feet, proposed to and married her. You started a family. She gained a few pounds and her figure was no longer as firm as you would have liked it. But she gave you children. So she gained a few pounds; so what? She is still the same loving woman you wooed. Her name is still the same name. Don’t ruin your own love relationship by finding-fault with your partner. Fault-finding comes in many forms and is so powerful it can easily destroy a perfectly fine love relationship. Here is a true story taken from a counselling session with a foreign client of mine years back.


In his world travels, a businessman had met many women from various backgrounds but never considered a long-term relationship with any of them. “I didn’t care,” he said. “All I wanted was to have fun.” One day when he was back in his own country after returning from another business trip, he met a younger woman. Because of her age, he was unsure how to handle her, so the businessman decided not to communicate with the young, attractive woman again. But something happened. The man couldn’t get the young woman out of his mind. There was something about her that drew him to her like a magnet. According to the man, it was like nothing he had ever experienced before. He contacted the young woman and they decided to have their first date. Before the date, the businessman was a little apprehensive. When they had gone out, however, he realized that he liked her and wanted to get to know her better.

“I don’t know what got into me,” he said, “but for the first time, I did not try to sleep with a woman on a first date. I wanted to get to know her.”

The young woman introduced him to her parents. The young woman’s father did not care for the man, but her mother accepted him despite the age difference (her daughter was eighteen). As their relationship blossomed over the next few months, their feelings for each other became stronger. Then the inevitable happened—the man began to find fault with his young girlfriend. He explained to me that she was too young, even though they had discussed marriage when she turned nineteen. I could feel that he was struggling with his emotions. He was obviously frustrated.

When I asked him if it was legal to marry a woman that age in his state, he said, yes. He proceeded to tell me how much he loved the young woman and how much she loved him. He said that when he was away on business, the young women never went out on dates with other guys. And he admitted that he had never felt so strongly about any other woman—ever. It sounded like he was in love.

“Does your girlfriend have a problem with your age?”

“No,” he replied.

“But you have a problem with her age,” I said. He nodded. “Do you see what is going on here? The problem is you, not her. If you want to be with her, you’ll just have to give yourself time to adjust to her age. She doesn’t have to adjust to your age because she’s already accepted you.”

To make a long story short, after a few sessions with this man, the real problem emerged. He had created an obstacle for himself by finding-fault with the young woman. But the problem was not really her age; it was his fear of being hurt. The man was afraid that since the young woman he cared about was so young and beautiful, she might leave him for a younger man. Fear had caused him to find fault with his young girlfriend.

“Has she done anything to give you the impression that she would leave you or cheat on you?” I asked him.

“No,” the man replied.

“You have made an assumption that she might leave you,” I said. “It’s okay to make assumptions. That’s human nature. But do you have any proof of this? Hasn’t she demonstrated her loyalty to you?”

The man paused for a minute and then exclaimed, “You are right!”


What I have just described is an example of what fault-finding can do to couples. At other times, it is done by parents of couples. I have often witnessed scenarios similar to the following one:


A Jewish woman meets a Liberian man. According to her, he is the type of man she has always prayed for. Despite their love for each other, the woman claims her parents will not accept her man because of his race. Soon they part ways. Mom and Dad don’t not want their daughter married to a man from another race.

And the potential to find fault goes on and on.



Lies: Telling lies is extremely offensive to most people. But what’s offensive isn’t the act of telling a lie; it’s the underlying meaning of the falsehood. You tell someone that you will do something but you don’t, and then you justify your lack of action with excuses. What you are really saying to that person is that he or she isn’t worth your commitment, your time, or your esteem. Lying in any form, in or out of a relationship, is insulting. But there’s more! When your partner catches you lying, what do you think will happen? Lack of trust is extremely damaging to any relationship.

Dissent: In all love relationships, two people decide to become one—one in purpose. If you and your significant other oppose each other, it really means you are not one. You are not a team. And we all know that in any game or event, when teammates oppose each other instead supporting one another, the team fails to win. In business, dissent is perceived as opposing a company’s policies. If you are against someone you are supposed to be one with, what do you think will happen? Similarly, if you oppose someone you say you are in love with, what do you think will occur to the relationship? Of course  it will not last.