Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson in a Golf Cart at Palm Springs

This weekend we are heading off to Palm Springs! It’s that time of year where we will do just about anything to get out of the Portland rain and gloom. This weekend is actually going to be our kickoff party for a country club Brandon belongs to called Big Horn. Big Horn is a golfer’s paradise and Brandon absolutely loves this place. For 20 years, he has been a member at this club and has countless memories here with his friends and family. He lights up every single time we drive through the entrance and is in a good mood the entire time. In many ways, it feels like home to him. But it’s very much his place – not mine.

So how do I fit in?

For all of my ladies out there – let’s talk about how you integrate into places where you might not be the first… if you know what I mean. You know – the places where he used to spend time with his exes. Where you need to insert yourself into the life he’s already built. Restaurants. Country clubs. Preexisting Friendships. All of It.

The gist is: It’s not his job to make you feel comfortable. It’s yours.

Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson Kiss at Palm Springs Golf Course

A LOT of women go through this. Like a lot a lot. It isn’t at all unique challenge to age gaps relationships. It fits into most couple’s stories. But there is an age gap nuance that I think is important to recognize: people will automatically assume you are his midlife crisis. You’re young. He’s old. Let’s have a moment of silence to take in all the judgment and criticism and negativity that people will project on you.

Feel better?

Okay good. Now that we’ve felt sorry for ourselves, let’s let that go and figure out how to be badass boss chicks that aren’t phased by the bullshit.

My queen, Erika Girardi, gets into this in her memoir, A Pretty Mess. She met her husband, Tom Girardi while she was waitressing, trying to make ends meet out in LA. They met, fell in love, and then she started showing up to his golf club – not as a waitress, but as a member. Just months before, she had been waiting on the country club patrons at the restaurant she worked out. Then all of the sudden, she was one of them. Did she back down, feel insecure, and play small? OF COURSE NOT. She made this new life her own and was unapologetic that she was there. If she can do it, so can you.

Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson in a Golf Cart at Palm Springs

How To Integrate Into Your Partner’s Life Before You

Don’t Over Think It

The honest truth is: people are not that interested in your life. We’re all self-interested and everyone has their own issues to obsess over. No one is that interested in your life. Stop working yourself into a tizzy about what other people are thinking. What they’re saying. What the new gossip is. Get over yourself. It’s never about you.

“But Natalie, I know they are talking about me and don’t like me” Okay. So let’s play that out. IF people are spending their precious time on this planet gossiping about you, why would you let that bring you down? I love the quote “A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinion of sheep” BE THE FUCKING LION. YOU ARE THE LION. Give it no energy. Don’t even feel sad that they have nothing more important going on. That’s their character flaw. Not yours. We can only care about so many things so don’t wasting YOUR precious time. Move along.

Never Utter a Word About His Exes

This is cardinal rule number one. In a situation where you’re the newbie, it is not the time to share your opinions of his exes. Honestly, there’s never really a situation where you need to bring up his past relationships because they don’t concern you. Not talking at all about this is a best practice and is especially important with new people who love gossip and want to hear the juicy details. Don’t bother giving into the bait. You are living your life. On your terms. Bringing the old into the new is a recipe for disaster. This goes for if you like his exes or not. Your opinion on the matter is irrelative. Keep your mouth shut and give people something to talk about as it relates to your future. Not his past.

Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson in a Golf Cart at Palm Springs

Show Up

Go to everything. Say yes to everything that sounds interesting. Book club. Pickleball Tournaments, Open houses. Dinners. Just say yes and go. You will never regret showing up and having a great time. If you’re feeling afraid, take a little extra time beforehand to make sure you feel fabulous. Read more on my tips on that here.

Decide Who You Want to Keep In Your Life

There seems to be some kind of assumption in these age gap relationships that you’re going to follow his past into your future. It can absolutely feel that way. But no. This is not a long term plan for success. So let’s flip that script. Take control of the relationships in your joint lives. The honest truth is: just because he likes them, doesn’t mean you need to as well. He can have his friends and you can have yours. Brandon and I regularly take  an objective look at the people in our lives and actively filter which friendships to nurture and which to let go of. This can feel a bit clinical but we will never get where we want to go while simultaneously hanging onto people who drain us.

Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson in a Golf Cart at Palm Springs

Find Your People

They are out there. Believe this in your core. Find them. Nurture your relationships. And don’t let them go. New environments are challenging and integrating into your partner’s world can be discouraging and overwhelming. But don’t forget your end goal: to find your people. And remember: It is okay to grow out of people. Especially the unsupportive and uninspired ones. I actually encourage you to do this. If you’re going to create the life you want together, you need to take a good hard look at the people who are by your side. Who is cheering you on? Who shows up and is supportive? Keep them. They are the good ones and make sure they know it. Who are the ones you feel obligated to spend time with and drain your energy? The ones who are living in the past? Identify who they are and stop wasting your time.

Make it Your Own

Initially, I never thought I’d feel comfortable in his places. It seemed like they would always feel like his and never mine. But then I remembered: feeling this way is my choice. And this particular choice was based on my broken thinking. I get to look at situations however I want. And no one is holding my mind captive and preventing me from being positive. So my options were: be a victim and feel like I would never fit in OR make it my own and see it as an opportunity to connect with new people and share it with the people I love. This is a no brainer. Option 2. All day. Every day.

Natalie Workman & Brandon Dawson in a Golf Cart at Palm Springs

I’ve made an intentional effort to make his things be our things through sharing them with my friends and family, on my terms. This weekend, we both get to share Big Horn with our families as two of his daughters, his mom, and my parents are all joining us to celebrate opening weekend.

This is our life and were creating it on our terms.

See you after the long weekend, loves.

Xoxo Natalie


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