Karmic Relationship: What It Is, 27 Signs & How to Heal From a Karmic Cycle

If your relationship is bringing you more pain than joy, then you might be in a negative karmic relationship. Read on so you can recognize the signs.

Karmic Relationship

In traditional Buddhism and Hinduism, your karma has a direct effect on your fate in your next incarnation. But what about a karmic relationship?

What is karma?

To put a simple definition on it, karma is cause and effect. It is a Universal Law that all of us live by whether we want to or not. What we put out into the world and do to other people – both good and bad – will eventually come back to us.

Some religions connect karma to past lives and reincarnation, such as Buddhism or Hinduism. They believe that if you did something bad to someone in a past life, you will have to come back with them in a future life so you can experience the negativity that you put them through in the past. 

These religions believe that the point of this reincarnation and karmic cycle is to learn to overcome fear-based emotions and learn to express unconditional love. 

We meet people lifetime after lifetime until we can learn to accept and love them unconditionally. Until we can do that, you are going to keep coming back with them until you can get it right.

Each life provides the opportunity for a soul to learn its lesson. It’s kind of like being in the “Earth School” until you’ve learned enough to “graduate.” [Read: If you’re regularly asking yourself, “Am I a bad person?” read this]

Some people are “smarter” than others and learn their lessons quickly. Others are a little slower and have to repeat the same lesson over and over again until they get it right.

Karma not only punishes people *and souls* for their bad deeds, but it also rewards them too. So, that’s the good news! All the good, loving thoughts, emotions, and actions you do will come back to you and you will be rewarded – whether it’s in this life or a future life.

But most people here on earth have negative karma to resolve with other people. And that’s why they’re here. [Read: How to be nice – 20 easy tips to make everyone love being around you]

Is karma real in relationships?

While no one has the definitive answer to this question, it certainly seems like it is real. Whether or not you believe in reincarnation and past lives doesn’t even really matter. Karma is really just like the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Or at least that’s how it should work. Unfortunately, it frequently happens the opposite way because people haven’t learned their lessons yet.

People do bad things to other people even though they wouldn’t want those things done to themselves. This creates negative karma for them. [Read: How not to hurt people’s feelings – the 20 Golden Rules you need]

In order to learn the negative effects their actions have on other people, they have to experience it for themselves until they learn not to do it again.

So, if you or someone you know isn’t nice to other people and keeps finding themselves in negative relationships, well, that’s pretty solid evidence of negative karma in a relationship. 

On the other hand, if you know a kind, loving person who treats everyone with respect, then they probably have warm, loving, healthy, happy relationships. That’s positive karma at work. [Read: 13 Powerful rules of life for a happy, positive, and meaningful life]

So, while God might be the only one to tell us for sure whether karma in relationships is real, it certainly does look that way when you start to look around at everyone. Don’t you agree?

What is a karmic cycle?

Very simply, a karmic cycle is a cycle that repeats itself until you learn a lesson that you’ve faced before but haven’t overcome yet. 

Have you been in the same kind of bad relationships over and over again? Do your relationships always start on a glorious high but crash and burn in a brilliant blaze every time? In all probability, there are some lessons you haven’t learned yet. [Read: How to recognize the karmic connections in your life]

You’ve probably experienced the exact same scenario previously, but instead of learning your lessons, you’ve been ignoring them all along.

Karmic cycles are addictive, especially when they’re in intimate relationships. But this doesn’t mean you should be stuck in the relationship you’re in. You can decide how you want your life to be, but that means you will need to make some hard decisions.

So, is the relationship you’re in, stuck in a karmic cycle where you have something to learn and leave? [Read: Karmic connection – how to recognize a soul agreement in your life]

What is a karmic relationship?

Most people think that the idea behind a karmic relationship is that you’re being punished for something you’ve done in the past. And many times, that is an accurate definition. 

For example, if you cheated on someone without regret, you end up in a relationship where you get cheated on. Lucky you!

However, the lesser-known type of karmic relationship is the positive karmic relationship. That is where you both have learned your lessons in the past and have now come back together to be rewarded with a happy, healthy, loving relationship. [Read: What are twin souls? 20 signs to know if you found yours]

But if you’re here reading this article, you’re probably not in that category. You’re probably in a negative karmic relationship. So, that’s what we’re going to focus on because that’s the type most people experience.

Everyone has at least one karmic relationship in their life. This can be a friendship or a relationship, but it’s more likely to be a romantic connection. 

This type of relationship is different from a soul connection or a soulmate. They don’t mirror your qualities and aren’t always someone sent to you for a lasting reason; instead, a karmic relationship is not always meant to last. [Read: How to recognize a soul connection when they walk into your life]

There are specific ways you can tell whether someone in your life is there as a karmic connection or whether you’ve simply met them randomly. Not every single person in your life is sent to you, but some are. 

Karmic relationships are meant to teach us something deeper, something we need for personal growth. 

Are karmic relationships bad?

Well, the short answer is that in most cases, yes, they are not always good relationships. That’s because the people have been drawn together to learn the lessons that they need to learn. [Read: Law of Attraction – 37 secrets to manifest love and bring your dream to life]

And those lessons are to learn to overcome negativity and fear-based emotions. So, that’s why a lot of karmic relationships are bad. They are drawn together so they can learn to express unconditional love. And a lot of people are far from that.

However, remember that karma is simply the Universal Law of cause and effect. Karma “punishes,” but it also rewards too. So, if you have overcome your lessons and are kind, loving, and respectful to all people, then you can be rewarded with a positive karmic relationship.

Unfortunately, not a lot of people get to that point. But the point of karmic relationships is for you to get there eventually. How quickly that happens is entirely up to you. [Read: 18 Secrets to get through a rough patch in a relationship and grow closer]

Why do karmic relationships happen?

As we discussed earlier, karma is simply the Universal Law of cause and effect. For every action, there is an equal reaction. So, positive actions get a positive reaction. Negative actions get a negative reaction.

So, if you have two people who need to learn not to treat other people badly, then they will most likely come together to learn that lesson. 

Think of it this way. Let’s say two people are taking an algebra class, and they both flunked it. Well, the school isn’t going to promote them to calculus if they can’t even understand how to do algebra. [Read: 32 Steps to move forward in a relationship when you’re lost and confused]

So, the two people who flunked algebra will have to come back to the same algebra class together until they learn how to do it. Until then, they will never be able to take the calculus class *let’s assume that calculus is something that most people desire to take!* 

Karma ties people together in a relationship whether or not you want it or like it. But it’s for your own good. Hopefully, you both will learn to respond with unconditional love and “graduate” from having to experience negative relationships in the future.

Karmic partners

Many religions and scientists believe that our souls have a certain level of vibration and frequency that is specific to us. And that vibration resonates out into the world and attracts people and things on the same or similar frequency. [Read: Emotional abuse – what it is and 39 signs this relationship is breaking you]

You’ve probably heard the term “like attracts like” or “birds of a feather flock together.” Well, it’s true. People tend to find people who are like them and have relationships of any kind – whether it’s romantic or platonic.

And so that’s where karma comes in. A karmic partner is someone who has the same lessons to learn as you do. Therefore, they are on the same frequency level, and you are automatically attracted to one another.

Whether these karmic configurations are from the same souls from past lives or if it’s just in the present life, both people need to learn their lessons until they can learn to let go of each other with unconditional love. [Read: Are relationship fights normal? 15 signs you’re fighting too often]

Can karmic relationships work? 

As you can probably guess by now, that is totally up to you and your partner. If you are stuck in a negative karmic relationship, then you and your partner have a lot of work to do to overcome it.

You have to learn to let go of fear-based emotions such as jealousy, anger, rage, possessiveness, control, and the list goes on. It sounds like an impossible feat, but it definitely can be done. You just have to want to do it.

And remember, there are positive karmic relationships too. So, obviously, those kinds can work. Not only do they work, but they are also probably the best kind of relationships there are in the world. [Read: 16 Secrets to a perfectly happy relationship]

That’s why you want to always strive to create positive karma in your relationships, not negative karma. Because no, the negative karmic relationships usually don’t work out very well unless the two people have and achieve massive amounts of personal growth.

Do karmic relationships come back? 

Yes, they do. Whether it’s “coming back” from a past life or “coming back” to you in the present life, it all comes back to you. Remember, it’s cause and effect. What you put out into the world you get back to you.

So, if you keep putting out negativity, that’s all you’ll get back. You’ll come back with people over and over again and only get negativity until you learn to change yourself. [Read: People always leave you? 20 ways to stop sabotaging a relationship]

That’s why it’s important to be aware of every thought, word, and action that you put out there. Make them good and loving, because after all, you do want that to come back, right?

Characteristics of a negative karmic relationship

The chances that you have a karmic relationship in your life at the moment are high if many of the points below resonate. Just one point isn’t likely to mean much, but several linked together *not necessarily all* should give you a good idea of what is really going on beneath the surface.

1. Intense passion

Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, just like being in a lusty relationship and shattering your chances at a healthy relationship, so can karmic relationships.

These types of bonds are filled with electric passion that screams the two of you were meant to be together. [Read: 20 speedy signs your relationship is moving too fast]

How can animal magnetism be a bad thing, right? Wrong. When you’re in a bad, or karmic, relationship it’s this intensity that keeps you from leaving when you should.

2. Obsession

When you are in a karmic relationship, you are obsessed with your mate. You want to know what they’re doing, watching, thinking, and who they’re talking to practically every minute you’re not together. You worry constantly about what they may be doing.

3. Negative feelings

Have you ever liked someone so much that you actually felt bad when you were around them? If you’ve experienced this painful swarm of butterflies don’t be fooled, it isn’t a good thing. [Read: All the reasons why loving someone too much kills the love]

If you feel bad whenever you’re around your cosmic sweetheart that’s a sign, in any relationship, that it’s time to either fix things or move on.

4. Jealousy

Along with obsession comes its lovely cousin jealousy. Jealousy comes in karmic relationships when you can’t seem to let go of your fear.

Jealousy may seem healthy in small doses, but this fear often snowballs into a myriad of other emotions such as neuroticism, possessiveness, and dependence. This takes all the fun out of your relationship. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

On the other hand, it may be your karmic partner who is the jealous one. This can be difficult to manage in any relationship since it often leads to a controlling personality.

5. Control

Along with jealousy comes control. You or your mate may use different avenues to control one another. This involves spying on your lover, virtual snooping, or telling them they can’t hang out with their friends or family. 

This is especially prevalent if your family and friends openly disapprove of your partner.

If your mate tries to distance or disassociate you from your loved ones, you should take this as a sign you’re with a total D-bag and walk the other way. [Read: Controlling relationship – 42 signs and ways to love without bullying]

6. Anger

If you were full of anger in a past relationship or experience, karmic teachings dictate your partner in your new relationship will be angry with you—if you believe in all that.

Otherwise, just realize you are in an unhealthy relationship with someone who has serious anger issues. This could involve yelling, physical abuse, or a generally bad attitude. [Read: 10 ways to handle dating someone with anger issues]

7. Gut feeling

If you are in a bad relationship, there are probably three areas of your body, mind, and being that already know it: your brain, your heart, and your gut. Go with your gut. 

Rarely is it wrong, yet it’s so hard to follow. If your gut is telling you something about your relationship isn’t right, run in the opposite direction!

8. Physical and emotional abuse

If an act of violence happens once in a relationship, odds are it is going to happen again*. This avenue of a karmic relationship follows with jealousy, obsession, and control. [Read: Narcissistic abuse – 16 subtle signs a narcissist is abusing you]

Other forms of abuse may also be present with your partner, such as emotional mind-games and verbal assaults. These are all to make you feel less than your partner so that you stay with them.

*Never consider an abusive relationship your karmic payback! If you are in an abusive relationship and can’t get out, consult the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) and take advantage of apps for domestic abuse such as the Aspire News App.

9. Substance abuse

Most karmic relationships show signs of distinct partying, and not the fun Friday night kind. This symptom appears fun at first because it follows the bad boy/bad girl persona often attached to destructive relationships.

Drugs, drinking, and non-stop partying are often signs of being in an abusive karmic relationship. Leaning on crutches of alcohol and drugs when you are unhappy is often referred to as self-medicating. 

If you need to be self-medicated to be around your partner, you should take this as a giant red flag. [Read: 9 ways to quit attracting unhealthy relationships]

10. Selfish, selfish, selfish

As if you didn’t know, relationships are all about give and take. If you claim to be in a serious relationship with your partner yet find yourself unable to give back emotionally you may be in a karmic disaster. 

The same goes for when your partner can’t be bothered to hear about your day or tickle your arm the way you like even though you’d totally do it for them. [Read: Selfishness in relationships – 15 tips to do the right thing]

11. Your relationship is usually on and off again

If you’re with someone and then you’re not, but they don’t go away and always end up coming back, the chances of this being a karmic relationship are quite high.

This relationship is designed to teach you a lesson, but they aren’t simply going to disappear after you learn the lesson.

You must be the one to let go of them, to show that you’ve grown. Until you let go, they’ll just keep coming back and the cycle will repeat itself. [Read: How to overcome the things that keep you stuck]

12. It isn’t a healthy relationship

A healthy relationship is a two-way street, with both partners having their needs acknowledged and met. What is a karmic relationship? A selfish connection that only benefits when needed. 

It’s also likely to be very one-sided, with one person getting all the positive aspects and the other simply giving, giving, and giving some more. [Read: How to recognize a taker who uses people in a relationship]

13. They’re hard to let go of

Yes, you should let go of the karmic connection for complete growth, but it is difficult. This type of relationship is addictive and hard to wave goodbye to.

14. There is a sense of ‘meant to be’ about it

You will feel like this person was sent to you, but it won’t feel particularly positive. You’ll feel strangely pulled towards this person, perhaps even addicted. 

While things aren’t working out, you can’t figure out why. If you want to know what is a karmic relationship in real terms, that’s the biggest indicator. [Read: Is it possible to fix a toxic relationship?]

15. You have an instant connection

From the moment you meet this person, you notice the pull and attraction. This person was meant to be in your life. They ignite something inside of you that you can’t explain in words. 

You just feel it and might even feel like you’ve met them in the past, or maybe in a former life. There is a sense of familiarity with them.

16. You find it hard to separate yourself from them

When they’re not around you, you think about them all the time. When they’re with you, you feel consumed or suffocated. 

This type of relationship is extremely intense and you might even feel like you’re dependent upon them to feel balanced or to even feel anything. [Read: Emotional attachment – 12 signs your fierce attachments are unhealthy]

17. When you’re around them, you notice your fears and inadequacies

You don’t feel comfortable or positive when you’re around them, instead, you notice your insecurities, inadequacies, and fears. You worry about being left alone or rejected by them. 

This karmic partner will force you to recognize your deepest concerns. You might even start to feel like you’re not good enough.

18. They’re extremely rocky

This type of relationship is not going to be easy sailing. It’s unpredictable, stormy, full of intensity and arguments, and not a relationship where you show your best side. [Read: How to be mature and start facing life like an adult]

19. You notice your worst side

A karmic relationship will make you see your bad side, to notice your temper and negative traits. This person will press every single one of your buttons. You won’t be able to stop it. The point is, you must learn how to handle it.

20. The relationship is addictive

This is not the honeymoon phase when you can’t keep your hands off of each other. When you take a step back and look at the relationship, you see there are many ups and downs with extreme intensity. 

It feels like you’re in a soap opera, and it keeps pulling you back for more and more. [Read: The 10 signs you’re stuck in a karma smackdown]

21. They shine a light on your fears

We all have our own set of fears. And not just the fear of heights or birds. The fears are much deeper and based on relationships. 

For example, the fear of commitment, rejection, or abandonment. Though in previous relationships, you didn’t have these fears, with your new partner, you do.

22. It’s volatile

Your relationship isn’t a walk in the park. When it comes to relationships, mutual respect is crucial. But your relationship is unpredictable, keeps you on your toes *in a bad way*, and is volatile. [Read: Silent treatment abuse – how to take a stand and get back in control]

You’re never truly at rest when you’re with your partner. This is a strong sign of your relationship being a karmic cycle, and eventually, you’ll need to identify that.

23. The relationship is co-dependent

Being in a co-dependent relationship is never a good thing. Of course, you should be able to rely on your partner and vice versa, but your relationship should never become your crutch. 

If you’re unable to do almost anything without the approval of your partner, this is a serious sign to be aware of. [Read: How to stop being co-dependent and have a healthy love life] 

24. There aren’t any boundaries

Even if there are boundaries, there isn’t any respect for those boundaries. Being in a relationship doesn’t mean there aren’t any boundaries. It’s the contrary. 

You should have respected boundaries in any relationship. But people in karmic relationships struggle to respect each other’s boundaries. [Read: 15 rules to set healthy boundaries in a relationship]

25. Your partner is irrational

We all have our own insecurities, and that’s fine. No one is perfect. But there’s a fine line between being insecure and being irrational. 

Your partner brings out the worst in you, having you act like someone you’re not. Their irrational insecurities keep you on your toes, making you change to better suit them. [Read: 18 critical signs of an unhealthy relationship]

26. You’re fearful of how it ends

Because you’ve had so much negativity in your relationship, you fear how it might end. A lot of people who aren’t in a negative karmic relationship can just simply part ways with kindness and love.

But you know that won’t happen. You fear that your partner might get abusive, violent, or manipulate you into staying. You intuitively know that it won’t be an easy breakup if that ever comes.

27. It does not last

More often than not, negative karmic relationships don’t last forever. The two people have come together to try to learn their lessons and overcome negativity and learn to express unconditional love. [Read: 10 Painful stages of heartbreak and grief all of us go through after a breakup]

Unfortunately, it’s kind of rare that it happens that way. And because the people involved haven’t learned their lessons, then the relationship is practically doomed. 

How to complete your negative karmic relationship

So, what is a negative karmic relationship? One which isn’t healthy, positive, and probably won’t stand the test of time. 

If it does last a long time, you refuse to let go of it, and if that’s the case, you’ll keep going around and around in the same hamster wheel. [Read: How to unfriend someone in real life, cut ties and find your peace]

You’ll constantly be drowning in negativity and always looking in the mirror at your fears and concerns, rather than being positive and happy.

This is a person sent to you for a specific reason. Learn to recognize what it is. Then, work out what the lesson is. Once you dig deeper and explore what the lesson might be, work out the best way to experience what it’s supposed to show you.

Once you feel like you’ve learned what you were supposed to, cut the cord, and let go for good. If you keep allowing this person back into your life, they will keep coming back. The cycle will repeat itself. [Read: How long does it take to get over a breakup – 3 months and more timelines]

This is not a relationship designed to last or bring you endless happiness. This is not your soul mate or someone who you are supposed to spend the rest of your days with. 

They are supposed to show you something and then leave your life.

Once you let go of a karmic relationship, do so with love and appreciation. Yes, this was a lesson *probably a hard one*, but it was sent to you with good intentions.

A karmic relationship is never sent to you for negative reasons, i.e. just to watch you squirm. [read: How to love unconditionally – stop screwing up and start loving instead]

There is something you should learn to enable you to move into the next stage of your life with a greater sense of knowledge and personal development. There is a reason to it all, simply work out what it is.

How to heal from a negative karmic relationship

Negative karmic relationships can be traumatic. But they don’t have to be. If you have learned your lesson and let go of the person with unconditional love, then you have earned the right to move on and have a positive karmic relationship.

Be proud of yourself. It’s not easy to overcome and rise above a negative karmic relationship! And the fact that you did is impressive. [Read: The karmic connections that are in your life right now]

Now, you have to expect more positive karmic relationships to come into your life. Allow loving and respectful people into your life. Love yourself enough to be loved unconditionally by someone else.

Healing from a negative karmic relationship can be difficult, but the good news is that your relationships are going to be way more loving and healthy from now on! 

[Read: What is unconditional love really?]

Many people ask “what is a karmic relationship” and assume it’s like a soulmate connection. Now that you know what it is, and how to recognize it, you can see that the two are very different indeed.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...