Are you in a karmic relationship? These are the 5 signs to look out for

Relationship experts reveal the 5 signs you are in a karmic relationship and whether they can really last

Shadow silouhette of man and woman kissing, representing the 5 signs you are in a karmic relationship
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There are so many different types of relationships out there, with a karmic relationship being just one of them. While everyone's relationship works differently, it's important to be aware of the possible impact of karmic relationships on your mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Karmic relationships are related to the idea of karma, the principle of cause and effect as described in some religions, as they are considered to be necessary relationships for personal growth. But that, unfortunately, means we can outgrow them and sometimes that growth doesn't come easily. 

Here, woman&home speaks to two certified relationship experts to reveal what you need to know about karmic relationships, their positives and negatives, and ultimately the signs that you're in one yourself. Whether you're struggling with identifying the signs of a toxic relationship or you're looking to learn how to revive romance in a relationship, we've got you covered. 

What is a karmic relationship?

A karmic relationship is a partnership that serves as a catalyst for personal growth and self-awareness, explains Nia Williams, a qualified life coach and therapist. "They often present us with challenges and lessons that help us understand ourselves better, heal past wounds, and transform negative patterns or behaviors. By going through these experiences, we have an opportunity to evolve and develop spiritually, gaining wisdom and maturity in the process," she says. 

However, there's no such thing as flowers without rain. While karmic relationships can be positive, they can also be challenging and tumultuous, says Williams, who is also the founder of Miss Date Doctor. "These relationships can be marked by very intense emotions, conflicts, and repetitive patterns. They may trigger unresolved traumas or deep-seated issues, leading to emotional pain, confusion, and even toxicity." 

The idea of a karmic relationship isn't universally accepted or proven by science, warns Jessica Alderson, a fellow relationship expert who specializes in personality-based connections. "It's based on spiritual beliefs so some people find it helpful to understand and navigate their relationships, while others may interpret their connections differently." 

Woman sitting in the bath alone, looking out of the window thinking

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If you're looking to understand more about these important partnerships and, importantly, whether you could be in one, take a look at the five signs you are in a karmic relationship:

Signs you're in a karmic relationship

1. Intense and immediate connection

Those in karmic relationships often find the connection with their partner to be immediate and intense, which in turn is one of the many red flags in a relationship. Sure, everyone wants to feel a 'spark' with someone, but this is much more intense.

"There is often an intense, almost electric kind of feeling and connection right from the start," says Williams. "This strong bond can be both exhilarating and overwhelming, making it hard to resist the pull toward the other person," explains Williams. 

2. Repetitive patterns of behavior

However, as much as karmic relationships start with passion, they can soon become repetitive - especially when it comes to the issues in a relationship. 

"Karmic relationships tend to involve repetitive patterns or themes that surface throughout your time together," says Williams. "These patterns can manifest as recurring conflicts, emotional triggers, or unresolved issues that both partners need to address and heal in their lives." 

For example, if you've established a clear boundary - like asking your partner to maturely communicate with you during disagreements rather than leaving - and they've ignored it, this is likely to become a repetitive problem as the relationship continues. 

3. Emotional turmoil

This is perhaps the most notable sign of a karmic relationship and one that really shouldn't be overlooked. "These relationships can be emotionally intense and they are often accompanied by extreme highs and lows," says Alderson, who is also the founder of SoSynced, one of the best dating apps for relationships

Without the emotional intensity that comes with these relationships and the lessons you learn through them, like what you actually want from a long-term partner, we would likely continue in life without ever truly addressing the issues holding us back, she says. 

And for this reason, while karmic relationships can be challenging in many ways, they can push us to reach our potential and help us make the most out of life. 

4. You push each other's buttons

Naturally, as karmic relationships tend to be passionate - both in and out of the bedroom - partners really know what makes the other one happy and confident, or annoyed and anxious. If your partner knows the buttons to push to get a certain reaction from you and frequently presses down hard, it could be a sign you're in a karmic relationship. 

It could also be one of the signs your relationship is over. After all, who wants to remain in constant conflict? 

"When our buttons are pushed in a relationship, it can prompt us to look within and reflect on why we are reacting so strongly. It invites us to examine our beliefs, emotions, and behavioral patterns that contribute to our triggered responses," says Alderson. "This self-reflection leads to increased self-awareness and the triggers highlight areas where we are carrying emotional pain or unresolved energies. By mindfully responding to these triggers, we have the opportunity to heal the wounds, release the associated emotions, and move toward a state of emotional freedom and wellbeing."

View of a couple holding hands after a break up

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5. You learned a lesson when it was over

You may be reading this retrospectively and you may be thinking a long-term relationship of yours in the past was your karmic relationship. The one where you learned some big life lessons.

That's certainly another sign of a karmic relationship in itself, says Williams. "Karmic relationships often come with profound life lessons," she says. "Both individuals may find themselves confronted with aspects of their personalities or past traumas that require healing and growth. These lessons are meant to help each person evolve and move forward on their spiritual path." 

Can karmic relationships last? 

There's no reason why karmic relationships can't last. It all depends on whether you and your partner are prepared to learn how to overcome relationship issues. If both partners approach the problems with an open mind, have an honest conversation, learn to build trust in the relationship again, and seek professional help when needed, there's no reason why it can't stand the test of time. 

"The intensity of this type of relationship often results from a unique mix of passion and familiarity," says Alderson, which can be a positive thing. However, she warns, "As a result, the couple may feel compelled to remain in the relationship even if it isn't healthy." 

When to walk away

  • If there is constant turmoil and emotional pain: "Constant emotional distress and negative emotions can be so detrimental to one's wellbeing and personal growth," says Williams, so this should be one of the deal breakers in a relationship
  • If there is a lack of growth: "If the relationship remains stagnant, with no growth or positive change occurring over an extended period, it may indicate that the karmic lessons have been exhausted or that the relationship is no longer serving its purpose," says Williams. 
  • If the dynamic is unbalanced: "A karmic relationship may exhibit power struggles, co-dependency, or a lack of mutual respect and support," she says. "If the relationship consistently lacks balance and healthy dynamics, it can really hinder personal development and be emotionally draining."
Grace Walsh
Health Channel Editor

Grace Walsh is woman&home's Health Channel Editor, working across the areas of fitness, nutrition, sleep, mental health, relationships, and sex. She is also a qualified fitness instructor. In 2024, she will be taking on her second marathon in Rome, cycling from Manchester to London (350km) for charity, and qualifying as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach. 

A digital journalist with over six years experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace has covered (almost) everything in the world of health and wellbeing with bylines in Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more.