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Why Soul Ties Hold You Back and How to Move Forward Towards True Love

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Summary: Single and can’t figure out why? Soul ties might be the unexpected reason that’s blocking your happiness. Discover how to tell and (finally) break free.

If there’s one thing social media does well, it sets obscure topics ablaze. And the one currently trending on TikTok? Soul ties.

This concept, shrouded in mystery and tinged with a touch of the metaphysical, has sparked endless questions and ignited curiosity. But beyond the online buzz lies a deeper truth: soul ties can have a huge impact on your relationships and personal growth. 

And when you start to understand this complex bond, you’ll learn to identify whether it’s good or bad for you and take the steps to open yourself up to the possibility of a fulfilling, lasting love.

What Are Soul Ties?

Soul ties are profound, spiritual connections between you and another person. Oftentimes, you feel an unexplainable bond, like your hearts are intertwined, and separation seems impossible.

Dr. Laura Berman, a well-known relationship therapist and trainer of Mindvalley’s Quantum Love: The Blueprint for Extraordinary Relationships Quest, explains that in quantum physics, matching someone or something else’s energetic frequency is called entrainment.

Our bodies,” she says, “hold an energetic frequency that is affected by and affecting everyone and everything around us.”

They can be positive and create profound relationships that foster empathy, understanding, and mutual support. It’s like Noah and Ally from The Notebook. Or even the kinship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Harry Potter series.

However, where there’s a positive, there must be a negative—and soul ties, as social media points out, can lean toward the dark side when the relationship becomes imbalanced or unhealthy. Unresolved conflict, emotional manipulation, or even sudden endings can create a tangled mess in the energetic cord.

Think Star Wars’ Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, for instance, or Black Swan’s Nina Sayers and her rival ballerina Lily.

How are soul ties formed?

These energetic connections can arise from romantic relationships, close friendships, familial bonds, or even brief but powerful encounters.

But what causes soul ties? Think back to a profound life event you shared with someone. Or a time when you were able to be vulnerable and open in ways you’d never been before. These moments create emotional imprints, binding you to the person who shared those experiences with you.

Positive soul ties can stem from deep love, shared experiences, or profound moments of intimacy. The negative ones, on the other hand, can come from experiences like trauma, codependency, or even intense arguments.

But what these ties are a reflection of is the human need for connection and belonging—an innate desire to be understood and valued.

Soul ties vs. twin flames

Both are about deep connections between two people. However, the soul ties meaning is distinct from that of twin flames. Here’s where they differ:

Soul TiesTwin Flames
NatureEnergetic connection formed through shared experiencesTwo halves of one soul reunited
Number of ConnectionsCan have multiple soul ties throughout lifeBelieved to have only one twin flame
IntensityVaries depending on the relationshipExtremely intense and transformative
PurposeCan be for growth, learning, or even karmic balanceTo help each other reach their highest potential
Relationship DynamicCan be romantic, platonic, or familialTypically romantic, with a strong spiritual component
Healthy vs. UnhealthyBoth healthy and toxic soul ties existBelieve to be a divinely ordained connection (healthy)

In essence, soul ties are more about shared experiences and emotional bonds. Twin flames, on the other hand, are a more spiritual concept with a deeper soul connection.

The Dangers of Having a Soul Tie

Toxic ties cost us, and they cost us big time,” says Katherine Woodward Thomas, a licensed marriage and family therapist, best-selling author, and trainer of Mindvalley’s Conscious Uncoupling Quest. 

Here’s how this kind of energetic bond can hold you back:

  • You feel emotionally drained after interacting with someone you have a negative connection with. This emotional drain can stem from unresolved issues or energetic imbalances within the connection.
  • You feel stuck in the past. You might find yourself constantly comparing new partners to your ex or feeling unable to fully detach and invest in the present. And this can make it difficult to move forward and create new, healthy relationships. 
  • You feel an unhealthy dependence on the other person for emotional support or validation, much like a karmic relationship that no longer serves you. This codependency can hinder your personal growth and prevent you from developing healthy boundaries in other relationships.
  • You feel like you’ve lost your identity and lost sight of your own desires and needs, becoming overly focused on the other person. This can lead to a struggle to define yourself outside of the relationship.
  • You feel negatively influenced. Sometimes, soul ties can be formed with people who exhibit unhealthy behaviors or harbor negativity. This negativity can seep into your own energy field, affecting your thoughts, emotions, and actions.

These are just some potential dangers; not everyone experiences negative effects from this kind of spiritual connection. However, if you find yourself resonating with these points, it might be a sign that you have some soul ties to address and release for your own emotional well-being.

10 Signs You Have a Soul Tie

Here are some key indicators on how to know if you have soul ties or not:

  1. Intense emotional connection, one that goes beyond the surface level. It’s like you understand each other without words.
  1. Difficulty moving on after a relationship ends, or you constantly think about the person.
  1. Inexplicable mood swings because your emotions seem tied to this person. Their highs and lows dramatically affect you, even when they’re not around.
  1. Frequent dreams or thoughts appear about them throughout the day, even in mundane moments.
  1. Sense of familiarity right from the start, like a soulmate. It’s as if you’ve known them for a long time.
  1. Telepathic feelings, where you can sense their emotions or thoughts.
  1. Physical responses like heart racing, butterflies in your stomach, or a sense of calmness triggered by their presence or even the thought of them.
  1. Impact on decision-making. Their opinions and thoughts significantly influence your decisions, sometimes even more than your own.
  1. Shared pain or joy as if it were your own, showing a deep empathetic connection.
  1. Reluctance to form new relationships, as if a part of you is still tied to them.
Signs you have a soul tie

Recognizing these signs can help you understand the nature of your connections, whether they’re positive or negative.

How to Break From a Soul Tie: 5 Steps You Can Take to Heal & Move On

If you suspect you have a soul tie that’s holding you back, particularly a toxic relationship, there are steps you can take to release it and move forward. 

If you are operating under the illusion that you can continue to hold on to people who you know are not good for you and still create an extraordinary life filled with love and fulfillment, then you are fooling yourself. —… Share on X

Here are a few ways to break from a soul tie:

1. Acknowledge and accept

The first step to any kind of recovery is acknowledging there’s a problem.

That doesn’t mean dwelling on the past, though. Rather, it’s recognizing that there’s an energetic cord between you and that other person, and it’s impacting your present for the worse. It’s much like seeing a weed in your garden; you can choose to remove it and make space for beautiful new flowers.

As Katherine advises, “Until you are able to see yourself living the life that you truly want, it will be difficult for you to create it.”

2. Forgive and release

Anger, resentment, or guilt—these are things that can keep the soul tie tethered. That’s why forgiveness is such a powerful action.

What’s more, studies have found that it leads to a decrease in anger, anxiety, and depression while also fostering feelings of compassion and well-being. 

Katherine suggests noticing the judgments that you’ve had towards yourself and your former partner. Notice if the things you thought were supposed to go differently from how they actually have gone. Now, she adds, “See if you can make conscious the standards to which you’ve been holding yourself and others accountable.”

By letting go of all that negativity, you weaken the energetic hold of the soul tie and free yourself to create healthier emotional connections.

3. Cut the cord (using visualization)

Visualization is powerful because it allows you to train your mind to see and experience desired outcomes, influencing your thoughts, emotions, and even your energetic state.

Dr. Berman explains, “When you imagine things as if they’re happening right here, right now, in this present moment, in first person, your brain and your body cannot tell the difference between reality and rehearsal.”

So first, find a quiet space where you can relax and close your eyes. And then, imagine yourself cutting the energetic cord connecting you to the other person. You can visualize a white light severing the connection, or picture yourself detaching with love and compassion.

4. Set boundaries

A boundary is where you end and another person begins,” explains Neelam Verma, the founder of Integrity Dating and trainer of Mindvalley’s Finding Love with Integrity Dating Quest. So if you still have contact with the person, establishing clear ones is crucial. 

What ways can you do so?

Limiting your communication to specific times or topics is one way. You can also establish physical boundaries, like avoiding certain places you know they frequent. On social media, consider unfollowing or even blocking them if necessary.

Remember, boundaries are about protecting your emotional well-being, and you have the right to say no to interactions that drain your energy.

5. Self-care practices

The process of getting over someone you love also means focusing on nurturing your well-being. Taking care of yourself strengthens your own energy field and helps you detach from unhealthy connections.

Focus on self-love and activities that nurture your well-being through meditation, journaling, spending time in nature, or pursuing hobbies you enjoy.

Neelam also suggests affirmations and mantras, which are great ways to reprogram your subconscious mind and break free from negative patterns associated with the soul tie. Here are a few mantras she shares on her Mindvalley Quest:

  • My heart is open to giving and receiving love.
  • I’m ready to surrender to a lover who will truly see me and love me.
  • I’m deeply connected to my feelings, and I express them freely. 
  • I choose to honor myself mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually.
  • I love myself completely. I am divine. I am worthy of love.
A couple with soul ties sitting on a couch

Frequently Asked Questions About Soul Ties

The world of soul ties is multifaceted, so it’s common that there’ll be some lingering questions. Explore these frequently asked questions to help you better navigate them on your journey towards healthier connections.

Are soul ties real?

The concept of energetic connections between souls is a core belief in some spiritual traditions. It’s a way to explain karmic lessons, past-life connections, or the deep bonds you form with other individuals.

Scientifically speaking, however, there’s no concrete evidence to prove the existence of soul ties as energetic connections. With that being said, there are related concepts like mirror neurons, limbic resonance, and attachment theory that may offer scientific insights to understand the emotional experiences associated with soul ties.

What are the types of soul ties?

There aren’t any universally agreed-upon categories. However, the following four are commonly discussed types of soul ties:

  • Romantic that’s formed through intense emotional bonds in romantic relationships. These can be positive (like soulmates) or negative (toxic exes you can’t seem to let go of). For instance, Marshall and Lily in How I Met Your Mother.
  • Platonic, which are deep connections with friends or family members that go beyond the typical. These can be incredibly supportive, but can also become imbalanced if boundaries aren’t maintained. This is like Lorelai and Rory in Gilmore Girls.
  • Karmic, which is believed to be related to past-life experiences or lessons. These connections can be challenging, but offer opportunities for growth and resolution. Charlie and Nicole from the movie Marriage Story are a perfect example.
  • Spiritual that’s formed through shared spiritual beliefs or practices. These can be uplifting and provide a sense of belonging to a like-minded community. One example is Joe Gardner and 22 in Pixar’s Soul.

Can you have a soul tie with a friend?

Most definitely. You can share a deep emotional connection with anyone, and that includes friends.

These bonds can be incredibly supportive and enriching. But keep in mind that unhealthy friendships can also drain your energy.

So pay attention to how you feel after you interact with friends—with healthy soul ties, you feel uplifted; with toxic ones, you might feel depleted.

Find Your Spiritual Superpower

Social media may help bring awareness to soul ties and such. But if you want to know how to navigate these connections and cultivate healthier relationships, Katherine Woodward Thomas, a world-renowned relationship expert, offers a powerful program called Conscious Uncoupling on Mindvalley. 

Under her guidance, it can equip you with the tools to release unhealthy soul ties, heal from past relationships, and attract fulfilling connections that support your emotional well-being.

Welcome in.

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Written by

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Picture of Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman

Tatiana Azman is the SEO content editor for Mindvalley and a certified life coach. She brings a wealth of experience in writing and storytelling to her work, honed through her background in journalism. Drawing on her years in spa and wellness and having gone through a cancer experience, she's constantly on the lookout for natural, effective ways that help with one's overall well-being.
Dr. Laura Berman, renowned sex and relationship therapist
Expertise by

Dr. Laura Berman is a renowned sex and relationship therapist recognized worldwide. Featured on shows like Good Morning America and The Oprah Show and in publications such as Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, she has dedicated her career to enhancing sexual health and relationships.

Dr. Berman has now developed Quantum Love, a novel approach to relationship therapy that uniquely does not require the involvement of both partners. This method combines her extensive experience with a practical application of Quantum Physics, aiming to help individuals achieve transformative love and lasting passion.

Dr. Berman’s innovative therapy provides tools for life-changing relationships, making her a leading voice in her field.

Neelam Verma, international speaker, media personality, and conscious dating expert
Expertise by

Neelam Verma is an international speaker, media personality, and conscious dating expert. As the first Indian woman to win the Miss Universe Canada title, she has become a prominent TV presenter for networks like CNN, ESPN, and Discovery Channel.

A transformative near-death experience led her on a global quest to study love and happiness with psychologists, monks, and shamanic healers. This journey inspired her to create Integrity Dating, a global movement dedicated to helping people find genuine love through authenticity and integrity.

Her work empowers individuals to seek relationships that are rooted in true self-expression and emotional honesty.

Katherine Woodward Thomas, a New York Times best-selling author and licensed therapist
Expertise by

Katherine Woodward Thomas is a The New York Times best-selling author and licensed therapist known for creating the transformative “Conscious Uncoupling” process after her own amicable separation. This approach, which helped celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, guides individuals through a respectful breakup and co-parenting with grace.

Katherine also developed the “Calling in ‘The One'” process, inspired by her journey to find love over 40, which focuses on breaking down barriers to love and aligning oneself with the intention of finding a committed relationship. Her methods have empowered thousands worldwide to heal from breakups and attract meaningful relationships, making her a celebrated teacher in personal development and relationship healing.

How we reviewed this article
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Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.

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Fact-Checking: Our Process

Mindvalley is committed to providing reliable and trustworthy content. 

We rely heavily on evidence-based sources, including peer-reviewed studies and insights from recognized experts in various personal growth fields. Our goal is to keep the information we share both current and factual. 

The Mindvalley fact-checking guidelines are based on:

To learn more about our dedication to reliable reporting, you can read our detailed editorial standards.