#howimend: Crystal Barnes On Mending After A 15-year Relationship


By Kate Paguinto

We have interviewed so many incredible people for our #howimend series, and we are so excited to feature one of our Menders today.

As a POP Pilates certified instructor, Crystal Barnes has a passion for fitness, healthy eating and her Boston Terrier, Petey. Crystal gave us some insight into how she dealt with the end of a 15-year relationship, and how focusing on self improvement helps her stay #onthemend.

If you think back to the first time you were heartbroken, what advice would you give to that younger version of yourself?

"He's not worth the tears. Work on yourself and find self love."

What has heartbreak taught you about yourself?

"That I am a lot stronger than I could ever imagine. That it's not as scary to be alone as I once thought it would be. That I am enjoying this time with myself, for myself."

What are your rituals during a breakup?

"Put things away that remind you of your ex. Photos, gifts, clothes. Keep them out of sight for a while (or forever). Self care is very important at this time. Making sure you are resting, eating well and getting exercise.

Listening to podcasts really helped with my healing. I have learned so much about myself during this time. It's been an amazing opportunity for personal growth that otherwise would not have happened. Some of the podcasts that really helped me understand myself better are Help Me Be Me, Mental Illness Happy Hour, Love is Like a Plant, and That's Deep Bro.

My girlfriends truly helped me along the way as well. They still do. They have been my sounding board. Getting out of the house, seeing friends and family is also important.

Start a new hobby that includes people. For me it was calisthenics. I got out of my comfort zone and met an amazing group of people. They have since become my fit fam.

I used the Mend app the moment it was released. I followed the free Heartbreak cleanse each day for a week. Even though I had/have contact with my ex daily I still felt I was benefiting from the daily audio training. The app is how I found the Menders Facebook group. This group of people have been an amazing community. I have received loving advice and a shoulder to lean on. Reading the articles that Mend publishes or that the Menders post in the group have truly helped as well. Using this time to learn and understand oneself is necessary during this time and always, really."

Thinking back to breakups you’ve had, did you have any breakup vices (checking your ex’s Insta, etc) and how do you conquer them?

"Social media is a big one. It's hard not to and so easy to do. I remember the last time I did and I felt physically ill. I just said to myself OK this isn't healthy or healing. I need to stop. Then whenever I thought about doing it, I would remember the last time and how it felt. If that wasn't enough I would text a girlfriend and let them know. They would then help set me straight."

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about love so far in your life?

"That it takes work and effort from both parties. To not take it or your partner for granted. That it's worth it."

Do you think exes can be friends? Do you stay friends with your exes on social media?

"This is a tough one and really depends on the people and situation. For myself we share custody of our dog. So we are still friends because of him. I think if that wasn't the case I would take time and space for myself. Once I had that time to myself then I could come back to being friends. He's been a big part of me for almost half my life so its hard to completely let that person go.

There really isn't a yes or no, black or white answer to this. I think you need to keep mindful about what is healing and helpful to you during this new journey. I think with social media it's best to unfriend, at least in the beginning. You need space, you need time to heal and seeing this person on your feed or liking your stuff is not going to help you with that. Only once you are strong and moved on then maybe go back to being friends if that is something you wish to do."

What keeps your heart open, despite the heartbreaks you’ve had in your life?

"This breakup is what opened my heart up, funny enough. It was the wake up that I needed. Being vegan gives me compassion for all living beings and that too keeps my heart open."

What is your favorite song about heartbreak?

"Blue Skies by Noah And The Whale"

What is your favorite movie about heartbreak?

"Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

What projects are you currently working on, and looking forward to most?

"I am working with my fit fam, Cali.sthenics. We are currently working on getting some training videos up, doing free classes every Sunday and the big goal of opening up a gym.

I became a certified POP Pilates instructor this year (which sadly took a backseat during this breakup) so my goal for next year is to start teaching classes in a studio or gym. I am excited for the future."

"Take this time to really get to know yourself, reflect. Be single for a while. Use this time to learn more about you, your wants and needs. Heal your heart and find that self love. Think of this as a gift you have been given."

writer photo

Kate Paguinto

Kate is a Content Strategist and co-owner of Dizzy Cactus. She likes puns, Wes Anderson, and the Oxford comma.

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