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How to Know If It’s a Karmic, Twin Flame, or Soulmate Relationship

It was cinematic. I’m not kidding. Our eyes met across the room, and the connection was instantaneous. It was like Nora Ephron had written this scene in my life, and Harry Connick, Jr., was crooning distantly in the background.

I don’t believe in love at first sight, not entirely. But I believe in knowing at first sight on some level. I believe in infatuation and chemistry at first sight. This person wasn’t a stranger to me.

We’d already established some banter in messages and by phone, but I swear the world stopped for just a moment when he walked in. I was so flustered I had to turn away to collect myself. What was this? And why is it I’d never felt anything like it before?

When we’re falling for someone, it can be tempting to label it. Is this The One? Have we met our soulmate?

In tumultuous relationships, we might even reach for twin flame or karmic relationship to describe what’s happening. But what’s the difference between all of these terms — and why do we need them?

beautiful couple in love and spiritually connected

How to Know If It’s a Karmic, Twin Flame, or Soulmate Relationship

There are differences between karmic, twin flame, and soulmate relationship, but first, we should talk about the areas where they overlap. In all of these types of partnerships, there’s the feeling of instant connection and familiarity.

That’s the same across the board. It’s also why we can confuse them. We can also confuse them because we want one type of relationship but may find ourselves entangled in another.

It can be a hard truth to face that the relationship we have might not be the one we’d hoped.

Another similarity in these relationships is that they bring things to the surface. Deep inner work is usually an aspect of every single one of these cosmic connections.

They can all be healing experiences if we allow them to be. How they do the healing … well, that’s another story entirely.

Let’s compare how they’re different.

Karmic Relationships

Karmic relationships are the ones we get because we haven’t learned past relational lessons. These are sent to teach us what we’ve refused to learn before.

Because of this, these relationships are often chaotic. Both people bring out the absolute worst in each other.

There are miscommunications, manipulations, and a flagrant ignoring of red flags at the start. We make a lot of excuses because we’re forcing the fit, and ultimately, we’ll pay the price when we continue the relationship.

While the romantic connection is strong, this isn’t a peaceful relationship. We can get addicted to the rollercoaster and mistake it for true love and passion, but the reality is that karmic relationships are meant to pull our shadow selves to the surface.

They’re meant to make us face the changes we need that we’ve been avoiding.

This relationship is far more exhausting than it is fulfilling, but part of that is because we’re resisting what we know to be true — this isn’t a relationship meant to last.

It’s also exhausting because it’s showing us all the ways we need to change mirrored back in this other person.

Twin Flame Relationships

Twin flame relationships are often confused with karmic ones. In a twin flame connection, we’ve got that initial draw to this person, but instead of being our best match or our polar opposite, they are our best mirror.

Mirrors are great when they’re showing us just how amazing we look, but perhaps we don’t love them as much when they also show us every single one of our flaws.

Twin flames usually are extremely similar people, which is why it might seem to work well at first. But then, the flame — metaphorically speaking — ignites. This relationship is meant to change us by challenging us.

That doesn’t sound fun, does it? It’s usually not. The thing about twin flame relationships is that we’re not supposed to keep them.

That deep connection is meant to be a catalyst for change as we bring things to the surface that need to be dealt with, which is similar to the karmic relationship.

The twin flame has too much in common to last, but the relationship isn’t a waste of time. If we allow it to work the way it’s meant to, we will learn lessons that will ready us for a soulmate connection.

Soulmate Relationships

Soulmate relationships have the same familiarity and connection as karmic and twin flame relationships with one key difference.

The changes they bring us come from harmony and stability in the relationship. While they can also bring deep shadow work to the surface to be addressed, they also give us an environment where we’re safe to be vulnerable while we work through them.

The karmic relationship takes us on a rollercoaster ride that’s meant to have us swearing off toxic entanglements in future.

It’s meant to shake us out of our complacency and make us be accountable for our history of problematic relationships.

The twin flame connection burns bright, but it does so to highlight who we truly are. It reflects back our truest selves — and our highest potential — before burning out.

But the soulmate relationship is built to last. It has a sense of ease and familiarity that’s no less passionate than the other connections.

What soulmate relationships have on the others is safety, security, reassurance, and committed love. Soulmates complement one another in the best ways.

While all relationships offer challenges, this relationship has the strength to evolve right alongside us. We are healing ourselves, but we aren’t doing it alone.

The fact that we can grow together is why this relationship lasts when the others fall apart.

Why Do We Need to Define Them?

Human beings like labels. We just do. It gives us a sense of identity. It also helps us relate to one another more easily.

Look, when my eyes met his across the room, I didn’t think about labels in the moment. I was too busy drinking in his presence and marveling at the sense of connection and inevitability I felt. But later, I wondered: Is this my soulmate? I’d never felt anything like it before, so it made sense.

The relationship lasted for a while, but it became obvious that it wasn’t secure and comfortable for me after a while. I was constantly seeking reassurance and encountering rejection.

I had envisioned a future with him, and I began to suspect that he didn’t see a future with me. If I had to label it now, I’d say it was a twin flame connection. It changed me, and I’m grateful.

I wanted the soulmate relationship, but I had to face the fact that a soulmate would have been reassuring all along so that I wasn’t living in constant anxiety.

I’ve had a karmic relationship, too. I don’t recommend it. I always did learn the hard way, and the karmic relationship is likely my biggest regret. I’m grateful for the lessons, but the way I learned them was painful and traumatic.

I haven’t had a soulmate relationship. I don’t know if I will. But see what labeling just did? Being able to put a name to the type of relationship makes things easier for others to understand.

There are a lot of people who feel like they’ve never had a soulmate. There are plenty who have had a relationship so terrible that it felt karmic. And I think we’ve all had one that burned hot in the beginning before flaming out.

There’s value in all three types of relationships, but we have to make sure not to mistake a karmic or twin flame connection for the soulmate we’re seeking. We’ll hold on longer and stubbornly refuse to see the truth.

In fact, if we don’t go ahead and learn from these experiences, we’re likely to keep having them. We’ll block ourselves from the true twin flame because we aren’t learning the thing that would invite that stable, strong connection into our lives.

Each of these relationships can elevate us. They show us what we do and do not want. They challenge us to heal. They even prepare us for the relationship we’re longing to experience.

The Truly Charming