Soul-Mate Relationships: How to Know if You've Found the One
You've finally met that special someone. It seems like they're your perfect match. They finish your sentences, understand you like no one else, and accept you for who you are. In other words, you just "get" each other.
At this point, you're likely wondering if you're embarking on a soul-mate relationship. It turns out there's no "right" way to define this fairy-tale concept; everyone seems to have their own thoughts about what a soul mate is, and whether such a thing even exists.
We've reached out to two relationship experts to get their take on exactly what a soul mate is, and how to tell if you've met yours.
What is a soul mate?
In the classic love story The Bridge Across Forever, author Richard Bach writes, "A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are."
While there's no official definition of a soul mate, most relationship experts tend to agree that a soul-mate relationship is one that begins with an immediate connection.
"A soul mate is someone who stirs your soul when you meet them, like a kindred spirit," says Nicole Moore, a celebrity love coach and relationship expert. "There is an intensely deep connection that seems to supersede linear time. When you meet this person, you feel like you've known each other before. It's intangible yet entirely clear at the same time."
Many people who believe strongly in soul mates also believe in the concept of reincarnation (that we have lived one or even many past lives). They believe soul mates have met or even been lovers before.
Are soul-mate relationships real?
Many relationship experts believe it's possible to be someone's true soul mate. "I personally believe in the concept of a soul mate because it's something I experienced when I met my husband," Moore says. "We had such a strong connection and rapport from the start that it truly felt as if we had known each other for years. There was a sense of divine timing and being in the right place at the right time."
Other experts, like Jessica Small, a licensed marriage and family therapist with Growing Self Counseling and Coaching, dislike the idea of soul mates or twin flames because it can lead people to wrongly believe that there's only one special person they're destined to be with—and that's a limiting belief.
"I don't believe in soul mates in the traditional sense that there is one person for everyone," she says. "I believe that there are many compatible partners out there for everyone, and that relationships require constant work and intentional effort. I believe that over time and with effort, couples are able to connect on a soul level and feel deeply and wholly known by their life partner."
How do you know if you've found your soul mate?
If you're experiencing this type of deep connection with your partner, you've undoubtedly got a good thing going. Here are three ways to tell whether you might have a soul-mate connection with your partner.
1. Intense feelings
All healthy relationships share some sort of deep connection. But in a soul-mate relationship, Moore says, "There's a deep, heartfelt and otherworldly connection that takes both of you by surprise. It feels destined that the two of you were meant to meet."
2. Transcendence of time and place
Maybe you felt "at home" immediately when you met your partner. Or perhaps you got the sense that you had met them before. These feelings can indicate that you're soul mates. After all, many soul mates believe they existed together in previous lives.
3. Immediate connection
"Intense feelings of connection, familiarity and rapport right upon meeting are a hallmark feature of a soul-mate relationship," Moore says. "You'll know you've found one when it feels like this person was absolutely meant to be someone you met in this life because their presence catalyzes and initiates awareness, change or growth in your life in some way."
How can you enhance your soul-mate relationship?
If you think you've found your soul mate, you probably want to do everything you can to keep the spark alive. Our relationship experts share three tips you can use to ensure you and your partner continue to grow closer.
1. Remember: You'll still have challenges.
"You have to remember that your soul mate is also a human being with fears, triggers and emotions," Moore says. "At some point, it's likely that their inner muck is going to meet with your inner muck and cause issues."
Finding a soul mate, she says, does not preclude you from needing to work on things like communication and intimacy with your partner.
2. Solve issues as they arise.
"For couples in a soul-mate relationship who want to deepen their bond, I recommend practicing a 'clean as you go' policy in your relationship," Moore says. "Whenever fears, negative emotions or irritations come up, it's important to communicate and clear the negative energy in the moment rather than letting it pile up."
3. Cultivate shared interests.
There's truth to the saying, "the couple that plays together stays together." That's because it's important to have fun together. Doing new and interesting things pushes the boundaries of your relationship, and allows you to see one another in a new light.
"To deepen the bond in a relationship, continue to find opportunities for new experiences that allow you to get to know one another even better," Small says.
Can best friends be soul mates?
A soul mate doesn't have to be a romantic partner—it can be a platonic friend, too.
"Similar to romantic relationships, there are people we connect with immediately in a way that feels unexplainable," Small says. "Sometimes, these end up being our soul-mate friendships. But similar to romantic soul mates, they require time and effort to continue to grow strong. We can have many soul-mate friendships if we're willing to be vulnerable and open to it."