What Is a Karmic Relationship?

An expert explains the signs and impacts of this passionate connection.

A couple sits on the couch embracing hands.

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The sparks fly fast—from the moment you meet this person, you are instantly attracted to them. It sounds cliché, but you can’t eat, you can’t sleep; all you can think about is this new person and how perfectly they will fit into your world. You instantly think that they are the one, and you start imagining your new life together. However, this instant, often intoxicating attraction could be the start of a fleeting and reckless karmic relationship.

What Is a Karmic Relationship?

A karmic relationship is a type of romantic relationship that is often unstable and features unbalanced power dynamics. While the relationship likely feels exciting and passionate, and sometimes offers opportunities for important life lessons, it can be equally damaging and you may find yourself inexplicably drawn to this new person and find it hard to give either them or yourself space.

“Karmic relationships are love lessons,” explains Bonnie Winston, a professional matchmaker and relationship expert. “They can be as fulfilling and monumental as long-term partnerships. However, not all relationships are meant to be happily ever after. As Carrie Bradshaw said in Sex and the City, ‘some loves aren’t epic novels, some are short stories,’ but that doesn’t make them any less filled with love and learning.” 

Meet the Expert

Bonnie Winston is a celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert.

Romantic relationships are healthy, balanced, and fulfilling," Winston continues. "Karmic relationships are trying to fix the hurt and trauma we have experienced in this lifetime or the past. We are choosing this person to heal the hurt of what happened in the past perhaps from the predominant parent or partner.” 

Ahead, Winston explains the signs, effects, and purpose of a karmic relationship—and how to end it if you find yourself wrapped up in one.

Signs of a Karmic Relationship

Think you may be in a karmic relationship? This experience can differ from person to person. Luckily, there are some common signs that you may want to watch out for. Here are five karmic relationship signs. 

There’s a lot of drama.

Few relationships are entirely smooth sailing. But with karmic relationships, you can expect continuous turmoil. "There are also a lot of ups and downs like a roller coaster and a general unsettled feeling. It is not smooth sailing or calmness,” says Winston. You may never know where you stand with a karmic relationship and find yourself constantly questioning your partner’s motives. 

You notice red flags.

From controlling behavior to angry outbursts, karmic relationships tend to be filled with red flags. The truth of the matter is that these passionate relationships bring out the worst in people. You may find it hard to control your own actions or start doing things that are entirely out of character. Of course, when a relationship is fractious and difficult, it’s not a healthy situation for either one of you. 

You both become codependent.

Emotions run high when it comes to karmic relationships, however, that may come with a side of codependency. As you start to connect with this new person, you may find it hard to leave them alone. The feeling will likely be mutual. Should you find yourself neglecting your free time and other relationships to constantly see this person, that could be a sign that something is not quite right.

Keep in mind that healthy relationships allow each person in the partnership the time and space they need. 

You don’t communicate well.

Communication is the foundation of any solid relationship. When you’re in a karmic relationship, though, you will struggle to understand each other. Miscommunication is likely to be a common theme throughout your time together. For example, you may argue with your partner about small and seemingly unimportant things. To add insult to injury, you may not know where you stand with this person and find it difficult to read signals from them. 

You argue passionately.

Forget fireworks—arguing with this person is like an atomic bomb going off. These disagreements may come out of the blue and surprise you. Often enough, one or both of you will cross lines during these arguments. Your disagreements could quickly get personal and offensive. Additionally, the disagreement will likely move swiftly from subject to subject, negating the original point. 

Effects of a Karmic Relationship

It's important to keep in mind that a karmic relationship can have an earth-shifting impact on you; you'll want to stay aware of how it could negatively affect your life. Here is what to look out for.

You are drawn in fast.

“One effect of a karmic relationship is that you feel a magnetic pull towards that person—a deep, deep connection right from the onset,” says Winston. From the moment that you meet this new person, you will have the urge to see them constantly. Thinking about them may take over your every waking moment, making it hard to focus on other things, such as your work or your other commitments. 

You may feel addicted to them.

“It has an addictive aspect as well, so you feel that you can’t not pursue the relationship,” shares Winston. As with any addiction, you will find it hard to quit seeing this person. You could quickly forget who you were without them and find it hard to envision a future without them. 

You feel exhausted.

If all of the above sounds tiring, you’re not wrong. By their very nature, karmic relationships can be exhausting. The constant ups and downs of the relationship will have you on your toes from the onset. At times, this dance will keep you going back for more—after all, it’s exciting, new, and dangerous. The longer you stay with this person, though, the more drained you are likely to feel. 

You can’t sustain the relationship.

Here’s the bottom line: Karmic relationships are unsustainable. These partnerships take more than they give. For that reason, staying in this type of relationship can be unwise. The worst-case scenario is that a karmic relationship can impact your mental health and well-being. Should you feel as though the relationship has become toxic and doesn’t serve you, you will need to walk away.

Purpose of a Karmic Relationship

While there are many negatives to a karmic relationship, Winston explains that their purpose is to teach us something new. “They are here to serve us as tutorials for our souls to hopefully be better people and correct past hurts. The theory is that before you two met on this plane, you knew one another from another lifetime and consented to meet again to sort issues out. You can grow or break up.”

How to End a Karmic Relationship

Walking away from any relationship is difficult. The first step here is understanding that you need to let this person go. “You must always break a karmic relationship,” admits Winston. “They are not here for our happiness and never work out, no matter how much effort you put in. That in itself is a lesson to learn as well.”  

The highs and lows of a karmic relationship are what make the concept so intriguing. However, when you’re ready to walk away, they can also make it harder to leave. It’s important to understand that you can have a future without this person in your life. You need to focus on your long-term happiness and, if that means leaving this person, that is a sacrifice you need to make. Of course, if you are finding it difficult to find a way out, it may be worth speaking to a relationship counselor or getting external help from the people around you.

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