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What Is a Karmic Relationship? 13 Signs You May Be in One

Ever heard of the term karmic relationship? If not, you’re in the right place.

It feels like every other single person in the world is looking for a relationship, but it’s easy to forget just how complex relationships can often be.

Even the most well-intentioned partners can unintentionally cause us pain, and let’s not forget that not every partner is well-intentioned either.

Yet, people keep swiping left and right hoping that the next relationship will be the one they’ve been looking for to justify all the rest. 

I’m not excluding myself here. I’ve spent too much of my single life on the lookout for a partner even though relationships haven’t worked out well for me. I guess hope really does spring eternal.

What is a Karmic Relationship 

The thing about relationships is that we’re going to repeat patterns until we learn our lesson. Your lesson is likely different from mine, but if you find yourself dating the same type of person over and over or having strikingly similar experiences, you need to stop and read about karmic relationships and why you keep finding them.

The reason it’s called a karmic relationship is because our own actions invite this relational dynamic to exist.

Definition of karmic relationship

A karmic relationship is a powerful connection wherein we repeat a lesson we haven’t learned. The point of this pairing is to discover the areas where we still haven’t healed and do something about them. 

The bad news is that the karmic connection will bring triggers to the surface and is usually accompanied by a volatile relationship. The good news is that it represents an opportunity for you to turn it all around. This is your chance to break the cycle, learn the lessons, and create your happiness. 

13 Signs of a Karmic Relationship

If you’re paying attention, there are 13 strong signs of a karmic relationship you’ll want to keep in mind as you connect with new partners and potential partners. 

1. You Feel a Strong Connection

Karmic relationships could feel like you’ve finally met your soulmate.

There’s an undeniable connection and chemistry between you. You’ll want to believe that this is the person you’re meant to be with based on the power of the connection. 

It’s not just a matter of attraction, although that will be plentiful. There’s also a deep bond, and you may feel like you’ve known them forever. A karmic relationship is one you’re going to have a hard time resisting because it will seem to align with what you want. 

2. You Ignore Red Flags

Another key sign of karmic relationships is that you ignore red flags. It’s not that they’re hidden. It’s that you intentionally explain, justify, or deny them. 

This is how you’re repeating patterns. It’s also the biggest clue that you need to resolve the karmic issues present to be able to move beyond this type of relationship.

Without taking a hard look at the red flags you know on some level are there, you won’t be able to master the lessons and move on. Instead, you’ll be stuck repeating an unhealthy relationship dynamic and perhaps even blaming everyone else for something you’re doing to yourself. 

3. You Bring Out the Worst in Each Other

In a karmic relationship, you bring out the absolute worst in each other. While you might normally be an absolute delight, the karmic partner will bring out the side of you that few people have seen. You’ll find that you’re constantly triggering each other — even when you don’t mean to do it.

While a soulmate relationship or a twin flame connection will bring your best self to the surface, the karmic relationship brings out your worst.

That can feel defeating, but you can’t heal those wounds if you can’t see them. In this respect, the karmic relationship does you a favor. By bringing those issues to the surface, you’re being offered an opportunity to heal. 

4. Your Relationship is Filled with Miscommunication

You’ll notice that miscommunications abound in a karmic relationship. No matter how closely connected and attached you feel to the other person, you’ll misunderstand them, and they’ll misunderstand you.

In fact, it’s like you’re speaking a different language. Wires keep getting crossed. No matter how hard you try, they just don’t seem to get you any more than you get them.

It’s frustrating. Part of the problem is that you’re both reliving a karmic pattern. Even if those patterns are similar, you’re going to react in different ways to feeling triggered.

Everything might feel like a personal attack — even when it’s not. You can’t help but take things personally in a karmic relationship because the purpose of one is to bring your issues front and center where you can finally deal with them. 

5. The Relationship is Codependent

Most karmic relationships have an element of codependence. You have an unhealthy attachment where you overly rely on your partner — and they overly rely on you. It’s more than just supporting one another. You begin to feel as though you can’t live without them. The thought of not having them in your life is devastating — even when you’re not happy with the relationship dynamic.

The problem is that you don’t have the space in the relationship to grow effectively.

Because the karmic relationship is aggravating every single past wound, you’re more likely to try to cling to the person who’s there with you even when they’re the reason you’re experiencing this upheaval.

Karmic relationships can be hard to leave. As much as they hurt you, the strong, passionate connection is still undeniable.

6. The Relationship is High Drama

Karmic relationships are filled with drama. There are rarely peaceful days where everything goes smoothly. Instead, you’re both finding fault with each other regularly. Someone is always upset about something.

The high drama can be exhausting for your friends and family members who love you to manage. They don’t get why you’d stay in a relationship filled with such turmoil.

Yet, the nature of karmic relationships isn’t to peacefully resolve your inner wounds. Instead, it brings them to the surface in a spectacular way and forces you to pay attention to what’s happening in your life.

Whether or not you do anything about what it’s showing you is still up to you, but you can’t deny that there’s something wrong with this relationship pattern you find yourself repeating.

7. You Feel Addicted to the Ups and Downs

What’s strange about the karmic relationship is that you can feel addicted to the rollercoaster you’re on. You don’t enjoy it. It’s something you complain about often. But you’re not leaving either, are you?

Because the good times in the relationship are so infrequent, it creates a big emotional payoff. If you’ve ever wondered how people get so addicted to gambling, the karmic relationship provides a handy example of how this is possible.

Winning in a karmic relationship happens so seldom but is so powerful that you just keep trying, no matter how often you lose and lose big. You just keep going back for more no matter how often you swear the last time was the last time. 

8. It Feels Exhausting Rather Than Fulfilling

Your karmic relationship doesn’t fulfill you and make your life happier. It’s exhausting. Just as soon as you resolve one issue, another rears its ugly head, and you’re back to square one. It feels defeating.

The truth is that you love them. Of course you do. You see all the good things about this person — all the little things that add up to making them a person you can love. But they also drive you crazy and bring out the worst in you. You’re constantly finding and resolving issues, and you don’t get to relax and enjoy the relationship. 

9. You’re Repeating a Past Relationship Pattern

A karmic relationship requires past patterns to repeat. If you are discovering that this partner bears an uncanny resemblance to the behavior of past partners, it’s likely because of a pattern that you, my dear, are repeating.

You might want to blame them and point the finger elsewhere, but you’re in a karmic relationship because you haven’t learned the necessary lesson that would land you in a healthier relationship.

Once you see the pattern, you get the opportunity to make new choices to influence a new pattern to emerge. If you keep dating shallow narcissists, figure out what it is about them that’s attracting you in the first place.

If you can solve your issue, you’ll likely find that it breaks your attraction to people like that. You’ll begin to form attractions to healthier people once you resolve the issue underlying the karmic relationship.

10. You Make Excuses for Their Behavior

Are you making excuses for a partner and explaining away their behavior? You might be in a karmic relationship. This is a common pattern for people who haven’t yet learned their lesson. You shouldn’t have to explain away someone’s actions. Their actions should speak for themselves.

If you’re telling your friends about how his selfish act was understandable under the circumstances, you’re taking away his accountability and your own personal responsibility to address your feelings about what happened. Instead of growing closer, your refusal to hold him accountable is creating more rifts in the relationship. 

Instead of focusing on what he’s doing or not doing, you should focus on why you’re allowing this in your life.

The difficult truth is that it doesn’t matter what the other person does. It only matters how you respond to it. You might be reacting, but are you responding in ways that honor yourself? If the answer is no, you’re in a karmic relationship.

11. The Passion is Centered Around Drama, Jealous, and Possessiveness

There’s so much passion in a karmic relationship, but it has strong elements of drama, jealousy, and possessiveness. This might make you feel cared about, but it’s not healthy. While the feeling of jealousy is normal, a jealous lover isn’t something anyone needs. 

It’s unhealthy, but it might create yet another bond between you. You’ll feel wanted but not in a way that allows you to be a free and autonomous human being. It shows a lack of trust. You can choose to ignore it but only to your detriment. 

Recommended read: 13 Signs You Are in a Love-Hate Relationship and How to Fix It

12. You Try to Manipulate Each Other

In karmic relationships, you don’t often communicate directly. You’re both too busy trying to manipulate the other person.

Some people favor a passive aggressive communication style, others will try to make you jealous, and still others manipulate by being the person they think their partner wants even if it’s inauthentic to who they are on the inside. 

Manipulative behaviors aren’t just immature, although that’s one aspect of them. They’re also unhealthy. Instead of manipulating one another, you could be communicating kindly, respectfully, and directly about how you feel and what you want.

Sadly, this doesn’t often happen in karmic relationships until the very end. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen at all. 

The preference for manipulation over clear communication is a sign that you’re stuck in a pattern of repeating karmic relationships. Will you learn this time, or are you going to repeat the pattern again?

13. You Have a Make-or-Break Moment

In karmic relationships, you come to a make-or-break moment. Sometimes, the nature of these relationships creates an on-again-off-again relational dynamic. In fact, that’s often a sign that you’re in a karmic relationship but can’t quite break free of it. 

The other make-or-break moment comes when you realize that you’re in a karmic relationship — and no longer want to repeat that pattern. When you experience that epiphany, you have two choices. 

You can take that moment of clarity and self-awareness and come face to face with your own issues, not theirs.

You can accept that you’re the one who keeps choosing people who aren’t a good fit for your life.

And you can finally make the changes necessary to stop the pattern from repeating by being accountable for your own healing and your own choices. 

But that’s not the only choice you can make. You can reach that make-or-break moment and blame the other person for being a disappointment.

You can make excuses for why you ignored the obvious red flags. And you can put all the accountability on them and wash your hands of any further responsibility. 

If you do this, however, you will walk toward another karmic relationship that will leave you right back where you started. In fact, you’ll keep ending up there until you decide that enough is enough.

Some people get to that place and stop dating altogether, but that doesn’t actually end the karmic pattern. It will only end when you address your healing and break your patterns — patterns you have to first be accountable for creating. 

Resolving Karmic Relationships

To resolve a karmic relationship, you have to be accountable. It requires self-awareness, but that is only a step along the journey and not a destination. You also have to put in the work to heal the issues underlying your choices. Here are a few ways to start resolving your karmic relationships:

  • Go to trauma therapy. Note: I didn’t say talk therapy. While talk therapy has many benefits, if you’re in a karmic relationship pattern, I’d hazard a guess that you need the more intensive benefits that come with trauma therapies like EMDR.
  • Stop making excuses. Stop excusing yourself for ignoring red flags, and stop excusing your partner’s behavior. Begin holding yourself and your partner accountable for what you both say and do. You can’t make them change, but you can absolutely begin to change your own responses to what’s happening.
  • Evaluate your choices. You may genuinely have no idea how you keep picking the same type of person no matter how different they seem on the surface. You’ll need to begin evaluating what attracted you to each person in the pattern. You’ll likely begin to see similarities in your choices. If you can change how you choose, you’ll change who you choose, too.
  • Phone a friend. Ask your friends about your patterns. Ask the people who are most likely to be honest with you. They probably see exactly what you’re doing. However, if your friends excuse your behavior and blame all your exes, they’re likely stuck in karmic patterns, too. Instead, find your healthiest, happiest friend and ask them to tell you what they see. They might provide insights into your relationships that can help you grow and make necessary changes.

Final Thoughts

Karmic relationships will repeat until you learn what you need to from them. Most karmic relationships are not going to work out.

The rare exception is when both parties resolve their karmic issues and choose to strengthen the relationship. This is an extraordinarily rare occurrence. Often, even if both people want to change, they’ll likely grow in separate directions when they do.

Karmic relationships aren’t meant to last. They’re meant to be a wake-up call that you need to remove yourself from a harmful pattern.

You don’t have to continue to suffer. You’re being offered a chance to change.

The fact that it comes packaged in a bad relationship doesn’t make it any less a gift when you finally accept it. You might even find that you end up getting out of the relationship and changing your ways so that the last karmic relationship is actually the last one. 

Photo by Chen on Unsplash

The Truly Charming