The connection is instant and inexplicable. You feel like you’ve known them forever. Like you’re destined to meet. Before you know it, they are in your head and under your skin. And then the rollercoaster begins. In between the butterflies and rainbows come the heartache and gut-wrenching lows. Beneath the all-consuming passion bubbles a cesspool of doubt and insecurities. Your bond is twisted, turbulent, intoxicating, and highly addictive—often all at once. Sound familiar? Then chances are you’ve met your karmic soulmate.
If you, like many of us, believe that soulmate relationships are all about a deep connection and unadulterated, unconditional, and smooth-sailing love, the idea of such a soulmate may seem rather counterintuitive. To decode where, and if, a karmic soulmate fits in the vocabulary of love, we turned to astrologer Nishi Ahlawat.
With her insights, let’s decode what should you do when you meet a karmic soulmate and how do you know for sure you’ve met yours. Before we delve into this, let’s first deconstruct what does karmic mean and what a karmic soulmate really is.
What Is A Karmic Soulmate?
What does karmic mean? Nishi says, “When we say something is karmic, it means it is related to a past life.” In fact, ‘karma,’ or the endless cycle of cause and effect that arises from our actions in our current and past lives, is one of the core concepts of Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. As we move from one life to another — with all our dysfunctional patterns and unresolved issues in tow — and interact with other souls, we start accumulating good and bad karma. The sum total of all our karma makes up our karmic debt.
In other words, karmic debt is all the residual karma — the lessons and repercussions from our past actions — that has followed us into the present lifetime. And this residual karma is what draws us, over and over again, to other souls from our previous lives: our soul family. And that’s the philosophy the concept of a karmic soulmate is rooted in.
However, Nishi says that the term karmic soulmate is a bit of a misnomer. “I don’t quite agree with the term. I would prefer to say we have karmic connections with some romantic partners. We meet them in this lifetime to clear our karmic debt from a past life.
“When we see people stuck in certain romantic relationships, especially those that have turned toxic, and we wonder why they are not leaving each other, it’s because they still need to learn their lessons and get rid of their karmic debt. That’s when we call it a karmic connection: when we are stuck, unable to leave a relationship. And if we fail to learn the lesson from the relationship in this lifetime, then we end up meeting that soul again in another life,” she explains.
What is a karmic relationship?
Now that we have some understanding of karmic connections and soulmates, let’s take a closer look at what a relationship between two people bound together by their karmic debt is like. In other words, let’s address the question of what is a karmic relationship.
The relationships we share with our soul family are called karmic relationships. Like in the case of soulmates, they need not always be romantic. They can even be filial or platonic. But they have one thing in common: Those who’ve been in karmic relationships agree that they are explosive, incredibly difficult to shake off, and far from easy.
This is not without reason. Karmic relationships are believed to stem from “unfinished business” from a past life that two souls have agreed to work through. That’s why karmic relationships can turn sour and awaken a smorgasbord of emotional turmoil, drama, and past trauma, and bring our fears to the fore.
Karmic vs soulmate relationships
Given their intense nature, karmic relationships can be easily confused with soulmate relationships. But the main difference lies in how they play out. While soulmates come to us to support our self-growth, build our self-worth, and take us to self-love, karmic relationships can be highly triggering, in a negative way, and eventually wear us down. While soulmate relationships encourage us to look inside, karmic relationships leave us with lessons about the world.
When it comes to romantic love, the idea of a soulmate, the yin to our yang, “our other half” who will “make us whole” is indeed rather alluring. In one 2021 survey of 15,000 US adults, 60% of the respondents said they believed in the idea of soulmates. And in a 2017 survey, over half the respondents said they had met the love of their life at least once, while some said they were still waiting for their true soulmate to appear.
And this longing goes back to even before the Greeks. As Plato would say, it was Zeus who set the soulmate ball rolling. It was he who cleaved us humans into two halves so we wouldn’t try to ascend the heavens, leaving us with a deep, desperate yearning for our other half. It is believed that these other halves that we meet in a lifetime take three forms: karmic soulmates, soulmates, and twin flames.
They say there are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice. So, how do we know what kind of love have we invited into our lives?
Related Reading: 4 Types Of Soulmates And Deep Soul Connection Signs
Soulmate vs twin flame vs karmic soulmate
According to best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert, meeting a soulmate can be intense and life-changing. It can “tear down your walls and smack you awake….shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life.”
Our soulmates don’t always go easy on us, but even as they push our buttons and challenge us, they always have our back. Soulmates force us to work through our negative patterns, face our inner demons, and help us move toward self-awareness. And that’s never easy. But, even at their volatile best, soulmate connections always give us a sense of stability so that we can reach for our higher selves.
Twin flame relationships are believed to be one level higher. A twin flame is meant to be our mirror soul — our mythical “other” incarnate — our “once in a lifetime” love who can lead us to spiritual awakening. It is believed that twin flames were carved from the same soul and put into two physical bodies.
Or, to borrow from F. Scott Fitzgerald, they are two souls “created together and in love” before they’re born. In this sense, there is a karmic bond here, too. However, while a karmic bond depletes, a twin flame relationship is fulfilling and does us more good than harm.
Karmic soulmates can begin on a similar high as soulmates and twin flames. “Initially, such relationships can be very good. In fact, they go really, really well at first. There is a sense of familiarity and comfort with the other person. Even if they are a stranger, you feel you have met them already,” says Nishi.
This initial magnetism can lull you into feeling that you and your partner are the same soul in two physical bodies. You may even feel destined to be with each other and turn a deaf ear to anyone telling you otherwise. But such relationships almost always spiral pretty quickly.
If soulmates and twin flames are pieces of a puzzle that match perfectly, karmic soulmates are pieces that never quite fit. Perfect as your relationship may seem on the outside, it doesn’t seem to sit right. And despite your best efforts, it always seems to go awry.
In fact, the normal ups and downs of a romantic relationship — which even partners in healthy relationships experience — stir up a perfect storm in karmic soulmates. They bring up all the past traumas and negative cycles of behavior, but with none of the support only a true soulmate can give, they only leave you broken and torn.
Related Reading: Cosmic Connection — You Don’t Meet These 9 People By Accident
11 Signs You’ve Met Your Karmic Soulmate
The line separating soulmates, twin flames, and karmic partners is pretty thin and not always easily discernible. How then can we know that we’re with a karmic soulmate? How do we gauge whether the connection we are feeling will, in time, turn sweet or sour? How do we know the powerful emotions that are welling up within us will not lead us down a rabbit hole of doom and gloom?
The short answer is: you can never know. But as they say, love is a lot like the weather. Whether it goes one way or another, there are always signs. Here are 11 common signs you’re caught in a karmic tangle:
1. High chemistry
In the case of karmic soulmates or karmic partners, often, the relationship begins on a high note. There is an instant connection, accompanied by overwhelming feelings that place the karmic partner at the center of your world. But as Reddit user, GatitoAnonimo, warns: High chemistry between two people is often “dysfunction saying hello.”
The user even goes as far as to describe an instant connection as a “massive red flag.” Red flag or not, it is a pretty clear sign. While not all strong attraction is karmic, when it comes to our feelings with karmic partners, there is often no middle ground. For better or worse, they always make us fall hard.
2. A karmic connection tends to be one-sided
Relationships with karmic soulmates tend to be one-sided, with one partner constantly doing everything they can to hold it together, and the other only looking at their own needs. All relationships involve give and take. But if you are the only one doing the giving, then it’s time to rethink your relationship.
Related Reading: How Do I Move On From One-Sided Love? Our Expert Tells You…
3. It feels a lot like co-dependence
You’ve never been the one to get emotionally, mentally, or physically dependent on anyone. Now, you can’t seem to put them out of your head. Your happiness revolves around them. And your sense of self-worth is tied to the relationship. Karmic connections result in incredibly addictive relationships. That’s one of the reasons why cutting the cord seems so hard. It’s what keeps you rooted to the spot, even when the red flags start waving.
4. You’re on an emotional rollercoaster
This is, by far, one of the most common signs: if you are with a karmic soulmate, things are far from smooth sailing. Karmic relationships turn hot and cold like the flick of a switch. One day, you are up. The next day, you’re down. There’s a constant stream of emotions and eventually, even minor problems start to seem insurmountable and the rough patches send you into an emotional tailspin.
5. A karmic soulmate pushes your buttons
A karmic soulmate can push your buttons like no other. They can poke your vulnerabilities and fuel your insecurities in the worst possible way. At worst, you bottle up your emotions and rage silently. At best, you lash out and let all hell break loose.
6. They bring out your dark side
Karmic soulmates tend to bring out the worst in each other. And not in a good way. In such relationships, one partner can be controlling, jealous, manipulative, or emotionally unavailable, massively triggering all the unhealed parts of the other.
According to Nishi, this is because these relationships have their roots in unresolved emotions from a previous life. The negative patterns only change when either the first partner ends up doing some introspection or the second partner faces their demons and practices some self-love.
“There is a possibility of improvement in any karmic connection, but only if the partners realize their mistakes and are ready to correct them. Sometimes partners who are abusive may realize they need to change and decide to work on their relationship. They may realize their follies and shortcomings, go for counseling, and try to make sure the same mistakes are not repeated. But all this requires really strong willpower,” she adds.
7. A karmic connection fans your fears
Afraid of commitment? Emotional attachment? Abandonment? Rejection? Loss? Then, a karmic soulmate is exactly what the doctor didn’t order. For they are designed to bring your old pains and worst fears in relationships to the surface, even if that leaves you drowning. “There are some hard lessons we need to learn from karmic connections. And we can never break free without learning them. That’s why these relationships are not easy. In fact, they are very, very hard,” says Nishi.
8. Miscommunication defines the relationship
Karmic soulmates make the worst communicators. Possibly because of the negative patterns that run through such relationships, there is always too much judgment, little understanding, too many assumptions and misunderstandings, and few deep and honest exchanges.
Related Reading: 9 Signs You Have Serious Communication Issues In Your Relationship
9. Something feels off
The irony of karmic soulmates is that while relationships with them feel destined, they nearly always seem off. “While the partners may be highly attracted to each other early on, after some time, say even a couple of months down the line, things start to go haywire,” says Nishi.
Your partner seems perfect but you don’t feel safe or trust them enough to be vulnerable around them. Or, maybe you do open up, and their reaction doesn’t quite cut it. If that’s the case, then perhaps it’s time to trust your gut and listen to what it’s trying to tell you.
10. You struggle to let go
People often tend to realize they are in a karmic relationship once they’ve gone in too deep. And then, it is often fear that keeps them from leaving: Fear of what will happen if they walk away; fear of what others may think. Short-lived as it is, the initial magnetism and bond keep people hooked and desperately trying to rekindle it.
“Sometimes, if one partner wants to move on, the other partner does not let them go. Or, after staying away for a couple of months, a year, or many years even, one partner suddenly remembers the other and starts missing them. That is also a sign of a karmic connection,” says Nishi. The bottom line is: you cannot move on easily from a karmic soulmate, she adds.
11. Repetitive cycle
You’ve broken up and made up more times than you can remember. And it’s always triggered by pretty much the same thing. Like Ross and Rachel, you just can’t look past the hurt. And so here you are, stuck in an endless loop, watching everything burn. The signs can’t be clearer than this: you’re most definitely in a karmic union.
The only way out of such a relationship is to go within and do some soul searching: Which unresolved feeling or pattern is constantly surfacing in the relationship? What is it trying to show you? “If we learn the lesson quickly, we can clear our debt. We can move on. Otherwise, it is going to be difficult,” says Nishi.
Are Karmic Soulmates Toxic? Know When To Walk Away
Just like not all that is karmic throws up a stink, not all karmic soulmates make for toxic partners. That being said, some aspects of such relationships — intense attraction, poor communication, one-sided love, and emotional upheaval — can make for a pretty potent mix.
According to Nishi, relationships between karmic soulmates can slide easily into toxic territory. “One partner can become toxic due to insecurities, possessiveness, or jealousy; abuse can also seep into such connections,” she adds. Sometimes, there may be no other fix than to walk away from a relationship.
So, when should you walk away from a karmic soulmate? Well, that is subjective. Like in any relationship, the trigger is different for everyone. “It could be a lack of loyalty, cheating, or even emotional or physical abuse. However, if at any point, you find yourself unable to deal with the relationship, or if the relationship starts to affect your emotional or physical health, then you definitely need to leave,” Nishi stresses.
Here are some red flags that you must never ignore:
- Putdowns, snide remarks, and sarcasm are making up nearly all your conversations
- Your needs are unmet or ignored
- You’ve lost touch with your family, friends, and activities you once loved or enjoyed
- The relationship has turned controlling and abusive, and you are walking on eggshells for fear of provoking your partner
If you see any of these toxic patterns, then it’s time to go your separate ways — for your sanity and your good. Karmic soulmates throw up some pretty tough lessons, and the most difficult one is perhaps learning to let them go. But it can be done, says Nishi. And how?
“Forgiveness is the best way to let go of a karmic connection. And unconditional love is the next. If you can forgive them, forgive yourself, and let go of the past and all that has happened, you can cut the emotional cord and disconnect from a karmic soulmate,” she explains.
If you are having trouble letting go, talk to your friends and family, speak to a relationship counselor, and put your focus back on yourself. And remember: Sometimes, the things that blow up in our faces do us the most good.
So, the next time you make an intense connection, your heart pounds, your hands shake, and your knees go weak, should you, as the Buddhists advise, make a run for it? Well, it depends on how you look at it.
According to American clairvoyant Edgar Cayce, the purpose of all the soulmates we meet in our lifetime is to help us advance spiritually. But can there be any growth without pain? Without some form of loss, fear, or change?
At their core, relationships with karmic soulmates are meant to help us break negative cycles, brave difficult situations, and find a better way to interact with our partners so we can form healthy relationships. They can even take us forward on the path to spiritual awakening. If we are ready to put in the work and understand the karmic lessons they hold, these relationships can help us recognize and shut the door on behaviors and people that do not serve us.
- Karmic soulmates are those we have ‘unfinished business’ with
- Such connections are intense but highly turbulent
- They bring out our past traumas and negative patterns of behavior
- They are also incredibly hard to let go of
- That is, till we learn what we need to from the relationship
Sharing what she learned from her relationship, Reddit user 10019Reddit says she now looks at “instant chemistry as a sign to slow down and really get to know the person before becoming involved.” Good or bad, all soulmates have something to teach us, whether we stay together or go our separate ways. As noted psychiatrist and author, Dr. Brian Weiss said, “Relationships are not measured in time, but lessons learned.”
Karmic soulmates are the romantic partners we meet to clear unresolved issues from a past
life. Bonds with karmic soulmates are intense and hard to walk away from, that is, until we
learn the lessons they hold and work through them.
Not necessarily. Like in any relationship, there is scope for improvement in karmic bonds,
too. However, the key here is realizing the negative patterns that these relationships put us
in and then consciously making efforts to break them. In the words of the wise: Nothing
ever goes away unless it teaches us what we need to know.
Letting go of any relationship is hard. If you are looking to disconnect from a karmic
soulmate, then the first step is to forgive: them, you, and everything that has happened. The
next step: practice unconditional love. Send them good thoughts, wish them well, and then
go your own way.
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