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Karma is a term used to describe the universal principle of cause and effect. What we think, do, and say — whether it’s good or bad — leads us to direct effects in our lives. We see this teaching practiced in many different religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and many others. While each person’s beliefs may differ, I see our souls as eternal energy that renews itself after our lifetime. Based on the karma that you’ve accumulated from your past life, you may find yourself in a karmic relationship, which is supposed to teach you a lesson that you need to learn from your past life. 

So, what are karmic relationships? Karmic relationships can be found at home, in the workplace, and in romantic adventures. The karmic relationship can be good or bad, depending on the issues that you need to work on. These relationships will act as a mirror for you to see a reflection of your current self. It’ll show you the good and the ugly as an impartial third party. While karmic relationships will be inherently difficult for you, it’s important to remember that they provide opportunities for growth. Here are a few signs that you’re in a karmic relationship:


Their presence feels familiar to you

Even from the first time you meet, you’ll feel as if you’re experiencing a bout of déjà vu. “They reflect a soul connection from a past life,” says Suber.

You have ended your relationship with this person multiple times, yet for some reason you still see them

Karmic relationships will be on and off. No matter how many times you have ended the relationship, you still find yourself in the same situation. It is a constant rendition of the same relationship that is going to continue until you’re genuinely ready to break the cycle. While it may be hard to decide to leave, it’s important to note that these relationships aren’t meant to last forever.

There are major highs and lows in the relationship

When the relationship starts again, you feel great. You might even wonder why you ended things the last time. It goes on smoothly for a week or a month, and then some sort of situation unfolds. Suddenly one of you is unhappy, emotional, angry, triggered by your partner’s actions. This response can seemingly come out of nowhere, but it may be a reaction based on past traumas.

It will resemble a codependent relationship

One key characteristic in karmic relationships is an addictive feeling towards that person in order to keep the relationship alive. Even with all of the red flags, your thoughts tend to be consumed by the relationship instead of focusing on more productive things in your life.

As for my own experience with karmic relationships, I’ve had one that was pretty prominent in my life. We had met on Tinder about two years ago and had set up to meet at a local cafe. From first impressions, he had a comfortable presence and we were able to converse as if we had known each other for years. After, we began to see each other casually — meeting up mainly for a movie and a cuddle. We didn’t pursue any seriously romantic pursuits as we mutually agreed that we couldn’t see ourselves dating each other. It got to a point where we would be spending every other night in the each other’s arms (see above, codependency.) Things naturally drifted off within a few months.

A year after I had experienced my first long term relationship with another partner, we started seeing each other again. He had casually hit me up and we started another cycle of spending nights together. It wasn’t unusual for us to discuss other love interests in our lives. I had a few other men I was talking to and he had a one-sided love with a friend of his. Looking back I find this pretty unusual, but in the pursuit of comfort and companionship, we supported each other with outer romantic relationships. 

During one of the nights of our “on” phase of the relationship, we got into a pretty unnerving argument. I’ll save you the nitty-gritty details, but we ended up deciding to part ways, and I left hot-headed and emotional. The negative energy that I left with that day stayed with me for quite some time. I had a hard time letting it go and I blamed myself for not working it out. The on and off nature of our relationship wasn’t healthy for me or for him. Even through this experience, it only took one message from him for us to start it all up again. Then surprise surprise, just like clockwork, within a month it was over again. 

As you can see, karmic relationships are an endless cycle of reuniting. Even as I was writing this article, he messaged me again. Trust me, I know it’s hard to let go. Ultimately, though, you’ll know when you’re ready to move on. If you’re even reading this you’re probably close to that point. Find the lesson that you need to learn and break the cycle. I know you want to, and I know you can.

Michelle Phuong was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is currently attending the University of Utah to pursue a degree in graphic design. Painting and photography are her two favorite art mediums. Other things that she loves are thrift store shopping, pasta, and learning how to become in tune with her spirituality. Her experiences traveling to different countries has helped her expand her knowledge on how culture influences beauty and fashion.
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