Why Twin Flames Separate & What To Do If It Happens, From Experts
Twin flame relationships are thought to be the most intense relationships we can have in our lives—but they're not always meant to last. Sometimes, twin flames go through a separation period, and whether the separation ends up being permanent depends on that particular pair. Here's why twin flame separations happen, plus what to do if it happens to you.
What is a twin flame?
Often referred to as a "mirror soul," a twin flame relationship occurs when one soul is split between two bodies. Those two people share a very intense soul connection, mirroring each other and acting as catalysts for growth in each other's lives.
As licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli previously explained to mbg, the mirroring nature of twin flames forces the two to identify all of their insecurities and fears, but it also helps shed light on the areas in which they can grow. When both people are ready for this kind of deep vulnerability and intimacy, these relationships can be incredibly profound and enriching.
But make no mistake: They're also challenging and, according to Spinelli, can quickly become toxic when one or both parties aren't ready. "The very fact that a person believes you are 'meant to be' can cloud their judgment about issues in the relationship," Spinelli notes.
Twin flame separation.
A twin flame separation is a stage in the relationship many twin flames will experience. It's exactly what it sounds like: a period of separation from each other. It typically happens as the honeymoon phase ends and insecurities and attachment issues begin to appear.
"Your love will be put to a test as you start to dive deep into your shadow sides," spiritual author Shannon Kaiser previously noted. And when this happens, according to Spinelli, one partner may avoid the other or even abandon the relationship. "Twin flame relationships have a ton of push-pull," Kaiser adds. "Part of the chase is the reward for each person. But there will be a time when one partner will pull away, and this causes separation."
Many twin flames will end up making their way back to each other, even if it takes years—but not all. It depends on the level of work the twin flames do individually while they are separate. Some twin flame relationships can be toxic, however, and they may never reunite—or shouldn't.
Reasons for the separation:
It's not the right time.
For many twin flames, one (or both, but typically one) person isn't ready for the relationship yet. This person is called "the runner," and the other "the chaser."
As relationships reader and psychic Nicole Bowman previously told mbg, "Sometimes twin flames run. There's a lot of self-reflection and realizing that this relationship is deeper than any others you've had before. It's a very challenging idea to love someone unconditionally and still have healthy boundaries and share that with the world—not everyone is ready for that."
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More growth is needed.
Sometimes, the separation is necessary for one or both people to grow and learn so they can come back together in a healthier way. When it's not the right time, this is often because the twin flames may have met too soon, before they were ready.
In a healthy twin flame relationship, both people can grow together, but in the case of separation, growth isn't happening within the relationship. As psychotherapist Annette Nuñez, M.S., Ph.D., explains, "If someone feels stagnant and like they're not being the best version of themselves, it may not be the healthiest relationship."
Lack of self-love.
One common theme among twin flame relationships leading up to the separation phase is a lack of self-love that manifests in the relationship, whether as codependency, jealousy, or something else This is where much of the growth will lie for many twin flames.
Self-love can be an issue in twin flame relationships because of the nature of the concept, which can be misconstrued to mean that there's a "perfect match" out there for you whom you need to find in order to be whole.
"Perfection does not exist, and believing that it does can be highly self-sabotaging," Tanya Carroll Richardson, professional intuitive and author of Angel Intuition, previously wrote for mbg. She adds that you don't need anyone to complete you or your soul, either, and one person cannot possibly answer all of your prayers and problems.
Emotional or spiritual immaturity.
In many cases, the "runner" of the relationship may not be as mature, whether spiritually or emotionally, as their twin flame. Nuñez notes that if one person is growing and maturing while the other is stagnant, they're going to fall out of alignment. "A true divine partnership is one of equals, emotionally and spiritually," Kaiser adds. "The relationship can only last if it is based on mutual growth."
You've learned the necessary lesson.
As Nuñez explains, twin flames are thought to have crossed many lifetimes, teaching each other different lessons throughout their many past lives. So, if you've learned the lesson(s) you needed to this time around, it may be time for the relationship to end. This can also factor into the timing aspect—you've learned what you needed to for now. (Read: That doesn't mean you won't come back together eventually.)
How to work through the separation.
While the separation may not be permanent, it is virtually always a time to focus on and prioritize your own growth and self-love. Nuñez says it's important for each person to focus on finding themselves and their own happiness—"because oftentimes our happiness is contingent upon being in a relationship or somebody else," she notes, when it shouldn't be.
When that work is done, she adds, that's when twin flames can often rekindle because they're ready to approach the relationship in a new and stronger way. But this growth can't be fast-tracked, she adds, and that's when you really have to trust what's meant for you will be.
"Know the universe isn't going to steer you wrong, and if you're truly meant to be, you'll go off and find your way back together again," she says.
Focus on learning to be OK being by yourself, she suggests. Take yourself out on dates, learn to sit with your emotions, practice shadow work, and don't try to replace what you've lost by rushing into another relationship. Nuñez says this time is about finding your happiness.
And remember, we can have platonic soul mates and other important relationships in our lives that also teach us important lessons and help us grow. The separation period is a good time to nourish those relationships, too.
How is the separation initiated?
Typically in twin flame relationships, one person is the runner, and the other is the chaser. As the separation period approaches, the runner may begin to avoid the chaser, pull away, or sabotage the relationship, Spinelli notes. The runner may initiate the separation, though there are times when the chaser may recognize the runner is pulling away and decides to "let them go," so to speak.
Is it a bad thing?
There's not really a simple answer to this question. Of course, separating from your twin flame can be devastating and painful—but if it's reached that point, it probably needed to happen. As Bowman says, in instances when one person is never truly ready, the twin flames may not join together in this lifetime. "A twin flame can also just come into our lives to remind us of who we are, and they're not meant to stay. Sometimes that's the lesson," she adds.
But sometimes twin flames do rekindle, and in that case, the separation was necessary for them to come back together better than before. So, it's not really a question of whether the separation period is "good" or "bad" but a matter of trusting what's meant to be will be.
What do you do when reunited?
If twin flames reconnect and both decide to try again, that's a beautiful thing and can result in a deeply intimate relationship. To keep things going on the right track, Nuñez says you'll want to keep your eye out for repeating patterns or behaviors from the first time around.
Some twin flames have multiple separation periods as well, so it's not impossible that the same issues can become a major problem again. But that's not to say you won't eventually be able to overcome them.
Nuñez notes if you're trusting your intuition, communicating openly and honestly, not trying to change each other, and feel complete as individuals, that's a good sign. If not, you still may not be ready.
The bottom line.
Many twin flame relationships will go through the separation phase, if not multiple separation phases. In order to come back together, both people will need to grow into emotionally and spiritually mature people who can coexist harmoniously. And when they do, these relationships can flourish beautifully. That said, not all twin flames are meant to stay together, and that's OK too.
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.