Soul ties are not scientific, but the concept has become popular and embraced in recent years. Soul ties are defined as a spiritual and emotional connection between two people that develops through relationships, interactions, and romantic encounters (Bradley, 2022). In turn, soul ties can develop between family members, co-workers, friends, partners, and even pets. The bond shared through soul ties can be strong and long-lasting. While some soul ties are positive, others can lead to attachment to destructive and unhealthy relationships. For instance, soul ties have defined the new-age spirituality community, particularly those on social media platforms, like TikTok (Bradley, 2022).
Noteworthy, the concept of soul ties originated from New Age belief systems. Later, some Christian communities adopted it in their teachings. However, that does not mean that the concept is only applied to religious and spiritual beliefs; it can be applied by anyone. In the early 2000s, the concept gained popularity and was often used to drive efforts to help people recognize and break away from toxic and unhealthy relationships (Cuncic, 2023).
Soul ties often manifest as a sensation of basking in the afterglow of an intense and pleasurable relationship or sex. Although most people can have sex with anybody and feel nothing afterwards, soul ties happen when one "makes love," as making love takes the connection to a sacredly intimate level (Bradley, 2022). An individual can feel all types of emotions, including a deep and cosmic connection to a person they had sex with before. When such feelings manifest, it is often a sign that soul ties have already been formed. As a result, the person can continue to feel as if they were made for each other. Soul ties appear gradually after having sex or being physically intimate with someone, which can lead to a feeling of sharing a spiritual connection. However, negative soul ties can also emerge after having sex out of manipulation, anger, or force, intensifying a negative force and soul ties.
A multi-disciplinary Approach to how soul ties develop
Psychologists argue that people can form and strengthen soul ties by having emotional connections, which can gradually lead to sexual encounters. Arguably, sex tends to change dynamics between relationships and people (Bradley, 2022). Soul ties manifest when someone thinks constantly about another and cannot get that person off their mind, no matter how hard they try. Even when people are not in a committed relationship, soul ties make them dream about each other frequently. Besides, one tends to feel a strong attachment to the other person with such a deep connection, begging for a sense of attachment. Other people develop a sense that the two were meant to be together. In other cases, one may demonstrate an empathetic connection with another person with whom they have soul ties. The empathic connection comes from being in tune with their feelings and emotions, making mood shifts with theirs, and sometimes feeling physical pain when they have pain. In manifestation, soul ties lead people to react strongly to others, with emotions always being heightened around that person (Dreyfus & Latorre, 2022).
In other cases, one can have a strong reaction to the mention of their name or thoughts of them, which is symptomatic of soul ties. Besides, it can advance the desire to spend time together and get to know the other person better. A wish that the two are always together and an eagerness to know everything about the other person can probably reflect soul ties. In other cases, when someone tends to feel familiar and feels like they have known such a person forever despite only meeting for a short while, this is a sign of soul ties. Even when not in a relationship, soul ties can lead someone to show up for another at a pivotal time in their life. For instance, when someone has soul ties, they may attend and be there when that person experiences a loss, moves to new places, takes a new job, or starts a new school. As a result, emotional soul ties tend to form when two people express common feelings. The feelings can include love, and relationships can be platonic and also form when sharing a strong emotional experience together (Dreyfus & Latorre, 2022).
Biological anthropologists explain how feelings of cosmic connection develop through physical and physiological processes. For that matter, any genital stimulation with another person tends to drive up the dopamine system. Invariably, arguing that sex always results in a deep soul connection is fallacious and incorrect (Pettier, 2019). Once the hormone is released in the brain, it can push individuals to another threshold of falling in love. After falling in love, some people feel a connection and real soul ties. Accordingly, physical soul ties develop during sexual intercourse as the body releases oxytocin, which acts as a bonding hormone and links someone to their partner (Dreyfus & Latorre, 2022).
Spiritualists argue that soul ties develop as a result of a deep connection formed with someone after bonding at a spiritual level. Such soul ties emerge from close and intimate relationships. It brings two people together in mind, body, and spirit, which is reinforced by vows, promises, and commitments. For that matter, spiritual soul ties emerge when someone connects with another at a higher level to the extent of experiencing spiritual intimacy (Dreyfus & Latorre, 2022).
Soul ties have no basis in Scripture; hence not a biblical concept. The only verse that may suggest soul ties is Ephesians 5:31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (RSV)." However, not all soul ties are negative. The positive one can bring joy, support, and love between two people unlike the negative ones that cause trauma, emotional stress, and other physical illnesses (Smith, 2005). In a marriage set up, soul ties describe a situation where two people are attached to one another and can clearly define their identity with one another. The soul ties emerge as an energetic connection that develop through a process of shared emotions, actions, and experiences. For that matter, soul ties can also occur as a spiritual connection that is rooted deep causing someone to feel that they will always remain linked together.
Lastly, social soul ties can also occur and commonly manifest between friends, peers, and colleagues. Often, social soul ties occur through close relationships that develop between someone and people in their community (Dreyfus & Latorre, 2022).
While soul ties are often mentioned connotatively, there are healthy ties that tend to bring out the best in those involved. Healthy soul ties manifest when both partners feel empowered and confident. It may involve encouraging each other to become the best they can, offering them support, respect, and love through a reciprocating relationship. From a religious perspective, such expressions are considered godly soul ties, often between married couples. However, unhealthy soul ties do emerge, leading to toxic relationships. The expressions manifest through obsession with another person, feeling trapped in a relationship, or addiction to someone even despite being hurt and manipulated by them, which leads to unhealthy soul ties.
In conclusion, soul ties are complex feelings, expressions of connections, and relationships with another person. They can develop through physical, emotional, social, and spiritual processes. The concept became popular in the early 2000s and is still applicable to young people on TikTok, explaining how intense feelings develop or expressing their connection to significant others. While the term is often taken connotatively, it does not always mean all soul ties are bad and have negative outcomes. However, when the feelings manifest as obsession, manipulation, being trapped by hurting people, and being exploited, it reflects negative soul ties.