The twin flame is a concept that promotes an intense and powerful soul connection between two individuals. No scientific evidence supports the twin flame ideology, and some traits can draw comparisons with toxic relationships.

The twin flame is a fairly new concept often mistaken to be synonymous with the term soulmate. While both describe a profound, life changing relationship, the two concepts are entirely different.

While there are plenty of anecdotes from people who claim to have found their twin flames, no evidence proves the existence of twin flames.

Twin flames, also called “mirror souls,” are terms used to describe a relationship ideology rooted in new-age spiritualism.

The concept has seen increased popularity in recent times. It promotes the idea of an intense soul connection between two people thought to be each other’s half. This is based on the premise that one soul can incarnate into two separate bodies.

These individuals claim to experience a deep soul connection because of a shared similar life path and shared pain, and sometimes even trauma. Because individuals are fundamentally similar to their twin flame, they function like a spiritual mirror that reflects each other’s strengths, weaknesses, past traumas, and vulnerabilities.

Elizabeth Clare Prophet coined the term in the 1970s. Prophet is the leader and founder of an international New Age religious organization called The Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT). She also published the book Soul Mates and Twin Flames: The Spiritual Dimension of Love and Relationships.

However, the concept can be traced to the fifth century BC. According to Greek mythology, humans originally had a head with two faces, two pair of arms, and two pair of legs. However, Zeus feared their power and split them into two separate parts. The pair spends their lives in search of their other half.

Literature and internet content on this ideology may claim there are several signs a person has met their twin flame. However, people should be aware that no scientific studies or research supports these claims.

Some of these signs include:

  • An intense sense of familiarity, recognition, and longing: When a person encounters their twin flame, there will be an extreme sense of recognition and familiarity. People may feel an intense bond as though they have known each other for a long time.
  • Strong sense of connection: There is also an intense connection and a strong sense of belonging and yearning. This connection may be platonic, romantic, familial, or even professional. Regardless of the type, a significant connection pulls a person toward the other.
  • Multiple similarities: Twin flames may hold similar values, use the same moral compass, and have similar interests. They may also mirror each other’s past experiences. They may not be exactly the same, but both may have experienced neglect, abandonment, or violence.
  • Differences complement each other: Traits and characteristics that are not similar tend to complement each other. Moreover, the differences in each other’s trauma and circumstances also help them process their trauma and, in turn, grow and heal from them.
  • Amplification of insecurities, fears, and doubts: While seeing a person’s soul in their twin flame’s reflection can bring familiarity and comfort, it can also serve as a mirror that shows a person the things they are not ready to face. This includes flaws, fears, insecurities, and unprocessed trauma. A twin flame encourages a person to deal with and grow from them.
  • Inspiration to grow and be better: The purpose of a twin flame relationship is to help a person reach personal transformation and soul growth. Meeting a twin flame may ignite an untapped potential and passion within a person. The individuals may teach each other profound lessons and help them grow to their best potential.
  • Presence of tension: Twin flames can reopen unhealed wounds and revisit avoided issues that a person would rather not confront. There may also be a constant tension as both grow and heal from the relationship.

Popular resources on this theory claim that twin flame relationships happen in stages, similar to other relationships. There are no studies that back up these claims.

These stages include:

Yearning stage

This stage involves a strange sensation of yearning where a person feels like a part of their life is missing. Others also describe a premonition stage where a person feels like they are about to meet a very significant person in their life.

Meeting stage

This stage involves meeting the other person and feeling an instant connection. People typically describe this as an intense experience.

Falling in love stage

Intense emotions characterize this stage as the individuals are thrilled and ecstatic to connect and discover each other. In romantic relationships, both individuals fall deeply in love with each other.

In nonromantic relationships, this involves a deepening connection without the presence of an intimate desire or passion.

Honeymoon period

This stage involves a deepening connection that leads to a sense of euphoria. Individuals will forge a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond.

Turmoil or testing period

The initial honeymoon stage wears off, and each person begins to see the other’s flaws. There are suddenly differences in personality, opinions, and interests.

Old wounds emerge, and each person mirrors the other’s most profound insecurities. Each may challenge and provoke the other and cause turbulence in the relationship.

Runner and chaser

As the tension rises, each twin flame carries separate roles. One, the “runner,” tries to escape the relationship. They may begin to withdraw emotionally or distance themselves physically. In extreme cases, this may last days to weeks and lead to permanent separation.

The other person, or the “chaser,” tends to be more emotionally and mentally mature and tries to sort and fix the issues.

Surrender and dissolution

After a period of provocation, turmoil, and distress, the twin flames will be comfortable with vulnerability and open their wounds and insecurities before each other.

As both their egos relax, a person learns lessons about their nature and that of the other. Each works out their differences, which further deepens and strengthens their relationship. They begin to heal from their past traumas and grow from them.


As the previous issues and problems become tolerable and easy to manage, the individuals enter a stage of acceptance where there is more empathy and understanding in the relationship. In this stage, it is common for twin flames to find a shared passion, cause, or meaning.

There is no scientific evidence to support the concept of twin flames.

The twin flame ideology is a theoretical spiritual concept. As with other spiritual concepts, some people may say it is difficult to study and measure because it is nonpredictable and nonmeasurable.

Scientific studies rely on factual, repeatable, and observable data. Meanwhile, the twin flames are a spiritual ideology. Most anecdotal evidence in support of it is emotionally-charged and relies heavily on personal experience, making it difficult to assess objectively.

Learn more about the neuroscience of religious beliefs.

The twin flame ideology is ultimately a concept, and some theoretical stages may share similarities with unhealthy or toxic relationship traits.

People may use the ideology as an excuse for toxic behavior. However, in healthy relationships, people try not to intentionally hurt or abuse others.

Literature on the concept describes twin flame relationships as turbulent, intense, and highly emotional. This cycle of turbulence and intensity may draw comparisons with toxic relationship dynamics.

The runner and chaser stage shares similarities with emotionally abusive relationship traits like stonewalling and gaslighting. Contemporary spiritual communities and forums promote that runners in this dynamic are commonly males, while females are often chasers. This presumption may promote antiquated gender stereotypes.

The runner chaser dynamic could also draw comparisons with a person with an avoidant attachment relationship style. A person with this attachment style may avoid emotional closeness in relationships, withdraw, and cope with difficult emotional situations alone.

Individuals may also develop a codependent relationship where one’s self-worth becomes dependent on their worth as defined by the relationship. A person may love unconditionally and overlook another’s negative behaviors and red flags.

A person who believes in the concept may also feel the need to dig up their twin flame’s past traumas and heal them. However, a person should not feel responsible for healing another person’s trauma. People dealing with past trauma may need professional help to heal and resolve their issues.

Learn more about types of therapy.

New Age literature and contemporary spiritual communities believe that the essence of twin flames is a journey of empowerment, expansion, and growth.

However, there may be certain dynamics in twin flames that share similarities with emotionally abusive relationships. For example, there is a tendency for one person to lose their identity and derive it from their twin flame, a dynamic seen in codependent relationships.

In abusive relationships, there can be a tendency for a person to feel burdened to endure and stay in the relationship. If a person subscribes to the twin flame ideology, there is a danger they may feel obligated to stay with someone displaying toxic or abusive behavior.

The chaser and runner followed by the surrender stage may draw comparisons to cycles of abuse. This stage repeats because twin flames are said to trigger each other. This is similar to the cycle of abuse where there are episodes of tension, followed by an incident of abuse, then reconciliation and calm.

Below are some warning signs and red flags that a person may be an abuser, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV):

  • possessiveness
  • extreme jealousy
  • bad temper
  • cruelty to animals
  • verbal abuse
  • antiquated beliefs about the gender roles in relationships
  • forced sex or disregard for a person’s unwillingness to have sex
  • extremely controlling behavior
  • sabotage of partner’s birth control methods or refusal to honor agreed-upon methods
  • blaming behavior
  • controls all finances
  • accusations about partner flirting or having an affair

Learn more about other signs of emotional abuse here.

The concept of a soulmate is one where a person deeply connects with a different person. Meanwhile, a twin flame is a person’s soul incarnated or split into another physical body. Because of this, a person can only have one twin flame while they can have multiple soulmates.

Both relationships can be familial, platonic, romantic, and deep. Meaningful connections characterize both.

Soulmates are naturally compatible and complement each other well. Meanwhile, twin flames are strongly attracted to each other but have too many similarities, which makes them not that compatible.

While soulmates feel more supportive and comfortable, twin flames can be more intense and challenging. They expose people’s fears and traumas to help them grow, heal from their past wounds, and be awakened to a higher calling.

A person in a toxic or abusive relationship may and should get help, especially if they have been in cycles of abuse.

They may seek individual counseling or undergo therapy to help them process the relationship. These professionals may also help work through a person’s past and traumas, which can affect their relationship with others.

Discover how to find a therapist here.

A person may call the National Domestic Violence Hotline if their safety is on the line. They may also turn to their friends or family or find a nearby domestic violence shelter to keep them safe.

Below are some frequently asked questions about twin flames.

Which zodiacs are twin flames?

In astrology, there is a belief that the following are complementary twin flame zodiac signs:

  • Aries and Libra
  • Taurus and Scorpio
  • Gemini and Sagittarius
  • Cancer and Capricorn
  • Leo and Aquarius
  • Virgo and Pisces

Do twin flames fall in love at first sight?

According to twin flame theory, when twin flames meet there is an instant and intense connection. Some describe it like love at first sight but much more than just a physical attraction.

A twin flame involves two people who share the same soul. Once these twin flames meet, this results in an intense, magnetic attraction and connection.

These individuals share similar past experiences and trauma. Their similarities and differences force each to confront their own fears and insecurities and grow from them.

However, there is no scientific evidence proving their existence. Despite this, spiritual leaders and some psychologists claim the phenomenon to be real.

The danger of this concept is that people may use it to justify codependent and abusive behaviors in a relationship. People may also engage in harmful behaviors in search of their twin flame.

A person who thinks they have found their twin flame may ask for the help of experts who can guide them with their relationship.