Every relationship has something to teach us—and twin flames are often considered the ones that will teach us the most.
Meeting your twin flame is considered by some to be the most powerful soul encounter a person can experience.
So, we asked experts how to know when you've found your twin flame, plus what to know about navigating this oftentimes tumultuous relationship and how to know if you and your twin flame are meant to be together.
What is a twin flame?
A twin flame is an intense soul connection with someone thought to be a person's other half, sometimes called a "mirror soul." It's based on the idea that sometimes one soul gets split into two bodies.
One of the main characteristics of a twin flame relationship is that it will be both challenging and healing.
This is due to the mirroring nature of a twin flame; they show you your deepest insecurities, fears, and shadows.
But they also help you overcome them, and vice versa—your twin flame will be equally affected by you.
Importantly, each person is still "whole" on their own, says licensed psychotherapist Babita Spinelli. "There is a misnomer that a twin flame completes you," she explains. "In reality, relationships are meant to encourage you to be more complete in your own right."
11 signs you've found your twin flame
When you met, there was instant recognition.
You're very similar.
You and your twin flame may find that you have a lot in common as far as values, past experiences, and interests, Spinelli adds. "Both of you will find that your past story has a lot of coincidences and similar experiences."
You complement each other.
In those areas that you aren't similar, you'll find your differences complement each other, almost like yin and yang. Their shadow, for example, will be complemented by your light, and vice versa. And because a twin flame mirrors you, you're likely very aware of how your relationship highlights your shadows, and theirs.
Your insecurities and doubts are amplified.
"The purpose of your twin flame is to support and help you with your divine mission and purpose," notes spiritual author Shannon Kaiser. "So, often this type of relationship will reflect your problems and deepest insecurities so you can work through them to heal and grow."
They feel magnetic.
From the moment you met and still to this day, you feel drawn to them physically when they're near you, as well as magnetically, when you're apart. It's as though their energy is always with you, always wanting to be closer.
The relationship is tumultuous.
Twin flame relationships aren't all smooth sailing, and actually, they're usually not. Being with a twin flame is like constantly being confronted by yourself, namely the parts of yourself you may not like. It can be incredibly challenging, but it's facilitating major growth for both of you.
The relationship is very intense.
There's a definite emotional charge between twin flames, says Spinelli, and they often develop quickly because you already feel so familiar. And as Kaiser adds, "Because you are so connected at a soul level, you feel things deeper together, which often makes for more intensity and passion."
You keep coming back together.
"The chase" is most definitely a part of the twin flame relationship. At some point, one of you may walk away, out of fear, anger—you name it. But you'll often come back.
"If you're in an 'on and off'-again-type relationship, it could be with your twin flame," Kaiser says. "You'll find that things just keep bringing you together in random ways. Could be months, years, even decades; you just always find your way back to one another."
Your connection feels divine.
When you find your twin flame, there's a certain larger-than-life quality that likely feels divine or predestined.
"There is a feeling that you have been brought together by a higher power," Spinelli notes, and that creates a very strong bond between the two of you. (These can also sometimes be karmic relationships.)
You have an almost psychic connection.
You and your twin flame can likely communicate with just a glance, and you always know what the other is thinking. You may even feel each other's emotions or symptoms, Spinelli adds.
They push you to be and do better.
Because twin flames act as mirrors, they challenge us to do better, and oftentimes, your purposes are aligned in a way that pushes both of you to new heights. It's a very expansive relationship that promotes a lot of growth.
The 8 stages of a twin flame relationship
The stages of a relationship are different when it's your twin flame. Twin flame stages may be unique depending on the people involved, Spinelli notes, but there are eight common ones:
Stage 1: Yearning
Before the two of you meet, you will have an awareness that your other half is out there for you. There is deep longing in this phase, Spinelli notes, and there will be inner work during this phase to prepare you for meeting your twin flame.
Stage 2: Meeting
Once you meet, your world will be rocked. Prepare to fall fast. "When you meet, it is insane instant attraction," Kaiser says. "You often can't keep your hands off one another and think about and want to spend a ton of time with each other constantly."
Stage 3: The honeymoon phase
Yes, twin flames can have a honeymoon phase, too! In this phase, your relationship is new, meaningful, and positive. How long it lasts depends on the couple, before challenges arise.
Stage 4: Challenges emerge
Sooner or later, core wounds emerge, and differences arise in the relationship, Spinelli notes. Often, these challenges are a reflection of the soul work the two of you need to do on your own. It's often not about improving the relationship but rather improving yourself.
Stage 5: The test
"Your love will be put to a test, as you start to dive deep into your shadow sides," Kaiser says. "All your insecurities will rear up as you start to question yourself and each other."
In this phase, Spinelli adds, one partner may avoid the other or even abandon the relationship, while the other feels emotionally insecure. "This is where attachment issues arise," she says.
Stage 6: The chase
The chase, also called twin flame separation, is a big part of many twin flame relationships; someone will always walk away. "Twin flame relationships have a ton of push-pull," Kaiser says. "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."
Stage 7: The surrender
The chase can go on for years, but should the two of you work through all your triggers, insecurities, and challenges, Spinelli and Kaiser note eventually you may come back together. "This is the surrender into the relationship and big picture for you both," Kaiser notes. "You accept and allow each other to be who they are, flaws and all. This is where you come back again."
Stage 8: Coming home
And finally, once you've fully surrendered and accepted your destiny, your life begins, and balance feels restored. "Shared meaning is created, and there is more empathy and understanding in the relationship," Spinelli says. In this stage, you support each other and continue to facilitate growth for the other.
How are twin flames different from soul mates?
Some people consider twin flames to be one of many types of soul mates, with twin flames being the most intense because they are, in fact, one soul.
The biggest distinction between a twin flame and any other type of soul mate is that twin flames are two halves of the same whole.
A soul mate, on the other hand, can be thought of as someone cut from the same cloth as you. There's a deep familiarity, and you feel very close, but you aren't the same soul.
"A soul mate changes who you are by bringing you closer to your true and authentic self," Kaiser says. "Soul mates have contracted to be together, and they don't always mean romantic love. You can have soul mates that are friends, pets, and family members, etc."
(Here's more on the soul mate vs. twin flame distinction.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Are twin flames always romantically involved?
According to Spinelli, although twin flames are typically viewed as romantic relationships, they can also be platonic soul mates. "The emphasis on a twin flame relationship is a spiritual connection where you feel a familiarity and polarity with a person. This can take the form of a friend or even an acquaintance," she says. In most cases, though, romance seems to be more common.
Can you have only one twin flame?
Going by the commonly accepted idea that twin flames are two halves of the same whole, yes, you can have only one. This is up for debate though, Spinelli adds, and it really depends on how you define twin flame.
Does everyone have a twin flame?
No. "It is a rare connection, and not everybody has one," Kaiser says. "Ultimately, not everyone feels that pull toward the other part of their soul because it hasn't had this split."
Can twin flames become toxic?
Yes, twin flame relationships can become toxic. "In a twin flame relationship, your twin flame may mirror your own issues, unhealthy habits, or imbalances," Spinelli notes. "In addition, when twin flames are apart, they may have a hard time functioning. You may also end up defining your self-worth by the relationship. These aspects of the twin flame relationship can result in an unhealthy codependent relationship."
There is also a tendency to give your twin flame unconditional love—aka, letting way too much slide. "Often, twin flame relationships are romanticized, and we tend to overlook some of the negative attributes of the relationship," she adds.
"Twin flames are notorious for being tumultuous if not handled with care," Kaiser adds. "If we don't have self-love and awareness, they can become even more painful."
Are twin flames meant to be together?
Sometimes twin flames are meant together, but not always. Because twin flame relationships are very susceptible to codependency and other toxic relationship dynamics, sometimes it's in both people's best interests to simply walk away. Sometimes twin flames come into your life to teach you something, and then you're meant to go your separate ways.
Twin flame relationships are incredibly potent, powerful, and rare. But just because they're strong doesn't mean they're unbreakable—it's still important to work on a conscious partnership and your own individual growth.
When you do that, the two of you will be catalysts for love, growth, and harmony in each other's lives.
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.