A relationship can develop in a myriad of ways. For some couples, a connection slowly builds over time, growing deeper and more meaningful each day; for others, a strong, powerful bond can set in almost instantaneously, and, on occasion, be a watershed moment in your own personal development. In today’s world, there’s a name for the latter: a soul tie.
What Is a Soul Tie?
A soul tie is an intense spiritual connection between two people that results in a mutual learning experience.
The concept of a soul tie has gained steam on TikTok and among the Gen Z population, who are increasingly looking outside the bounds of organized religion for answers to life’s big questions. “The human mind consciously and unconsciously strives for feelings of safety and meaning by gravitating toward constructs that give shape and perceived understanding,” says relationship expert Megan Weks. “Younger generations are turning to spiritual concepts to find that meaning in their lives.”
Relationship coach John Ryan De Oca feels this is especially true in light of the pandemic. “Socially, we’re at a point of spiritual awakening,” he says. “COVID [has made us realize] how connected we all are.”
Meet the Expert
So, how do soul ties factor into the moment? Ahead, Weks and De Oca help us unravel this trending topic and offer sage advice on how to productively and safely explore a soul tie bond without inviting unnecessary pain and anguish.
How Does a Soul Tie Compare to a Twin Flame and Other Kinds of Love?
De Oca views the term “soul tie” as an umbrella term for other trending relationship concepts. “A soulmate is a kind of soul tie, and a twin flame is a kind of soul tie,” he explains. “These are [all] spiritual agreements that we were going to meet in this world to do some kind of work, though we don’t always know what that work is going to look like.”
This makes sense: If the crux of a soul tie connection is that it provides a learning experience, then the connection can manifest in many different ways. A soul tie connection can be romantic or platonic, and it can last decades or weeks. It can be a person you encounter only once, or someone you return to again and again throughout your life.
As in twin flame and soulmate relationships, a soul tie bond can definitely be intensified through sex, but sex doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of the equation. If you feel a deep connection with someone and their presence in your life has lead you to new insight, then your connection with that person could be a soul tie connection. “These relationships are here to cause growth,” De Oca adds. “Any kind of soul tie is causing you to grow.”
Signs You’ve Found a Soul Tie
“A soul tie connection may be good or bad, but the telltale sign [that you've found a soul tie] is there is an unusual intensity felt between one or both parties involved,” says Weks. In the healthiest soul tie connections, there is a sense of deep familiarity and profound comfort. In more toxic situations, you may find yourself drawn back to a person time and time again despite not feeling entirely fulfilled by the relationship or it presenting obstacles to advancement in other areas of your life. Because both the good and bad scenarios can present a learning experience, both can be considered soul tie connections.
Negatives of a Soul Tie
It’s important to be wary of any concept or feeling that leads you to disregard red flags in a relationship, or that can be easily used as an excuse to continue interacting with someone who does not bring a positive influence into your life. “These kinds of spiritual labels can steer a person down a road toward toxic or emotionally harmful situations and cause them to remain in the situation for longer than necessary,” says Weks.
Placing too much emphasis on a perceived soul tie connection can also lead to a heightened sense of disappointment if your relationship with that person comes to an end. “When we believe someone was ‘meant to be’ in our lives and then we lose them, this editorialization can [cause] tremendous pain,” Weks adds.
It's also important to remember that a soul tie bond can distract from work you should be doing on yourself. “When we’re too focused on someone else, we’re running from ourselves,” says De Oca. No matter how intense your perceived bond with another person may feel, it should never stand in place of personal fulfillment, and it should not be used as a reason to inflate the importance of a more casual dalliance. “While adopting spiritual practices can offer serenity and guidance, [we need] zero additional encouragement when it comes to making meaning out of hookup interactions,” says Weks.
How to Break a Soul Tie
No magic spells or mystical incantations necessary here, just an affirmation of your worth as a person and the respect we all deserve in relationships. While terms such as “soul tie” and “twin flame” might imply a connection is predestined or too powerful to be ignored, you should never allow that, or anything else, to minimize the agency you have in your own life and in the choices you make. “Keep your boundaries and standards high for who you allow in your life,” says Weks. “If they aren’t working toward a common goal that feels good to you or they are actually taking away from a goal you have for yourself, it’s a sign to stop engaging. Keep this in mind: Healthy relationships should, for the most part, offer peace in our lives—not confusion, fear and instability.”
What’s also important to keep in mind: not every relationship, especially those rooted in romance and sex, has to be in your life forever. “It’s important to honor the experience of experience, of going out there and falling in love with different people, especially before we’re ready to commit to someone in the long term,” De Oca says. By maintaining a healthy perspective, you’ll be able to better absorb the lesson offered by your perceived soul tie connection, and then move on when the connection no longer serves you.