Followers of the viral social experiment 40 Days of Dating have been anticipating the conclusion of this real-life love saga like it was the final episode of "The Bachelor." The couple behind the Internet sensation made the big reveal on Friday, and it looks like they're better as friends than lovers after all.
Longtime NYC friends Jessica Walsh, 26, and Timothy Goodman, 32, launched the blog with the idea of seeing what would happen if they gave love a chance for 40 days — and made the entire thing public. The result led to a massive social media following of readers anxiously gobbling up the daily installments as Jessica and Tim experienced all the highs and lows of a new relationship, both struggling with their own dating demons: Jessica with her tendency to fall too fast, and Tim with his inability to commit to one woman.
The couple answered the same questions for each daily post and didn't hold back (yes, the blogged about their sex life). Their side-by-side writings were like a magnifying glass into the psyches of any man or woman trying to navigate a new romance in New York City — their brutal honesty about themselves and each other is likely what led the blog to wild popularity.
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Would the two stay together after the experiment? Would they break up? The people wanted to know.
The couple decided to spend the last few days of the experiment on their agreed-upon one weekend getaway. Their location of choice? Disney World. What should have been a romantic, magical vacation ended in a fiery argument, as 39 days' worth of resentment, passive aggression and an assortment of fears, hopes and desires spilled over on an Orlando boardwalk — starting with a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt.
Alas, Tim decided Jessica's tendency to put her man before herself was too grating for him. Jessica, though she seemed willing to try to work it out, came to terms with the fact that they might not be compatible — and she needs more than Tim could offer her. (And no, they did not have breakup sex.) The couple's final post is swirling in retrospect and self-reflection.
"This experiment has made me extremely self-aware and confident in who I am, what I want, and what I am looking for. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting a committed relationship. I know I can be very happy on my own, but life has always been even more awesome when there’s someone great to share it with," Jessica wrote.
"My whole life has been turned inside out from this crazy experiment. It’s three AM and I’m listening to the most ridiculous Phil Collins song right now. I don’t miss dating different women. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, nor do I want to go back to my old habits. I do want to be in a relationship. I do want something meaningful," Tim wrote for his part.
They returned to New York together, agreed to stay close friends and bid each other farewell. But Tim totally slipped a little cliffhanger into his very last paragraph, confessing that he "knows now" he is in love with Jessica:
"As the cab driver pulled up to my apartment, we laughed because it was literally 11:57 PM as day 41 was approaching. I just can’t believe it’s over. I feel so close to her. I know now that I’m in love with her. I love her, yet I know there’s nothing else I can do. We kissed. I gave her a gift. We kissed one more time. I shut the cab door, and I walked away," he wrote.
Is there still hope for these two or will they really remain just friends? Will there be another 40 days some day? Only time will tell.
Read Metro's interview with Tim and Jessica here.
Follow Cassandra Garrison on Twitter: @CassieAtMetro