There can be a lot of confusion about what it means to be in a soul mate relationship. Too many times I have seen clients remain in unhealthy or even downright abusive relationships because of a strong feeling that this person is their soul mate. 

And it may in fact be a soul mate relationship. Yet there are different perspectives about what it means to be in a soul mate relationship and it can be helpful to consider expanding your definition about the meaning of this type of relationship, especially if you are feeling trapped and miserable.

When we encounter a soul mate in this lifetime there is often an instant or almost immediate sense of connection. The attraction and be intense, can come on suddenly and burn bright. It can be unlike anything we have ever experienced before. There can be a sense of being destined to meet and an intensity to the feelings of love, attraction and passion this person stirs up inside of us. It can feel like this is the person we have been waiting for our entire lives. 

But what if the reality is a far cry from the happily ever after we have been searching for and the relationship actually brings more hurt and misery than happiness and joy?

A hidden danger of the label of ‘soul mate’ is that it can become a reason for remaining in the relationship, no matter the cost to your personal well-being. And if you are there I feel for you. I have been there myself. I wanted to share what I have learned from my own experience as well as from having the honour and privilege to help my clients to connect with their own soul’s wisdom and the messages that are often received around unhappy or unhealthy soul mate relationships. 

A broader perspective of a soul mate relationship is really any relationship with those where we have had previous lifetimes with and often have unfinished karma to work out in this lifetime. 

The ‘Happily Every After Myth’ can do a lot of damage in soul mate relationships. We can meet a soul mate, fall deeply and madly in love and come to believe that this person is the ‘one’ and that we are meant to be together. Perhaps for the rest of our lives.

Yet soul mate relationships may only mean that we were meant to come together for important learning and growth (and not necessarily for ‘happily ever after’). Knowing someone is a soul mate does not actually tell us how long we are meant to come together for in this lifetime.  It may be a brief and intense period, it may be years or decades or for some it may be for a lifetime. All paths are equally valuable in terms of their opportunities for lessons and growth. It is not always up to us to determine is a soul mate is meant to be for a reason, season or lifetime. 

If the relationship is unhealthy and the other person has some serious red flags that they are unwilling or unable to change it can in fact be the case that they may be a true soul mate, and that the healthiest thing for us to do in the end is to leave. I am not talking about the common communication challenges that come up for most couples. When both parties are willing to work on themselves and the relationship, couples counselling can make a world of difference. I am talking about more serious issues that your soul mate is not ready or willing to address. Abusive behaviour in any form, addiction concerns, lack of ability or willingness to invest emotionally in you or the relationship are all examples.  

These types of difficult soul mate relationships provide a rich opportunity for us to choose our own growth. They may teach us to value ourselves and to learn to receive in a relationship as well as to give. They may force us to set better boundaries, to respect ourselves and to do the deeper healing work that has attracted us to unhealthy patterns in relationships. They can teach us that no matter how hard we love someone, we cannot fix them or do their work for them. On a soul level we may be learning a deeper lesson, that we are ok and will survive without them, to love ourselves, and/or we may be rebalancing a karmic debt. 

We have free will and being with a soul mate should not equate to a lifetime of abuse or unhappiness. If you are feeling stuck in an unhealthy relationship seek support to help you to get clear on what you can and what you cannot fix and to do your own deeper healing work to evolve past the attraction to unhealthy or abusive relationships and to heal any old karmic ties that may be keeping you feeling stuck.