A definition of terminology is always necessary in order to gain a proper understanding and to engage in meaningful coherent dialogue. Otherwise, individual experiences that are unverifiable, as they are largely subjective, become the foundation for discussions that may represent more imagination than truth. Though real, experiences are not suitable to define ideological constructs. Words have objective meaning that speak to us all equally unlike personal experiences that are subject to the individual who had them. Let’s begin.
From my research, the term "soul ties" has little, if any, traceable presence in secular academia which makes perfect sense when it’s considered that the term gained its popularity and mass appeal when famed televangelist, Juanita Bynum, breathed life into those words in a sermon titled " No More Sheets” which catapulted her into the mainstream several years ago. Therefore, I will approach the subject from a biblical vantage point.
Here is the first mention of the word “soul’ in scripture. Interestingly, it was introduced at the creation of man. "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen 2: 7). The soul was not what gave man relevance. It was the body formed and the breath that God breathed into him, together, that made man a ‘living soul”. Thus, man himself is a soul. “Tie” means to attach, fasten or bind. Therefore, a “soul tie”, by definition, would be to attach, fasten or bind two people together.
The question then becomes, what ties souls together? Initially, soul ties were said to be the result of multiple sex partners from prior relationships. The idea of soul ties provided an explanation for any woman who found herself in a vicious cycle of toxic relationships. Her 'soul' was 'tied' to every man she had sex with in any prior relationship. Each man deposited his “spirit” in her which remained. The presence and effect of those spirits would wreak havoc in every relationship she entered thereafter. There are many problems with this assertion. For one, there is no biblical reference that suggests that a man’s spirit transfers into a woman during sexual intercourse.
There is no reference of any sexual transferring of spirits for the benefit of those married or to the detriment of those unmarried (fornication). Fornication, more specifically, is clearly spelled out in scripture as a deed of the flesh not the spirit (Colossians 3:5). If fornication from prior relationships has a residual negative effect on the unmarried, wouldn’t it stand to reason that sex for married couples would yield a residual benefit to the health of marriages? Any marriage in jeopardy would only need to increase the frequency of their sexual activity it would seem, if this proposition were followed to its logical conclusion.
There are other explanations that are not taken into consideration which do not require any violation of scripture or defiance of logic to be credible; factors such as how each failed relationship may have affected a woman, the relationship with her father (There are studies that go into depth on how a woman’s choices in men are directly related to her relationship with her father for better or for worse), the level of her self-worth which may suffer further degradation after each failed relationship, etc. These are only a few real considerations that are left out when soul ties are posited.
Oddly, emotions seem to take a back seat in this conversation if they're even mentioned at all. The effects of the emotions especially strong ones cannot be overlooked or ruled out. If souls are tied, there would have to be something that ties them together. The emotions should be the primary consideration. Emotional bonds are formed when two people share intimate space even without the inclusion of sexual intercourse. The emotions do not require sex to engage. In fact, emotions require very little other than time with a person one cares for. Relationships, at the least, allow time.
There is no secular or sacred foundation for a belief in the idea of soul ties. The only life breathed into a belief in soul ties lies within the imagination fueled by the very same emotions that make their existence unnecessary.