The Differences Between Your Twin Flame Vs. Soulmate, According To An Expert

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Have you met your twin flame? Would you know if you did?

There's a lot of confusion surrounding what "twin flame" means, how it's different from a soulmate, and exactly why our hearts long to find our twin flame.

Many people assume they've met their twin flame because they met and fell in love with their soulmate and have a deep connection. This soulmate relationship may be far from anything they had known — but that doesn't necessarily mean they've met their twin flame.

Confusing, right? Don't worry! We're here to answer your questions.

What is a twin flame?

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato described the concept of twin flames in his text "Symposium."

Plato wrote that Greek god Zeus took all primeval men and split them apart into two halves. One half represents the masculine, and the other represents the feminine essence.

Plato explained that, since then, these two halves constantly search for each other. The resulting "twin flames" represent a love that is liberated from the boundaries of the human condition.

When you cross paths with your twin flame, your life is never the same. The moment your eyes first meet, you feel as though this one person touches unknown depths of your soul and heart with a twin flame connection.

But while everyone has a twin flame, not many people meet them. And your twin flame is definitely not the same thing as a soulmate. In fact, you can have more than one soulmate, but there can only be one twin flame.

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What is a soulmate?

Soulmates are often mistaken for twin flames (and vice versa) upon first meeting one another. Both of these connections may feel so deeply rooted that they existed in a former life and were simply meant to be.

You may instantly connect on your shared moral system of beliefs, and you shouldn't be surprised if they happen to say whatever you're thinking out loud or complete your sentences.

But there are differences between these two types of people who come into your life. Unlike twin flames, two soulmates don't complete each other.

They are two complete people sharing a vision, looking ahead in the same direction. Soulmates are here to be your rock at certain times in your life.

Twin flames vs. Soulmates

1. Soulmates provide a steady, solid relationship.

Soulmates lend stability and strength to their relationship with you, and you are often so compatible that you always feel like you're in sync with each other. You two are able to develop a sound foundation for a friendship or romantic relationship that feels like a partnership.

2. Twin flames will challenge you.

While soulmates can make great friends and life partners, twin flames have the power to challenge you to be the best version of yourself.

Your twin flame is a mirror, exposing your weaknesses and areas for self-improvement. They encourage you to face these vulnerabilities head-on to achieve self-growth you might not otherwise have been able to see or confront.

3. Twin flames usually aren't here to stay.

Twin flames come into our lives to teach us these lessons, but the relationship isn't meant to last. Soulmates, on the other hand, can make great lasting companions in our lives, either as friends or romantic partners.

Even if you develop a relationship with your twin flame, soulmates will provide committed, enduring love that your twin flame is likely unable to give you. While twin flames may come into your life at different times, soulmates provide the steadiness that twin flames often can't.

4. Twin flames may tragically turn out to be toxic.

Soulmates lay the groundwork for healthier, long-term, committed relationships. Twin flames, however, on the way to leading you down the road to self-improvement, can also set you up for challenges that really test your boundaries and sense of self.

The intense relationship you experience with your twin flame is precarious because it's predisposed to codependency, toxic relationships, unhealthy competition, and other potential pitfalls. These intense relationships aren't always meant to last for long periods of time at once for a reason, and you should remain self-aware of this.

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Can soulmates be twin flames?

Yes! But they often are not.

I like to think about the soulmate relationship as a reward.

Living with your soulmate is natural and easy. You two are on the same page, and when issues arise, you move through them quickly and without much extra pain due to your soul connection.

A twin flame love is about everything but romance. Your twin souls don't make anything easy.

It pushes you to grow beyond your imagination. You enhance each other’s evolution and trigger the deepest wounds you didn’t know existed.

Your twin soul can also be someone who isn't a lover: a friend, a family member, or a non-romantic partner. After the initial phase of bliss, you go your separate ways to work on inner healing.

You'll sometimes feel that you’re losing your mind in a twin flame relationship. Your heart is bursting with unconditional love for your twin, and there has never been anything you ever wanted more than to be with them.

Yet at the same time, you instinctively feel that you can’t be together, which triggers the most intense pain you’ve ever felt.

Then you’ll come together for a short period, only to say goodbye to each other again. However, once you've completed this phase of self-growth and learned the lessons you were intended to learn, you can come back together and live in harmony — though it may not necessarily be romantic.

You may become friends or partners in life or business and projects. Or, you may simply drift apart. But that twin flame love doesn't end because it's actually a part of who you are.

If you are both soulmates and twin flames, your partnership will be easy and beautiful — like a soulmate relationship — once you've done all the work that a twin flame relationship requires, and you can connect on more of a soulmate level.

The dynamic is like a dance of fire when you feel attracted to each other’s light, and then your ego fears that it would get burned, so you run away. You may dance together for long years or decades without ever staying in each other’s presence for too long.

Distance and time don’t change anything about the magnitude of your connection. On the contrary, as you become more energetically aligned, you may feel an even stronger bond with your twin flame.

As you may see, meeting your twin flame isn’t the easiest path to walk. There is no guarantee that you’ll ever be together in a typical relationship. Moreover, this isn’t what the twin flame connection is about. It’s only the mind trying to label something that is beyond understanding.

Are twin flames meant to be lovers?

The answer to this is complicated.

Yes, twin flames can make amazing lovers for one another, inside and outside the bedroom. However, due to the emotional nature of being with your twin flame, the intensity of this connection can be too much to maintain a physical or romantic relationship.

Whether or not you make your twin flame your lover is something you must decide when you are in the moment, because you need to see where you are in the evolution of your twin flame relationship.

It's important to remember that the goal of your twin flame relationship is to grow as individuals, learn from one another, and find your own path — not simply to be together! With all that in mind, choose growth over comfort, even if you feel lonely.

RELATED: This Is How You'll Know When You Meet Your 'Twin Flame'

Which is better, twin flame or soulmate?

The answer to this lies in where you are in your life and what you're looking for. They are different types of relationships with different purposes.

Soulmates are simply about partnership and being in love (or loving one another in another way).

Twin flames are about challenge, growth, improvement, and fulfilling your potential.

But the truth is, you don't get to choose which one you meet, only which of these relationships you want to develop once you do meet.

Both a soulmate and a twin flame are a gift, and you're lucky to come across either one in your lifetime, though you may find more than one of each.

So, honestly, it doesn't really matter which is better! Seize the moment and enjoy the gifts either has to offer.

What is the goal of a twin flame relationship?

The primary goal of the twin flame relationship is to experience a liberated love. The liberated love is the love that goes far beyond any concepts, labels, and ideas of how a relationship should be. It surpasses any form and loves without conditions.

Your twin flame will unconsciously trigger all kinds of fears and insecurities related to your worth, inner light, and the meaning of your life and love.

Please note that they don’t want to hurt you — and you aren't trying to hurt them — they can only trigger the unconscious stuff already within you. They’ll do it over and over again until you understand what unconditional love means.

Unconditional love means they can send you away 100 times, cause you pain, and give you empty promises, but your heart doesn’t shut down. None of it impacts the way you feel about them and your love for them.

Keeping your heart wide open to this form of love has nothing to do with naivety; it’s mastery. And the "sending away" is (and should never be) manipulative, nor used as a form of punishment. If it feels abusive or cruel, that's not the love of a twin flame.

A twin flame relationship requires a combination of being present enough to recognize the flaws of human forms, both of others and our own. Yet it is also being able to see far beyond that.

You can realize that your twin flame is far from perfect. You’re not blind to their shortcomings, and perhaps you think that your relationship would never work because of that. Yet, simultaneously, your feelings for them stay unaffected by anything they do.

This unconditional love isn’t blind to the state of the world or the flaws of others. Rather, it is informed by a better understanding of the world after overcoming the lessons set forth by your twin flame.

RELATED: The 3 Soulmates You'll Meet In Your Lifetime (And The Purpose Of Each)

Thus, your twin flame will train you to drop any expectations and subconscious manipulation to get what you want — a romantic relationship with them.

There also comes the time when you’ll face the toughest decision of all — will I continue waiting for them? Or will I move ahead alone while continuing to love them?

The unconditional love that you may feel here and there will strengthen if you allow it. It’ll encompass others (not just your twin flame), nature, animals, the whole planet, and here it comes — the unconditional love will include you as well.

Therefore, there may come the choice between waiting for them or choosing yourself and creating a life without them.

At this point, people can make a mistake easily and move ahead, assuming they have it under control and the process is over.

Well, it’s not.

The key point here is to keep your heart open, because if you shut it down, you’ll feel lifeless.

When you try to shut down your feelings for your twin (which you can only succeed in doing for a little while, and only with much effort), you also cut yourself off from unconditional love. That’s why it never feels good.

From a higher perspective, moving ahead might be the thing that helps you to drop your expectations. But don’t ever think that this impacts the connection the two of you have.

Your bond and love rewrite the story of what love means.

It’s not the classical, romantic love that wants to possess the other person subconsciously. It’s the liberated, free love that exists when you don’t place any conditions on the other person, even if it hurts you, because you realize that pain comes from ego, not from pure love.

There are no attachments, neediness, possessiveness, control, or manipulation.

Your heart will be purging until you reach the point that you stop caring if you end up with your twin flame. You give them and yourself freedom, while not allowing anything to shut your heart down and never doubting the true love that exists between you.

This is true power and love.

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Sylvia Salow is an author, public speaker, soul healer, and life coach.

This article was originally published at Thought Catalog. Reprinted with permission from the author.