Karmic Relationship vs Twin Flame: Key Differences

Published on: 27 Jan 2023
Clinically Reviewed by Meaghan Rice PsyD., LPC
Happy young couple hugging

While people sometimes use the terms “karmic relationship” and “twin flame” interchangeably, the truth is they describe very different concepts. 

Karmic couples are drawn to each other, but the bond they share is ultimately unhealthy. These relationships rarely last, but they can be opportunities for growth. 

Twin flames also share a deep connection and may feel like they’re two halves of the same soul. Many twin flame couples have similar pasts and shared experiences that bring them closer together. When comparing a karmic relationship vs twin flame connection, it’s important to remember that passion is never an excuse for toxic behavior. 

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between karmic and twin flame relationships. It is possible to find a way to move past relationship patterns that are destructive and develop connections that are mutually rewarding and fulfilling. 

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Defining the Two

When someone meets a karmic partner, they may feel like they’ve found their twin flame. At the start, both types of relationships involve intense attraction and instant connection. Understanding the similarities and differences between the two is crucial to make sense of your relationship dynamic. 

What is a karmic relationship?

Karmic relationship isn’t a clinical term but describes a phenomenon many therapists have seen. These relationships are deeply passionate, but they can also be volatile and hard to maintain. A karmic relationship can be an emotional rollercoaster characterized by exhilarating highs and devastating lows. 

People who wind up in karmic relationships often describe experiencing a magnetic attraction to each other. The intensity of their connection can make it hard to recognize flaws in the relationship. Arguments and conflict plague these relationships, and both parties may feel like the relationship could end at any time. 

Since karmic relationships tend to be unstable, they’re usually short-lived. That said, it’s widely accepted that despite the harm, karmic relationships have great potential for enlightenment and personal growth. 

What is a twin flame?

The term “twin flame” was coined in the 1970s, but the idea of twin souls can be traced back much further. Throughout history, many religions have believed in the concept of shared souls. While there’s no scientific research on twin flames, it’s a term frequently used by relationship experts. 

Like a karmic relationship, people who are twin flames feel strongly connected. However, this connection is usually rooted in similarities and shared experiences. So when people meet their twin flame for the first time, they may feel they’re meeting another version of themselves. 

“A twin flame can be described 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 on our own. This relationship goes both ways as they are learning from you also.”

Talkspace therapist Dr. Karmen Smith LCSW, DD

The twin flame journey

According to a study from the University of Kansas, building a close romantic relationship can take more than 200 hours of contact. People in true twin flame relationships, though, often describe feeling an immediate deep connection.  

Over time, the pair will learn more about each other. Since twin flames tend to be very similar, getting to know one can make some people more aware of their own faults. The relationship generally offers the possibility for transformation and personal growth. 

While some twin flames ultimately form lasting relationships, others may decide to part ways. Even when a relationship ends in twin flame separation, they often maintain a strong, sometimes lifelong soul connection.  

Differences Between a Karmic Relationship and a Twin Flame

There are some clear similarities when comparing a karmic bond to a twin flame connection, but there are also notable differences. While both relationships can offer short-term happiness, karmic bonds are inherently unhealthy. The karmic relationship is toxic, and because of that, it generally has a built-in expiration date. 

By contrast, though twin flame relationships don’t always last, they can lead to long-lasting intense connections for some couples. True, these relationships can sometimes be challenging (what relationship isn’t?), but they can also be positive and healthy. 

Soulmate vs twin flame vs karmic relationship 

Another term frequently used alongside “twin flame” and “karmic relationship” is “soulmate.” A soulmate is someone you feel a natural affinity toward. Like a twin flame relationship, a soulmate connection can result in a lifelong bond. 

What’s the difference between a karmic vs twin flame vs soulmate relationship? While twin flames tend to be a lot alike, soulmates can be very different. Soulmate partners don’t typically mirror one another, but they do complement each other. 

Each of these relationships can help people grow and heal in their lives, but karmic relationships have a distinct negative aspect and typically don’t last for long. In contrast, a twin flame or soulmate relationship can be very positive. That said, learning to recognize harmful patterns in any romantic relationship is always important.

“As we become aware of all aspects of ourselves, we encounter those characteristics that no longer serve us. These are often called our shadow or insecurities, which are hard to see and can be elusive. These special relationships (twin flame, soulmate, karmic relationships) can come into our lives to help us heal these aspects of ourselves hopefully in the most caring of ways.”

Talkspace therapist Dr. Karmen Smith LCSW DD

Knowing when the relationship gets toxic

Not only is it easy to confuse a karmic relationship vs a twin flame bond, but some unhealthy relationships can be mistaken for deep spiritual connections. It’s not unusual for someone with narcissistic tendencies or abusers to use terms like “twin flame” to justify their bad behavior. 

Romantic obsession can lead to toxic and abusive behavior, which is why you should watch out for toxic relationship red flags, like gaslighting in relationships. Intense feelings aren’t a reason to control someone or treat them poorly. If you’re afraid of your partner or you find yourself making excuses for their behavior, that’s a clear sign of toxicity, and you should learn how to get out of a toxic relationship

You should also look closely at how you and your partner communicate. In a healthy relationship, couples actively listen to each other and feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings. If you feel you have to hide your feelings from your partner, or if they often yell or show hostility when you don’t do what they want, it might be time to seek advice from a professional and learn how to communicate in a relationship

Get Professional Help with Talkspace 

It can be tough to recognize harmful behaviors when you feel deeply connected to someone. If you need help distinguishing between a karmic relationship vs a twin flame connection, or if you have concerns about the dynamics in your relationship, Talkspace can help. 

Whether you want to learn how to fix a broken relationship or you’re ready to leave your partner, therapy or relationship counseling can be an empowering experience. A licensed therapist can provide you with guidance and support so you can safely make changes to your situation. Beyond that, therapy can help you learn more about the behaviors associated with karmic and twin flame dynamics so you can avoid repeating things in the future. 

Talkspace is an online therapy platform that offers a safe, positive, accessible way for people to get the mental health care help they need so they can become the best version of themselves. Create the life and relationships you want with the help of Talkspace — get started today.


  1. Hall JA. How many hours does it take to make a friend? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. 2018;36(4):1278-1296. doi:10.1177/0265407518761225. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0265407518761225. Accessed October 20, 2022. 
  2. Bélanger JJ, Collier KE, Nisa CF, Schumpe BM. Crimes of passion: When romantic obsession leads to abusive relationships. Journal of Personality. 2021;89(6):1159-1175. doi:10.1111/jopy.12642. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33887069/. Accessed October 20, 2022. 

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