What Is A Karmic Soulmate? How To Identify And Break Free?

Love and Romance | | , Culture & Relationships Writer
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karmic soulmate

Eminem accurately described the feeling of meeting your karmic soulmate in his 2010 song Love The Way You Lie. He talks about falling in love with a person with such a passion that you don’t even realize what you’ve become. The kind of love that makes you forget you ever had a life before meeting this person. It’s almost like fate led you to them, yet it never works out.

I struggled for years with Dan in an on-off relationship that never seemed to sit still. It was only when I began my spiritual journey in Buddhism that I learned about the karmic soul connection. I began to ask myself, “Am I in a karmic relationship? Do I have past life karmic links with Dan? Is that why this relationship is so difficult?” To get more clarity on this, I got in touch with Nishi Ahlawat, astrologer and relationship coach, who helped me understand the dynamics of karmic soulmates.

What Does A Karmic Soulmate Feel Like? 

A karmic relationship feels like a complicated idea, but it’s essentially about one’s karma in a relationship and the balance of it. To truly understand this, you need to understand how karma can become part of your relationships in the cycle of life and death. Nishi says, “Karmic relationships are the relationships from your past lives, where you had unresolved issues with some people.” It’s not a clinical term, but its essence is based on spirituality. 

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According to ancient Buddhism, karma is a force that transcends time, space, and even life. Consequences from bad karma from a previous birth have to be addressed in a future birth. Bad karma delays you further in the process of life and birth in the mortal world, or Samsara. This is not entirely desirable because happiness in this world is temporary. True happiness, or Nirvana, comes only by turning to God and leaving everything worldly. This is where the karmic soul connection helps souls get rid of bad karma.

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  • It is believed that some souls form a karmic soul contract where they mate for multiple lives. By challenging each other to improve, they resolve issues from previous lives. Due to this, karmic relationships feel constantly intense and charged 
  • This helps them get closer to enlightenment with each life until they break the cycle of birth and death. This creates a high affinity and makes karmic soulmates feel magnetically attracted toward each other
  • They are meant to help each other receive life lessons so they can become better versions of themselves. Due to this, it can feel exhaustive as they’re going through so much all the time
  • It resembles a toxic relationship, but the major difference lies in how karmic relationships improve one as a person through the bad experiences
  • A major difference between other types of soulmates and karmic soulmates is that a soulmate fulfills one’s purpose in that birth, while karmic soulmates advance the soul forward in the journey toward enlightenment across multiple births

Nishi also says, “Whenever we see an emergence of Saturn in one’s chart, there is a possibility that they may end up in a karmic relationship because Saturn is the herald of hard lessons in one’s life.”

How Do You Know If You Have A Karmic Soulmate?

Since we are born countless times until we achieve enlightenment, we get to form karmic connections with a lot of people. Having a karmic connection is not extraordinary. But a karmic soulmate will be an experience you will never forget. So, what are the signs you are in a karmic relationship? Here they are:

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1. A karmic relationship feels like a supernatural connection

If you’ve seen Cloud Atlas, you’d have some idea of what I’m talking about. It’s often said that you have an unusual affinity for your karmic soulmates. Since you’ve met them across many lives, it seems like you’ve always known them. You seem to be constantly running into each other, everything reminds you of them. It feels almost supernatural and is difficult to resist, to the point that you consider breaking away from everything that keeps you away from them. Nishi says, “The pull of this telepathic love is so strong, that you may not realize that you are not even romantically attracted to these people.”

  • It feels as if the whole universe is conspiring to make you two meet
  • The bond appears so strong that it seems easier to change your whole life for one person, even when you don’t know them well

2. It’s too passionate to explain, but difficult to maintain

This relationship is hyper-dramatic. Both of you will be big on gestures. You will go to lengths to show your love to each other, yet misunderstand every little smile, and do crazy things to attract attention. But any stability will only be temporary. You’ll dismiss the emotional instability as passion, but it’s not healthy.

  • Your highs and lows are amplified. Your experiences appear to be unmoderated
  • You’ve broken up and reconnected more times than you can count on one hand
  • There’s no dearth to your drama. You become that couple everyone in the restaurant stares at

3. There are a lot of red flags

You notice red flags before the relationship even starts. Or the people around you notice them, but you choose to ignore them. You might notice their stalking or controlling behavior or apathy toward your friends who recognize the flags. Your partner may gaslight you by making you question your judgment. If you notice any of this behavior, then these dating red flags should send you running now.

  • There is a lot of miscommunication. You frequently misunderstand or misinterpret each other’s actions and have to constantly explain yourself, yet the two of you never try to have a heart-to-heart conversation to sort out any brooding issues
  • You make excuses for your partner, and blame yourself for their abuse
  • You get isolated from people you’ve known before your relationship
  • There are no healthy boundaries between you two

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4. You become the worst version of yourself

Before karmic soulmates help you become your best version, they bring out the worst in you. When you’re deep in it, you’ll notice that the relationship makes you irrational or illogical. You begin to second-guess yourself. Your self-esteem dips to an all-time low, and you begin to derive your self-worth from your partner rather than from yourself.

  • Your friends say you’re not the same anymore
  • You observe failures in places where you could’ve easily excelled
  • You stop challenging yourself and accept whatever comes your way

5. You feel exhausted

One of the major signs you are in a karmic relationship is that it’s an emotionally exhausting relationship. These bonds always start with a bang. When I started with Dan, everything felt amazing. You don’t seem to need anyone else, and the sex is phenomenal. It’s as if you are two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that could only have worked with each other. 

And then it hits rock bottom, and you don’t even know how it started. You start looking over your shoulder, trying to make sure everything is how they like it, and you begin to hide calls from your friends. And this happens so many times that you get exhausted from trying to understand what is not working. 

  • The relationship never works, irrespective of how much effort you put in
  • You constantly feel tired, sleepless, or moody
  • You’d rather have them scream at you than try to understand what went wrong

6. It’s difficult to resist them even when you know it’s not worth it

Nishi says, “It’s almost impossible to get away from such a relationship because the pull doesn’t let you leave.” This karmic relationship damages both of you. And despite the damage and exhaustion, it’s difficult to stay away from them. 

You may try to understand it logically as a masochistic need or low self-esteem, but it’s almost as if an unbreakable thread ties you together. Remember Jack saying to Ennis in Brokeback Mountain, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

  • Everyone can see you’re not good for each other, except you
  • You hate anyone who points out they aren’t good for you, even when you know it’s true
  • You want to break up but can’t

7. There may be codependence

Karmic relationships are often imbalanced or skewed. In such relationships, people may cover up or even assist their partner’s addictive or toxic behavior. A sign of a codependent relationship is that it resembles a patient-caregiver dynamic where one supports their partner’s bad behavior to ensure dependency in the relationship. As per a study, the more dependent people believed their partner was on the relationship, the less likely they were to initiate a breakup.

  • One of you is supporting the other’s addiction or bad habits
  • You don’t resolve issues healthily, but hoard them to be used later
  • The difference between a soulmate and a karmic soulmate is their attitude toward one’s partner. Soulmates improve each other. But if you’re in a karmic relationship, there is no desire to improve, either in your partner or yourself. You‘d rather keep the status quo

8. Your relationship is riddled with unpredictability

You have no idea what is going to happen next. Even a casual day when you expected fun could turn sour instantly. And because the good times are so good, even a small rough patch feels like a major heartbreak. It traumatizes you to the point where you’re constantly on tenterhooks and can never relax around them.

  • You always have half an eye on what they’re doing when they’re with you
  • You’re constantly on your guard
  • You over-explain everything, even when it’s not your fault

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9. You keep repeating the same pattern

When Eminem said, “Then we fall back into the same patterns. Same routine,” he perfectly summarized karmic soulmates. You keep making the same mistakes again and again. You know what you need to improve upon, yet you never do it.

  • You become institutionalized in an abusive relationship
  • You don’t try to improve anymore, even when you feel lost in the relationship
  • You discourage any talk about your dynamic with friends, even going to lengths to avoid meeting them

Nishi says, “The purpose of these relationships is to learn life lessons. It’s only by breaking the pattern of the flaws that are riddling you, you can clear the karmic soul contract. Once that karmic debt is cleared, the connection ends. This means either a separation or, in rare cases, the death of a partner.”

10. You are never secure

Even though you’ve been together for so long, you’re still worried about the relationship or their fidelity. You are never secure about their attachment to you. Psychologists call this the survival mode. And it can have a long-term impact on you.

  • You get overly obsessive and jealous, even if that is not in your nature
  • You just want to shape each other according to your desires without considering how it will affect them individually. It’s as if there’s a competition to see who can dominate more in the relationship
  • You can’t be at peace with each other
Do you believe in karma?

Can A Relationship With A Karmic Partner Work?

Nishi says, “We may have karmic relationships with whoever we are close to. These could be parents, siblings, children, or partners. The reason we connect again with these people from previous lives in this lifetime is to learn life lessons. If we keep failing to learn the lessons across multiple lifetimes, then the relationship turns toxic.”

In the case of karmic couples, it’s difficult for them to realize the nature of their relationship. They feel highly compatible with their partners. This is why when things eventually don’t work out, it feels frustrating. They keep trying, again and again, making the same mistakes. The realization that they need to make changes within themselves for themselves, and not for the sake of sustaining a toxic relationship, happens too late. By that time, they’d given more to the relationship than they’d gained from it.

Nishi says, “I don’t agree that karmic connections never work. There are many hard lessons that they teach us, and if we’re ready to work, these relationships can work. But it’s very difficult to identify when you’re connecting with someone who is your karmic soulmate. People keep failing to learn from their mistakes and keep falling back into the same pattern.”

A relationship with a karmic soulmate rarely works. It will always be tumultuous, unhappy, and exhausting. The only way a karmic relationship will work is if both partners make a conscious choice to heal themselves instead of trying to patch up the relationship. This can be done by:

  • Accepting your flaws and trying to work on them. And your flaws are not what your partner says, it’s what is stopping you to be the best version of yourself
  • Taking accountability for your actions. At the end of the day, you’ve got to stop blaming your partner or your circumstances for your failures
  • Opening your hearts completely to each other. Communicate whenever you feel overwhelmed

Take the advice you’d give to a friend in a similar situation. If you’re not sure your partner is right for you, or that the relationship is not bringing you emotional security and mental peace, or that they’re slowly leading you away from your goals, it’s better to break away.

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How To Break Free From A Karmic Soulmate?

Past life karmic links don’t leave you unless you make the effort to learn from your mistakes and work toward becoming a better person. It was difficult for me since my relationship with Dan appeared so perfect during its amazing highs that I would forget the crushing lows. It takes some time to accept the bad nature of your soul ties. 

But by that time, your idea of normal is distorted. It becomes easier to accept the toxicity instead of starting afresh. So what can you do when you start asking the question, “Am I in a karmic relationship?”

1. Face the reality

Karmic relationships, unless both partners make an active effort, rarely work. The satisfaction is mostly temporary. Analyze your relationship. Recognize the toxicity surrounding you. Focus on your self-worth. Imagine yourself at your best, and if your relationship is not leading you there, it’s not worth it.

  • Think of your future. Does it include your partner? 
  • Do you visualize your partner any different from how they are now? If yes, this tells you that you love a projection of your partner, not them
  • Can you accept them as they are? If not, they’re not the one

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2. Learn the lessons from the bad experiences

Karmic soulmates are meant to teach each other lessons so they can improve. Recognize what your relationship is trying to teach you. It could be trying to stand up for yourself, valuing independence, or healing from previous trauma. Learn the lesson and fulfill the purpose of this relationship.

  • Analyze what the weakness is that is causing you pain in the relationship
  • Try to improve upon the weakness
  • Record your journey in a journal. It helps

3. Create a backup plan

Breaking away from your partner can be difficult, especially if you’re financially dependent on them. If you do not have the means to support yourself financially, you need to create a plan that can take care of you while you get on your feet.

  • Start investing so you can have some savings in your name
  • Insist on a prenuptial agreement when getting married
  • If you’re not married, make sure you have legal ownership of any assets you own jointly
  • Update your skills, and start investing in skills that will help you get set up

4. Seek support

It’s not easy for everyone to start over, especially in a relationship as intense as this one. So, talk to your friends and family. Create a support system and ask for help whenever needed. People can help if you know how to ask for it.

  • Communicate your feelings with your friends and family
  • Ask them if they can help you while you are moving out or if you need a job
  • Spend more time with them to create a separate life from your karmic soulmate
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5. Break free to start a new life

You need a clean break to start a new life. You can’t leave without explaining, hoping that everything will fade away. You need to ensure closure after a breakup, or it can leave residual feelings. It can also lead your partner to misunderstand your actions as a plea for attention. You need to tell them exactly what you want. 

It can get messy, but you need to go through it. Unless, of course, they are violent or abusive. In that case, leave the way you see fit and that makes you feel safe.

  • Don’t be impulsive about your breakup, think it through, and decide upon a date
  • Once you’ve planned it to the T (where you will stay, what you will do afterward, and how you will take care of your finances), break it to them
  • Do not be tame with your body language. Show that you want to leave
  • There may be drama and tears, but hopefully not violence. Be prepared for any eventuality. But do not back away when it’s time to leave
  • You may feel disposed to guilt-trip them or try to find faults, but you may end up digressing beyond redemption

Key Pointers

  • Karmic soulmates are trying to resolve their debt from previous lives. They are meant to teach you life lessons
  • Karmic relationships are often toxic and riddled with red flags
  • You need to have certain realizations and learn your life lessons to break free

As Nishi says, “Remember, karmic soulmates are about learning your lessons. This relationship is meant for your spiritual healing, and only once you accept that realization, you grow spiritually.” Learn to take responsibility for yourself. If this person is not worthy of you, then take responsibility for your happiness and break free. Break the pattern and focus on long-term happiness


1. How long do karmic relationships last?

Karmic relationships may last for many years. But they’re often unhappy and exhausting. People in karmic relationships find it difficult to leave each other, even when they know that the relationship is not working for them.

2. Do karmic relationships come back?

Unless you learn the lesson they’re trying to teach, karmic relationships keep reappearing in different lives. They leave your life only when you decide that you need to change and that it’s time to leave the relationship.

Can karmic soulmates turn into soulmates?

The difference between a soulmate and a karmic soulmate lies primarily in the fact that while the former is meant to stay, the latter leaves as soon as its purpose is fulfilled. However, karmic soulmates can turn into soulmates if both partners decide on an active change.

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