Ah soulmates – those fortunate people we believe are meant for each other as if they share a magical mystical connection. Happy couples who seem more compatible and contented in every way. Yet even though romance often comes to mind first, the story of soulmates is much richer. The 4 types of soulmates each play a crucial role in helping us find - and keep - the love we want and deserve.
I believe the purpose of human life is to return to unconditional love. We feel affection and fondness (Storge), friendship (Phileo), and romance (Eros) as we learn how to love unconditionally (Agape) in any circumstance and in any type relationship.
And that’s where soulmates come in. Our soul families are here to help us learn unconditional love. It takes more than romance to fulfill that mission and our soulmates are up to the job taking on whatever human role is needed for our growth. The goal is to help each other awaken and heal so each of us can ultimately re-join with our soul twin. Some of those roles are affectionate – friends, family, lovers, and beloveds of all kinds. Others are painful or unpleasant. Those relationships are more like sandpaper on fine wood, bringing out the beauty and strength of the grain through friction and pain. All are necessary.
Our soulmate families travel with us through time and space, through as many lives as are needed for our awakening. We meet again and again to jointly heal old patterns and issues, ultimately at the soul level. That means that anything needing healing will bubble to the surface in every type of soulmate relationship. Being with a soulmate does not shield us from pain which is a part of being human. In fact, the opposite may be true as those healing needs reveal themselves. Being with a soulmate does, however, give us a means to address those needs.
The relationships we create with soulmates, romantic and otherwise, fall into four main categories, depending upon the role that soul is playing in this particular life.
The 4 Types of Soulmates and the Roles they Play in Our Lives
- Karmic soulmates come together specifically for the purpose of teaching or working out an issue. They may be a soul with whom we have unfinished business or a shared trauma or need. Karmic relationships can come to us as friends, lovers, and family, as enemies and oppressors, or even as people just passing through. How they present is less important than why they present. They are sometimes difficult or challenging, but they don’t have to be. Usually, when a relationship is thorny, it’s because we are ignoring or refusing to acknowledge something in ourselves. When we recognize and accept that piece of wisdom, we can move the relationship into more pleasant territory or simply release it. Sometimes there are hard feelings, but that is also something we are being given the opportunity to work through. Have you ever just clicked with someone only to have the relationship end badly? Maybe you keep having the same “bad” relationship over and over. That’s a clue of a crucial lesson your soul needs and wants to learn. You will keep attracting that lesson, possibly in the form of many similar relationships, until it is understood. Welcoming the lesson will help you complete that healing and move forward.
- All karmic relationships are not unpleasant. It is just as possible to learn something easily and joyfully. The main point of karmic relationships is that they are purpose-driven and when that purpose (teaching, learning) is accomplished they typically end.
- Karmic Soulmates usually do not make good romantic partners, even though the attraction may be strong. That strong attraction (chemistry) sets up expectations, and those expectations create a tendency for karmic relationships to be volatile or fraught with drama. If we understand why they have appeared, we can appreciate them for what they are and not expect something more or different from them.
- Ego Mates come into our lives when we are still concerned with how we look to others and what others think of us. They are sometimes categorized as a sub-type of karmic relationship, but I think their purpose is specific and pervasive enough to warrant their own classification. Navigating them is a normal part of our soul’s evolution.
- Ego Mates are concerned with whether the other person makes them “look” good. Do they do the right things, behave the right ways, go the right places, hang out with the right people, wear the right clothes, live in the right houses, earn enough money, have the right career. Ego mates are easily embarrassed when their mate doesn’t live up to these expectations even in minor ways making these relationships conditional, fragile, and ultimately unsatisfying. It’s as if these mates are forever stuck in junior high navigating the soul equivalent of puberty.
- Ego Mates also do not make good romantic partners, but often find themselves in that role. Ego Mates are emotional vampires. They don’t yet understand the true meaning of complementing one another, so they fret about superficial things and miss out on the deeper connection they long for. Most ego relationships are transitory, coming and going as they make each other feel better about themselves – or don’t. Because Ego Mates are looking outside themselves for fulfillment and do not yet understand that love is an inside job, these relationships are prone to cheating.
- Companion Mates probably come closest to the common view of soulmates. These are souls who have agreed to enjoy a warm and loving long-term relationship. They share lives for a specific reason such as raising children or expanding their own understanding of genuine love. While they are often romantic partners and make excellent romantic partners, they can also be family or close friends. While companion mates do teach, learn, and grow, it is a lovingly shared endeavor.
- Companion Soulmate relationships are enduring, sometimes lasting a lifetime. They are characterized by being mutually respectful, affectionate, intimate, committed, honest, safe, and loving. The key word is “mutual” and they focus on that in times of difficulty, hardship, or conflict. They don’t ignore the natural ups and downs of human relationships, but have agreed to navigate them together. Both are willing to put energy and effort into the relationship as needed to nurture a healthy loving atmosphere.
- Despite the picture painted by faerie tales and movies, companion mates don’t always start with intense emotional or physical passion, though many feel a keen sense of connection when meeting. Their love goes deeper than infatuation and may blossom over time even if each “knew” the other instantly. Unlike Karmic Mates and Ego Mates, they don’t feel threatened by fleeting moments of high or low passion. Instead, they tend to feel steady and stable even in adverse circumstances.
- Even so, it is possible for companion mates to grow apart as each follows his/her individual path. In that case, true companions will allow the partners to lovingly go their separate ways, often remaining friends despite the ending of the relationship.
Twin Flames or Twin Souls
- The popular definition of Twin Souls is this: Your Twin Flame, sometimes called your Soul Twin, is literally the other half of your soul. When souls were originally created, they contained both male and female energy. At some point, each soul was split into male and female components, each whole in and of themselves, going forth separately to gather human experience and individually balance their internal male and female aspects. When you meet your twin flame, you will likely feel a profound sense of coming home, as if you have found yourself. My personal belief is that your Twin Soul is not another person at all. It's you and that sense of homecoming is waking up to realization that your soul twin was within you all along. Think of it this way - we are fond of saying "We are all one" without really thinking about what that means. It means there is only one and you are It. Here is what Ram Dass has to say about soul mates and soul twins.
- Those who ascribe to the popular definition of Twin Flame relationships believe they resemble Companion Soulmate relationships with additional specific attributes. The partners recognize each other as equals and co-creators and treat each other accordingly. They share complementary compatible life goals and their spiritual natures are in sync. The level of comfort they feel with each other is a reflection of the shared sense of homecoming. They create a finely tuned safe zone through their mutual support and encouragement. They esteem each other and believe in the value of each individual while clearly seeing their strength together. They are well on the path of learning the lessons from their past, and are now opening to receive unconditional love. They feel a peaceful, joyful love that is not rooted in infatuation or chemistry. It's a lovely view of the ultimate companion mate.
- Unlike other types of soulmates, Twin Flames do not consciously share multiple lives. In the popular belief, they finally incarnate together when both are nearly ready to “graduate.” Up until that point, they may take turns being human with one remaining in the spirit realm to guide, guard, and assist. When they finally do incarnate together, one may exhibit channeling capabilities, maintaining that direct connection to the spirit realm for the benefit of both. My own belief, as well as that of Rumi, Ram Dass, and other far more evolved beings than I, is that your twin is you, the "You" you have been unaware of, and has been within you all along. That means you have shared every life together, but didn't realize it. Awakening to that truth is the same as discovering your twin and realizing you had the soul connection all along.
- Twin Flames, whether in the form of ultimate companion mates or awakened to Self, often feel called to some kind of spiritual work, though that can be defined quite broadly as direct spiritual work, humanitarian work, or simply bringing the sensibility of spiritual work to whatever work they happen to be doing.
- Anything that still needs healing in either aspect of the Twins, regardless of how you define them, will come up, but there is an underlying sense that they can and will weather it united which provides the security, clarity, and strength to tackle these last lessons even in the bumpiest of times. It is safe for each Twin to go into his/her dark corners and address whatever is lurking, and through that safety, the light will spread throughout both.
Each type of soulmate relationship is essential for ultimate healing. Treasuring them for the unique roles they play helps avoid the sense of victimhood that can arise with healing experiences. Because no matter how “bad” things may appear in a human moment, it is all happening for the benefit of our soul.
Anne Wade is the founder and publisher of The Soulmate Dance. She is a writer, educator, life coach, and lifelong student of soulmate relationships, devoted to expanding our understanding of all types of soulmate relationships and experiences.