If you're single, you may find yourself dreaming of the day you'll finally meet your life partner. After all, there's something undeniably appealing about finding a person who can be by your side through all of the highs and lows that life has to offer. But how do you know when you've met your "other half"? Often referred to as a soulmate or a "twin flame," not everyone believes in the concept that there are two people out there who are made for each other — but if you're open to the idea of finding a soul-level connection with someone, knowing the signs that you've met your twin flame can't be a bad thing.

To find out everything you need to know about the twin flames — including if they really exist, how they're different than soulmates, and how to know when you've met yours — Woman's Day spoke with two top relationship experts.

Meet the Experts:

  • Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a licensed educational psychologist and board-certified behavior analyst with over 20 years of experience.
  • Bonnie Scott is the founder of Mindful Kindness Counseling and a therapist in private practice who specializes in relationships of all types.

What is a twin flame?

The definition of "twin flame" can vary depending on who you talk to, but Patel says that a twin flame is someone that you have "a deep soul connection" with, who essentially functions as "your other half." For those who are spiritual, Patel shares that a twin flame can also be described as "a fragment of you" or "another incarnation of you."

Similarly, Scott explains that the concept of a twin flame is based on the idea that two people are "half of the same soul or energy" — one soul that's been split into two bodies. While twin flame relationships can be intense, more than anything, your twin flame should make you feel safe, respected, and like your truest self.

Twin flame vs. soulmate — what's the difference?

"'Twin flame' is often used interchangeably with 'soulmate,' but is generally seen as more specific," says Scott. "A person might have lots of soulmates — friends, family, romantic and non-romantic partners — but only one twin flame, usually a romantic partner."

And according to Patel, twin flames generally have a "prior recognition," unlike soulmates, which typically refers to "two different souls coming together and meeting." When twin flames find one another, "there [are] intense feelings and recognition of [already] knowing one another."

Are twin flame relationships real?

Well, that depends on who you ask. But many believe that twin flames are real, in a way. "You [go through life] looking for someone who is ideally suited for you," Patel says. "Think about comments people make like, ‘They are made for each other,’ or ‘They are a great match’ — that is a soulmate."

In other words: You don't have to necessarily be a spiritual person to believe in the idea of a perfect partner. The intensity of a connection between two people can be very, very real — so while twin flames and soulmates might not be "real" in the way they're typically described, the sentiment behind the concept is.

"We can feel very intense connections with others that can feel like 'fate' or 'coming home' and that's a lovely feeling," Scott says. "Likely, it's that parts of your nervous system are recognizing parts of another nervous system with lots of similarities, like childhood experiences, ideas, beliefs, and hopes." However, Scott adds that these types of feelings can also develop during trauma bonding, where traumatized nervous systems recognize each other. That's why it's important to focus on more than just intense feelings or shared traumatic experiences when developing a healthy and safe relationship.

What are the signs you've met your twin flame?

According to Patel and Scott, there are a several ways to know that you've found your twin flame:

  1. You feel calm and at ease with the person.
  2. You share a deep, judgement-free connection.
  3. You're both willing to make sacrifices, as well as look beyond superficial qualities.
  4. This person feels like they are on your team.
  5. They are rooting for you and excited when you grow.
  6. They are respectful of your boundaries.
  7. When you are with them, you have fun and feel supported and accepted.
  8. You see the good parts of yourself in this person.
  9. They never make you feel manipulated, ignored, or gaslighted.
  10. You have more in common than just trauma history.
  11. Your friends/family/trusted folks don't point out any red flags you may have missed.

Looking to these signs can allow you to navigate any intense emotions in a way that feels safe and fosters self-compassion.

What are some ways to find your twin flame?

As you navigate the dating scene to find your perfect match, you'll want to ask yourself the following questions to find your twin flame, according to Patel:

  • Do you feel an immediate bond?
  • Does this person fee like home?
  • Does this person challenge you in a good way?
  • Do you support each other's hobbies, jobs, and future goals?
  • Do you both get along with the people in your lives that you care most about?

More than anything, though, it's important to get to know yourself (and your triggers) before you try to find a soulmate or twin flame, Scott emphasizes. "Recognize your own authentic self energy to make sure you can still find it even in an intense relationship. Participate in your community so you have more chances to find this person," Scott says. "And don't limit yourself to waiting until something feels 'perfect.' A twin flame is, after all, just an idea — and you don't want to miss something great because you're limiting what you're open to."

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