When I hear the term "twin flame," I often cringe because I feel it gets tossed about as the end-all and be-all of romantic connections. Soulmate often gets used in a similar way, but it's the twin flame connection I feel is most misunderstood. My first point for either soulmate or twin flame connections is that they don't have to involve romantic love, and often do not. These terms apply to energetic connections, not necessarily love connections in a romantic sense. The only "soulmate" romantic connection I've had is my husband and we were definitely connected energetically first as friends and later as lovers. That's not to say I haven't loved the soulmates I've come in contact with throughout my life. I absolutely have loved them all, but not in a way that ends in marriage and children and a white picket fence.
According to Sarah Regan, author of What's the Difference Between a Twin Flame and a Soulmate, a soulmate is someone whose soul is cut from the same cloth as yours. This energy creates a strong connection that can be for both romantic love and strong friendship.
Twin Flames, also according to Regan, are two individuals who very intensely connect, usually as romantic partners, because of a shared trauma. The connection is not necessarily about love and will often require a lot of personal internal work, on the part of both partners, to make a partnership work. Regan cautions that Twin Flames do not and should not "complete" one another because every individual should be complete in and of themselves.
So while both soulmate and twin flame connections can give you a sense of knowing one another deeper than your acquaintance time might warrant, you need to be more cautious in your approach to twin flame connections. The energetic connection found between soulmates is generally somewhere between benign and beneficial since the soul's composition is similar in energetic construction. Conversely, the energetic connection between twin flame energies is often co-dependent or damaging because both partners are working out a shared trauma, be it physical, mental or karmic.
Regan cautions that Twin Flame connections and relationships can quickly become toxic because a twin flame may mirror your own issues, unhealthy habits, or impulses. Imagine the difference between a healthy friendship you develop with someone who enjoys similar activities and has similar values and beliefs and a friendship with someone who enables all your worst habits and addictions. That's how I see the difference between soulmates and twin flames as explained by Regan. The twin flame can often be an enabler because they have similar traumas and reactions to them. If one or both of you does not do the internal work to heal the trauma, neither of you will be happy or healthy with the other. If only one does the internal work on the trauma, the other will often feel attacked and lash out, while the one doing the work will usually move on.
I have so many clients who come to me seeking to reconnect with their "twin flame." The truth is, if one of the partners has moved on, the twin flame connection is no longer there, even if one partner feels it is. When the lesson of the connection has been learned (the healing of the trauma), the connection begins to fade for one or both partners. Think of it this way, you spend years getting sober, living with and loving the partner who continues to abuse whatever substance they have chosen. When you finally get sober, you choose to move on so you can remain sober and continue to grow, but your partner is still stuck in the cycle of addiction and you know that if you stay with them, you'll fall off the wagon. You know that the reason for the relationship, whatever it was originally, has come to a conclusion and that going back will only bring you pain. Your partner, on the other hand, has not tried to get sober, has continued with whatever unhealthy behavior originally brought the two of you together (your shared trauma) and has no understanding of why the relationship has ended. This partner may chase the connection for a very long time, unless something happens and they begin to work on their own trauma.
When you're in a relationship and you KNOW you and your partner are no good for each other, but you keep coming back to each other, that's often the hallmark of a twin flame connection between partners who have not begun to work on their individual traumas. Twin flame connections are great for encouraging you to work on growth and awakening, but they are difficult to make work in the long run. Your job is to recognize the energy and find the traumas that need to be exorcised from your energy. Then, you need to know when to let go of the other person, no matter how much you love them, because you know they're not really good for you.
Soulmates, on the other hand, are often more stable individuals who come into your life ideally suited as life partners and close friends. I've had a few soulmates and one or two "twin flame" relationships in my life. The most significant soulmate until I met my husband, was my best friend of 16 years. Rick came into my life with the same calm, loving energy I have, at a time when I really needed a different perspective on my life (it was the end of my first marriage). We stayed friends and saw each other through other relationships, even his own marriage where I performed the handfasting ceremony a year before their church wedding. We were the ear we each needed when we needed to hash things out and we loved one another deeply. When he died in June of 2019, I was devastated. I still think of him nearly every day. Thankfully, for my own heart, I met my husband in 2015 and he started to connect with some of the energy that Rick brought to my sight when we were together.
The most hurtful twin flame relationship was another friend, one who came into my life in a way I wouldn't recommend to most (we were dating the same man at the same time. We left him and kept each other for some 13 years). She was an addict, something I hadn't known for most of our friendship, even when I lived with her, because she didn't change. She was exactly as she'd been when I met her. It wasn't until 2020 when she disappeared instead of attending (or letting me know she couldn't) my wedding in October. She never said a word about not coming or even the wedding itself, despite being my Maid of Honor. That was my clue that our connection was done. We'd worked out the trauma we'd connected over (relationships with narcissists) and I'd moved on. She hadn't. I could no longer stay connected with someone who didn't love me enough to just own up to not being able to, or wanting to, travel during the Pandemic. I'd have understood, but in her mind, I wasn't worth the effort. I'm still sad that she's not part of my life any longer, but I also know that reconnecting with her would not be healthy for me. She worked very hard and got sober, but she did it without the internal work she needed to do to heal her trauma and she'll likely continue with her self-destructive behavior, no matter what I do or say to help.
It breaks my heart when clients call me and ask about their twin flames because often, those are not healthy or happy relationships, but because there is work to be done the client isn't' ready or willing to do, they feel they're still "connected on a very deep level." They are, but that doesn't change the fact that the relationship isn't particularly happy or healthy. There's also the fact that when twin flame partners define themselves by their relationship, they often have difficulty functioning when they're apart. This inability to function can often lead the individuals to believe they are nothing without their twin flame--something that is patently untrue. You are, and always will be, your own divine spark--your own flame so to speak--and while you may see increased light when you join up with another flame, you may be missing the fact that two flames burn through you and your energy faster than one and can be twice as destructive.
So why do some twin flame connections last while others burn out fast? It has everything to do with the shared trauma and how willing the partners are to work on it. If you and your twin flame partner are willing to do the individual internal work to heal your traumas, you have a better opportunity to come to the end of the lesson to be learned from the trauma at relatively the same time. When this happens, the connection between the partners can continue in a happier and healthier way. This is pretty rare, however. How many times have you gotten into a relationship with someone and known they were reluctant to work on their own issues while you dove into the healing pool head first?
What soulmate and twin flame connections have you had in your life? How did each type of connection work out for you? How might you approach a similar energetic connection in the future? What changes might you make to your expectations and actions?
Regan, Sarah. What's The Difference Between A Twin Flame & A Soul Mate? 13 Dec. 2020