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  • Te Huihui Tran

Soul Ties: Yeah or Nah ?

Discussed by Te Huihui Tran (he/him), Taranakai, Ngāti Maruwharanui


Human connections are super complex, and the idea of ‘soul ties’ is beautiful but also a big deal, especially for the older crowds and in religious communities. They often believe in sticking with one partner for life in a way that is tied to deep moral, cultural, and spiritual beliefs. They believe intimacy can only be shared between two people, deeply in love with each other. However, as a young person grappling with the complexities of modern relationships, love and sex, I find myself challenging this traditional perspective.


Increasingly, I am recognising the need for a wider understanding of intimacy, one that integrates both the magic of connection and the realities of our ever-evolving society. The idea of keeping relationships sacred and stable by sticking with one person for the rest of your life might be somewhat outdated; I think we need to look at things with fresh eyes, valuing deep bonds but also understanding what rangatahi from this generation want on their journey of exploring themselves. I’m not speaking on behalf of every young person and not universally saying “let’s normalise sleeping around”, merely sharing what I’ve learnt from myself and many others. 


Older generations, often shaped by conservative values and religious beliefs, uphold the sanctity of soul ties as a cornerstone of lasting relationships. They argue that forming deep emotional and spiritual connections with a single partner enhances the sacredness of the bond, creating a lasting and meaningful relationship. To 

some of them, the idea of one-night stands and casual encounters might seem “disgusting”. Their perspective seeks to preserve the sanctity of intimacy, and promote stability through commitment. 


On the flip side, us young folks often feel that the old-school rules about soul ties can be too tight. Nowadays, with society changing and people valuing their freedom more, a lot of us want the space to try out different relationships. Swiping on dating apps is the go-to entertainment for some people. You know, we don’t have to be deeply in love with someone to have sex—it can just be something that our body and mind want to experience. We think that both the short-term flings and long-term bonds teach us a lot about who we are and how we connect with people. Breaking away from the old ways to enjoy a more open style of relationships is really what a lot of us are all about. 


Within this clash of ideals, the issue of sexually transmitted infections emerges as a critical point of consideration. The emphasis on committed relationships, as advocated by older generations, is often linked to the concern for physical health and the prevention of STIs. It is totally understandable: the idea is that being exclusive to a single partner reduces the risk of exposure to infections. And obviously, the younger

generation, while enjoying freedom and keeping ourselves “busy”, is not oblivious to the risks associated with casual encounters. Education and open communication about safe practices become essential in addressing this concern, fostering responsible decision-making and a comprehensive approach to our hauora. 


As relationships change, we're all trying to figure out what it means to really grow up. The older folks might think sticking to traditional values is what growing up is all about, like a milestone of becoming mature and responsible. But for many rangatahi, being mature means making choices based on our own life experiences and what we learn about ourselves. The big challenge is mixing the old-school wisdom with our own 

freedom to choose our paths. Both old and young have to deal with balancing traditions with today's relationship vibes. Older people need to see that relationships now come in all shapes, while the young ones should see that there's good stuff in sticking to some of the classic values, which can make relationships really last. At the end of the day, we're all about connecting with others, right? Talking about soul ties shows there's a big difference between generations. Throwing in the mix things like STIs and growing up just makes it all more complicated. Therefore, it is super important that everyone needs to respect all the different views out there and find a way for the old and new to vibe together. And on top of all of that, be safe.


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