We earn a commission from brands listed on this site. This influences the order and manner in which these listings are presented.
Advertising Disclosure

What Is a Karmic Relationship? Everything You Need To Know

Antonia Greco - Writer for Top10.com
a man and a woman sitting at a table with a cup of coffee
Have you been in a relationship that's both deeply connected and full of ups and downs? This could be a sign of a karmic relationship.

As a personal coach and online dating expert, I've seen many people grapple with karmic relationships. These connections are intensely passionate but often chaotic, leaving couples feeling exhilarated and bewildered.

They resemble a rollercoaster, with soaring highs and challenging lows. For those who embrace the concept, these relationships offer a chance for introspection and personal growth.

I'll help you identify karmic relationships, navigate their complexities, and help you focus on healing from these types of connections.

» Ready to simplify your dating journey? Uncover the secrets to making dating easier.

Karmic Relationships: Origins and Definition

The concept is based on Eastern philosophies, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, focusing on karma and reincarnation. Dr. Ryan Sultan, a therapist and research assistant at Columbia University, explains that karmic relationships are thought to originate from connections in past lives. He notes they often trigger personal growth and help resolve past karmic debts or patterns.

In a karmic relationship, you may experience intense familiarity with someone. This contrasts with typical partnerships where getting to know someone is a gradual process. In karmic connections, an instant recognition or bond often transcends time, suggesting a deeper spiritual significance.

Common Signs and Patterns of a Karmic Relationship

In a karmic relationship, the feeling of having unfinished business with your partner can be so strong that it's hard to notice common red flags. This intense attraction might blind you to issues. If you're deeply drawn to someone and sense unresolved matters from the past, look out for these typical signs.


In a karmic relationship, you might notice an excessive dependency on each other for emotional support and validation. This codependency leads to an intense and imbalanced bond, a hallmark of these deep and often challenging connections.

These relationships are recognized for their instant connection and intense chemistry. This immediate recognition can sometimes lead to a passionate yet exhausting bond, as noted by Talkspace therapist Elizabeth Keohan.

Repetitive Patterns and Turbulence

The strong chemistry draws you in and traps you in a cycle of repetitive, often negative patterns. If your relationship feels like a rollercoaster, your brain reacts to the ups and downs by releasing chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine, which make love feel addictive. A Harvard University study found that love can be similar to obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Jennifer Surak, founder of Jade Psychotherapy, says that it often feels like every argument could be the last. You and your partner seem to know exactly how to upset each other. There's a lot of miscommunication and a persistent feeling that you're not truly understood. This kind of dynamic can lead to a turbulent and sometimes even abusive relationship.

A Sense of Destiny and Lessons to be Learnt

People in karmic relationships often experience a strong sense of familiarity or a feeling of destiny upon meeting. This can manifest as an instant, deep connection, creating a sense that the relationship is not just a new encounter but a continuation of a bond from a past life.

You'll find that many lessons and learnings arise when you're together. While these relationships can be emotionally draining, Surak notes they can also have positive effects. She explains that you and your partner are like two souls meant to be together, possibly connected from a past life, and you need to complete what you started.

» Here's how you can tell if you're dating someone for the right reasons.

What's the Difference Between Twin Flames, Soulmates, and Karmic Relationships?

Therapist Karmen Smith describes a twin flame as meeting yourself only in a different body. They are here to teach us about ourselves so that we can grow in ways we may not have been able to. In contrast, karmic relationships are often about growth through challenging dynamics.

Twin flames differ from soulmates as well. While twin flames represent two halves of a whole, soul mates are separate, extraordinarily linked souls. "A soulmate isn't only a love connection, but a connection with someone who accepts and knows you," says psychotherapist Babita Spinelli. Twin flame relationships can become toxic, unlike soulmate connections, which are usually more stable and less intense​​​​​​.

Karmic Relationships and Their Impact on Spiritual Growth

You often experience intense passion and drama in karmic relationships, but these relationships are generally unhealthy. The initial strong connection makes maintaining a stable and healthy relationship difficult. Despite the challenges, these relationships are important for personal growth and offer valuable learning opportunities.

However, the intensity of karmic bonds often creates an unhealthy, volatile, and exhausting dynamic. Although there may be positive moments, the overall dynamic can become deeply toxic. This toxicity can lead to harmful behaviors and make sustaining the relationship difficult.

Managing a Karmic Relationship

Navigating a karmic relationship in its initial phase demands a mindful approach focused on personal growth and healthy dynamics.

Recognize and Embrace the Relationship's Nature

Be vigilant for signs of a karmic relationship, such as deep, intense connections and recurring patterns, as early detection can lead to more mindful management of the relationship. Recognize that these relationships primarily focus on personal growth rather than only romantic involvement.

Communication, Reflection, and Boundaries

Take time regularly to reflect on your interactions with your partner. Assess how these moments bring to light your challenges and opportunities for growth. Share these insights with them to foster mutual understanding and cultivate a healthier relationship dynamic.

Consistently practice open and honest communication about your feelings, expectations, and concerns. Establish clear boundaries to avoid the repetition of negative patterns.

Embrace Change and Seek Support

If you face relationship challenges, seek help from friends, family, or online therapy sites. Embrace the changes that come with karmic relationships. They can help you grow and evolve. Let go of old habits and patterns that hold you back, paving the way for your personal growth.

Let Go and Move Forward

When you realize a karmic relationship no longer serves your growth, you have to make the brave decision to let go. This process involves accepting the lessons it taught and releasing both emotional and mental attachments to pave the way for new beginnings.

» You've got this! Here's how you can build your self-esteem.

Embrace Growth After a Karmic Relationship

Ending a karmic relationship marks the beginning of a journey toward personal growth, emotional healing, and discovering more about yourself. When you've focused on your healing and are ready to try dating again, Online dating sites like eharmony or EliteSingles can help you find meaningful connections.

Remember to set clear boundaries and pay attention to your needs and your partner's in a new relationship. If you face challenges or resistance to change, focus on what you can control and decide if you're really ready for a new relationship.

» Ready for a fresh start? Discover the 10 essential questions for new relationships.

Antonia Greco - Writer for Top10.com
Antonia Greco is an IDCA certified personal development coach, relationship expert, author, and communications graduate. For almost 15 years, she has helped clients reach their goals in life and love. Antonia has written for several leading publications, including Elite Daily, Bustle, Seattle Weekly, and Top10.com.