Have you ever met someone whose presence in your life just made sense? Maybe it was an instantaneous attraction, or maybe things clicked after you formed an extremely deep connection. Either way, if you've ever felt an invisible string pulling you toward someone, it's possible you've encountered a soul tie.
A soul tie is a type of spiritual connection that relationship expert and matchmaker Sameera Sullivan describes as the "knitting together" of two souls. They can develop via a physical, spiritual, social, or emotional bond, and it typically happens more in romantic relationships than platonic ones.
Not every person you've dated qualifies as a soul tie - no matter how in love you may have been. Because here's the thing about soul ties: they're so intense that the feeling may be unlike anything you've ever experienced - in a good or bad way. We spoke with experts to explore what this rare connection is and what it means when you've found someone who could be a soul tie.
Related: 25 Signs You've Found Your Soul Mate
What Is a Soul Tie, and How Are Soul Ties Formed?
Also called a "spiritual coding," a soul tie can be depicted as two souls linking together through a spiritual or emotional bond, spirituality expert Perry Valentine, founder of healing-crystal store AtPerry's, says. The connection is so deep that it can make you feel like you've known the person forever. (If that sounds like a lot, that's because it is.)
Soul ties are typically formed through a physical, spiritual, social, or emotional connection, which can involve deep conversations and complete openness and vulnerability - but more generally, they blossom after sexual intercourse, certified relationship and life coach Joseph Moore says. It's important to have an emotional connection prior to having sex, but a continuously passionate sex life generally helps the soul tie develop. "Time and sex is how a soul tie is formed," he says.
You may be asking yourself, "OK, but what's the difference between a soul tie is and just plain ol' falling in love?" - which, fair. Normal relationships involve sex, time, and lots of intimacy, but it's the spiritual part that takes a soul tie to a deeper level. It's literally your two souls becoming intertwined beyond the boundaries of falling in love. (Like I said, intense.)
What's the Difference Between a Soulmate, a Soul Tie, and a Twin Flame?
Whereas you only have one soulmate, you can have many soul ties throughout your life. They're both rare to find, but soul ties typically develop differently than do soulmates. Psychologist Ronald Williams says a soulmate is most often formed through an immediate connection. Sure, it's also possible for a soul tie to form instantaneously, but most soul ties develop gradually.
Soulmates are also typically seen in a more positive light. David Bennett, a relationship counselor and owner of Double Trust Dating and Relationships, previously told POPSUGAR that "a soulmate treats you with kindness, generosity, and brings out the best in you." While that can also be true of a soul tie, there can be a toxic side.
Twin flames are similarly intense - and potentially toxic. The biggest difference between a soul tie and a twin flame is that a twin flame can be a best friend, a sibling, or even a child. While it's possible to have a platonic soul tie, it's way more common to form a romantic soul tie, since most of them form after sexual intercourse.
What's the Negative Side to Having a Soul Tie?
Because the connection is so rare, intense, and deep, it's possible for you to develop an unhealthy obsession or extreme attachment with your soul tie, Valentine says. "Some people may even feel incomplete without their soul tie," she says, which, in relationships, can lead to an unhealthy attachment style where boundaries, needs, and wants are not met. In addition, one person can feel the soul-tie connection more than the other. If that happens, "the other person can easily take advantage of it and become toxic or abusive, and oftentimes, the other person can hardly leave," Moore says.
Can You Break a Soul Tie?
Fortunately, it's possible to break a soul tie if it feels unhealthy, but "it takes a lot of self-confidence and determination, meditation, and a willingness to endure pain for a while before time heals the wound of separation from your soul tie," Moore says. This can best be worked out through therapy and journaling to help sort out your feelings. With that said, if there's no inequitable power dynamic or toxicity and you're happy in your soul-tie courtship, there's no need to break it off.
What Are Some Signs You've Met a Soul Tie?
Unfortunately, it's one of those things that's best described as "when you know, you know." However, according to Valentine and Sullivan, there are a few signs that you may have met a soul tie:
You can't stop thinking about them.
You feel connected with them on a deeper level - more so than any other connection you've felt before.
You cannot bear the thought of your relationship ending.
You might feel a physical or subconscious pull leading you to them.
You feel like you've known the person forever.
You feel a sense of familiarity and comfort around them.
You feel like you can let your guard down around them.
You dream about them often.
Ultimately, if you think you've met someone who could be your soul tie, explore it. Don't focus too much on the "signs" or what it's supposed to feel like - when a connection manifests to the level of being a soul tie, it's something you likely won't even have to question.