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Not All Soulmates Stay Together: Understanding Soul Crossings

Sarah Regan
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
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Every so often, someone comes into your life and sticks around for the long haul—but other times, you might have shorter-lived connections that only last days or weeks at a time.

Just because a relationship doesn't last forever doesn't mean it's not a soul connection, and in fact, "soul crossings" are not uncommon throughout the course of your life and still count as a type of soulmate.

Why soulmates don't always end up together

Soulmates are not just one particular person that you partner up with for the rest of your life. Our soulmates can be platonic friends, family members, and even teachers or mentors. They can also be romantic relationships that are meaningful for a time and then come to an end.

The true function of a soulmate is to connect on a deeper level, transcending the bounds of normal relationships and pushing you to grow on your soul's path. Sometimes that growth can happen in a short amount of time, and the relationship runs its course—but that doesn't mean they aren't a soulmate.

As professional intuitive Tanya Carroll Richardson previously wrote for mindbodygreen, "Even if someone doesn't stay in your life long—like a freelancer who works at your company for nine months whom you become close to until they move to the other side of the country, or a lover you meet on a retreat and four months later they tragically pass—it's still a soul mate."

What are soul crossings?

When we meet someone and feel a profound connection, only for the relationship to quickly fizzle out, it can be confusing and even heartbreaking. This is a telltale sign of a "soul crossing," or as Richardson describes it, the "ships in the night" of soulmate connections.

Soul crossings are a type of soulmate relationship that doesn't last forever but still has a big impact on you and your soul's journey.

"[Soul crossing] is a phrase used to describe someone who comes into your life, but the timing and circumstances are not conducive to a long-term relationship," Richardson explains, adding, "This phenomenon can happen with friends or lovers or colleagues, when for a short amount of time you are thrown together and share amazing experiences and awakenings."

For example, maybe you forge an amazing connection with someone right before they move out of state. In the time you share together, you learn something about yourself or the world, heal in some way, or simply enjoy the sense of kinship you feel with this person in your limited time together. Them moving away does not change the fact that your souls crossed paths and you both changed for the better, though you must both acknowledge that the impending distance will undoubtedly alter the way you're able to be together now.

Signs of a soul crossing

Whether your soul crossing with this person lasted two days or two months, here are some other common signs you might have experienced (or be experiencing) a soul crossing:

  1. The timing isn't right.
  2. There are a lot of life changes happening.
  3. You aren't compatible in a long-term sense, but the relationship is gratifying now.
  4. One of you is going through something challenging.
  5. The relationship becomes toxic once a lesson has been learned.
  6. Logistics keep getting in the way.
  7. One of you outgrows the other.
  8. It feels like the right person at the wrong time.

(For reference, also check out our list of general signs you've met a soulmate.)

How to make the most of this type of soul connection

Not all relationships are meant to be forever, including soulmates, and accepting this fact is the first step to making the most of a soul crossing. As therapist Dennis Nguyen, LCSW, previously told mindbodygreen, there will be more opportunities for different connections with different people in the future. "Life will continue on, and there are plenty of opportunities to date [and] maybe even date this right person when the time is right. Even if this opportunity passes, there will be more," he says. 

And according to both Nguyen and Richardson, rather than dwelling on the impermanence of this connection, focus instead on all it gave you. As Nguyen explains, "Maybe this person prompted you to take a serious look at where you're going in life. That is valuable! The process may have been painful and potentially very necessary."

What matters most in any soul connection is recognizing how the relationship altered who you are at a core level: what it taught you, what it healed in you, and why you cherished it so much. Know that just because the timing wasn't right, there was still a reason for this person being in your life, even if only for a short while.

"You might think of this person fondly for the rest of your life or even consider them a spirit guide," Richardson previously wrote for mindbodygreen, adding, "Soul crossings teach us not to judge the importance or depth of a soulmate by the length of the relationship."


Can soulmates break up and get back together?

Yes, it is possible for any soul connection to experience a break in time or distance, only for both people to come back together when the timing is right (such as in the case of a twin flame separation). However, this is not always the case, and some soulmates are only meant to be together for a short time.

Why do some soulmates not end up together?

Soulmates don't always end up together because these relationships function to encourage our growth, connect on a deeper level, and transcend the bounds of normal relationships. They do not necessitate a "forever relationship."

The takeaway

When we consider the function of soulmates—encouraging growth and transformation on a soul level—the length of a connection is not of concern. People come in and out of our lives for a reason, and if you've experienced this type of "ships in the night" connection, know that while it may not have lasted forever, there was a lesson to be learned through knowing each other.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.