Karmic Relationships – What Is a Karmic Relationship Defined

If you’ve ever felt a strange sense of déjà vu when you’re with someone that you can’t quite explain, you may feel like you’re in a karmic relationship. A karmic relationship is defined as a relationship that brings to light issues from another lifetime, Breeshia Wade, a grief counselor and author of the upcoming book Grieving While Black, explains. The belief behind karmic relationships is that “they reflect a soul connection from a past life with the understanding that there’s still some unfinished business that needs to happen in this life,” adds Samora Suber, relationship expert.

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First, a little background.

The idea of karmic relationships comes from Hinduism and Buddhism, as Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, a psychologist and trauma specialist explains. And while the word “karma” when used colloquially (like saying “karma is a bitch”) often leads to a negative interpretation of the meaning, it’s important to remember that the actual meaning of karma is meant to be seen as strictly impartial, Bais adds.

This is important context to have as karmic relationships are not inherently negative, positive, romantic, or platonic, but more about the unresolved issues (meaning whether you wind up with the person forever or not, you’re in for a ride) from a past life. What those issues are will differ from person to person. Another thing to keep in mind: “Not all who practice this [Hinduism] believe in today’s understanding of karmic relationships, which is oversimplified.” says Lacresha Hayes, a mystic and healer.

If you’re wondering if you’re in a karmic relationship right now or you’ve had one in the past or want to know what to look for in the future, we’ll explain karmic relationships with the help of some experts.

What is a karmic relationship?

“A Karmic relationship essentially serves as a mirror,” as Bais explains. This means it can be both good or bad depending on whatever issues the relationship is meant to teach you. And while you can also believe your karmic relationship partner is your soulmate, you’ll likely need to face some challenges together in order for it to be considered a true karmic relationship. Why? Karmic relationships are not all sunshine and roses, as Shasta Townsend, a sex and relationship expert explains. Instead, she adds, these relationships are the ones that reveal all your “stuff” (ie. any traumas or issues you need to work out in order to become a better version of yourself) as well as reflecting your greatness.

How do you know if you’re in a karmic relationship?

You’re likely to feel very strong feelings for one another, whether those are good or bad. You might feel like you’ve known this person your whole life despite only really meeting them very recently, Suber says. You might also experience déjà vu together, have emotional memories or ties that seem to pre-date the current relationship, have difficulties relating to one another that seem to pop up randomly over seemingly nothing, and experience mental and emotional pain at the thought of letting your partner go, matched only by the pain of staying, Hayes adds.

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On the flip side, if you feel super strongly about them but in a negative way, that could also be a sign it’s a karmic relationship, according to Bais. “You can absolutely have utter panic and hatred for someone who did nothing to you,” she says, adding that “if it is a very strong reaction and you can ascertain it is not triggering past trauma from this life, it’s very likely a karmic relationship.” Sometimes your gut does know best.

Another sign of a karmic relationship is the intensity. Bais explains that while in a karmic relationship, “you are also likely to go deep and go high with both gut wrenching, euphoric highs that outdo any past relationships and the lessons they impart.”

Is just really, really strong initial attraction to someone considered a sign of a karmic relationship?

While that initial strong feeling is definitely a commonality in identifying karmic relationships, it’s not as simple as super strong attraction one way or the other = karmic. “People often believe that strong attraction is a karmic attraction, but that’s not always the case,” Hayes says. “In Hinduism, karma is seen as a tool of learning and evolution.”

How does a karmic relationship differ from any other intense kind of relationship?

The biggest difference between a karmic relationship and any other intense relationship is the feeling of powerlessness, Hayes explains. When in a karmic relationship, you might feel like your partner is quite literally a piece of your own soul, which understandably, would make ending things seem very difficult. If your body or soul senses this other person is part of you, your internal self preservation would make it damn near impossible to walk away from them.

While ending a karmic relationship may be difficult, there’s the motivating factor that you need to move on so badly that your soul is trying to teach you a lesson from another lifetime. Karmic relationships are “notoriously hard to end or ‘get rid of’ unless the karmic lesson is learned,” Bais explains.

If you’ve had intense relationships in the past, compare them with the relationship you think may be karmic and see how they differ. In most non-karmic but still intense relationships, you might stay together because of ego, pride, neediness, and codependency (on either partner’s part), Hayes says. Whereas with karmic relationships, it’s much deeper, so usually a person who has previously never struggled with codependency would begin to experience that within the relationship.


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