Protect against Title IX and submit a comment by September 12, 2022.

The US Department of Education released their proposed changes to Title IX regulations that would dramatically change the future for women and girls in federally funded activities and programs. There are many negative impacts that will harm girls, women, and families.

A government portal has been set up for you to make a comment submission.  It is very straight-forward and easy to do.  In addition, this governmental body is required to read every submission, large and small – before they can finalize the new “Rule.”  So rest assured, your input will be read and considered.


March 4, 2024

By Annie Wood

A few acknowledgements before we begin with this field guide. First, dating is a jungle. Second, this is not the dating scene from years gone by. Meeting people organically at the grocery store or post office is akin to hoping your laundry comes out of the dryer perfectly folded. Ain’t happening. Third and final acknowledgment, I know you don’t love online dating. Frankly, none of us love it. We just accept that it is here to stay and it’s time to make it work for us.  

Tip #1

Pick the right app. All dating apps are not created equal. Some are for working professionals. Some are for hook ups. (Looking at you, Tinder) Some are designed for women to initiate first contact. Some are based on lengthy personality questionnaires. And a lot of them have free versions plus a premium subscription. Here is a handy list that categorizes the apps based on your desired outcome. My husband and I met on a dating app. True Story. We were both 40 years old, had 3 kids, and had been divorced from our respective first spouses about 2 years prior to swiping right. He likes to tell me I’m the best thing he’s ever found on the internet. 

Tip #2 

Be smart and safe. Meet in public places. Do some fact checking. Google is here for a reason. And it’s to facilitate a deep dive of dating partners. There should be zero hesitation typing their name into a search bar. This internet research task can also be crowd sourced. No one is better prepared than your inner circle to tackle the roll of FBI investigator in your dating life. Another way to be smart and safe is to share your location and plans. Before every single date, I texted my bestie a photo of the guy I was meeting, his first and last name, where we were meeting and what time I would check in with her later that night. Every. Single. Time. Don’t end up on the 10:00 news. 

A trick

Here’s the thing with online dating. It can be overwhelming to get all the notifications from the apps about your matches, who commented on your photo, or any new messages from Mr. Handsome in Las Vegas.  Dating is a part of your life, not your whole life. This is how I kept online dating in check. I treated it like a job. I set myself office hours. When it was my “dating office hours,” I could check my profile settings, scroll for any new prospects, and message back the ones I found interesting. Dating needs to be intentional. I intentionally managed my dating life and kept it from overwhelming me. 

A secret shortcut

You know that feeling when you’re meeting a friend and you’re genuinely excited to see them? You can have that feeling when you meet your date for the very first time. Yes, we can ditch the upset stomach, sweaty palms, and anxiety laden first dates. The shortcut to feeling like friends before the first date is to talk on the phone and FaceTime. Do this at least a few times before the first date. My husband and I had logged 8 hours of FaceTime in a week before we meet in person the first time. While I was driving to meet him, I knew that at least we had great conversations and if nothing else materialized from this date, I had made a new friend. Notice I did not say to text a lot. Sure, send some texts, those are super fun. But the serious game changer is actual live conversation. It’s important to hear their voice, have real time back and forth banter, and grow a connection. Live conversations increase empathy and provide opportunities to share experiences. The purpose of online dating is to meet in real life. No one wants an eternal pen pal. Yes, dating is a jungle. But implementing these tips, tricks and a secret shortcut can be like putting a machete in your hand, providing you with the tool to come off conqueror.  

Annie Wood is an intern at United Families International.