A lot can happen in 40 days. Even more can happen in 133 days — that's how long it's been since NYC friends Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman, creators of the blog 40 Days of Dating, finished their now-viral experiment. The friends-turned-lovers released the final installment of their blog on Friday, revealing that they chose to go their separate ways, but remain friends, when the 40 days came to a close on April 28.
Walsh and Goodman found themselves falling for each other, going to couples therapy, taking a vacation, fighting, making up and ultimately breaking up during the course of the 40 days. Still, readers were left wondering whether the end was really the end, especially after Goodman revealed in his very last paragraph that he was in love with Walsh.
Metro caught up with Walsh and Goodman to find out where they are now and whether they've found their way back to each other. They dished about what it was like to read each other's accounts of the breakup, the haters, the possibility of "40 Days" hitting Hollywood and new relationships in their lives.
Metro: What was it like to see this project come to a close online? Was it bittersweet to have that last entry go live?
Jessica Walsh: I have mixed feelings about it. The project happened over four months ago, and as we posted the daily entries day by day, it felt in some strange way that I had to relive that chapter of my life again with the public weighing in. It felt a little surreal. While I am so glad that the project reached so many people and seemed to touch so many people, it is also nice to close that chapter and focus on the present.
Timothy Goodman: It was difficult, yet cathartic, to relive the whole experience for the second time — particularly with an audience watching.
Jessica, what was your reaction when you read Tim's account of those last couple days — especially when you read that he was in love with you?
Walsh: I was shocked. It was very strange to hear months after the experiment was over that he was in love with me; I had no idea he felt that way.
Tim, what was your reaction when you read Jessica's account of those last couple days — did you purposely include that cliffhanger of being in love with her at the end to leave the door open?
Goodman: No, it's how I felt then. It was very profound to go through that experience with someone. The entire experience was layered with emotions and complications. It was enthralling and heartbreaking simultaneously.
Did you have different expectations for how the project would end?
Walsh: No. I truly had no idea what would happen at the end of the experiment. We certainly had no idea the blog would go viral, or that there would be so much interest from Hollywood. While exciting, it's been overwhelming. We are evaluating options, but the most important thing to us is maintaining the integrity and honesty of what we originally created with the blog. We have no interest in just taking a paycheck. Much has happened since the 40 days between Tim and me, and we have numerous fans demanding to hear an account of what has happened. We are likely going to work on a book version of the blog that will elaborate on the 40 days, and detail what took place after.
Goodman: I think we probably did, but I can't speak for Jessica. I wanted to use the parameters of the experiment to gain insight into my habits and fears. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
You have gotten a ton of feedback from your followers. So many people love the blog, but many others consider it self-promotional. What do you say to the critics of your experiment?
Walsh: We approached the experiment in an honest attempt at self-reflection. We wanted to learn as much as we could about relationships and love, and use each other as catalysts to overcome our fears and insecurities. We weren't even sure we wanted to release it online. It was only after the experiment was over, when we started to compare our first few journal entries side by side, that we thought the public might find it interesting. We knew our problems were many peoples' problems, and had a feeling some people might relate. We had no idea the blog would go viral.
People will believe what they want about it being self-promotional, and some will hate it; they are entitled to those opinions. I didn't expect everyone to like it. However, 98 percent of the messages we receive are positive. We've received thousands of emails from all around the world about how our story has touched people's lives. Some say it made them reevaluate their own relationships; others say it gave them the courage to go to therapy. Some people say it's given them the courage to date their best friend who they've always had a crush on. Others say it's prompted self-reflection on their own patterns and behaviors. We've had people write about how enlightening it is to see the male/female perspective. We've heard numerous people write about how much they can relate to our fears and insecurities, and how that has comforted them. Reading these emails is amazing. It's incredible to put something out in the world that touches people.
Goodman: We tried to do it with as much sincerity as possible, which is why we didn't do it live or share our posts during the experiment. We knew our stories weren't unlike a lot of people's, and releasing this was a way to potentially connect to others. Besides, why is what we did any different than what a songwriter, filmmaker or poet does? We put our lives into our work.
What were things like between you on day 41? Have you kept closely in touch?
Walsh: I remember calling Tim and he was very depressed. I was sad but felt relief and hope. I was excited to take some time to focus on friends, family, work, and some time for myself. It was a relief not to have to document my every move every day.
Goodman: I was depressed after the project. It felt like a real breakup. We are extremely close — and for good and bad, there is no filter between us now. Now we've become business partners as we're interested in creating a book about our experience and a web-based community platform for others to participate in this experience. So we see a lot of each other.
Everyone is dying to know — did you end up getting back together? If not, do you ever see yourselves dating again in the future?
Walsh: No, but we remained friends. I am in a relationship with an amazing guy named Zak. I am very, very happy.
Goodman: There's no way to ever know that, but I will always have a place in my heart for Jessie.
Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro