It's easy to fall in love with 40 Days of Dating: a lot easier, as it turns out, than Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman are finding it to fall in love with each other.
But hey, it might happen. The thrill of the blog — which documents their 40-day experiment — is the uncertainty of it all. The pair began as friends and decided to try dating for 40 days with a few guidelines: a requirement to see one another every day, a weekly couples therapy appointment, three date nights a week, one weekend trip together, and no seeing anyone else.
Outside of that, however, it's up to Jessica and Timothy, both designers who live in New York City, to decide how to proceed, and that turns out to be more complicated than one might think. How do you casually date a close friends? Does the expiration date make a real relationship impossible? When is the right time to throw caution to the wind and have sex?
Each day, Jessica and Timothy fill out a questionnaire about their days, including how they're feeling about each other and the experiment as a whole. (The project began on March 20, but the blog runs from July 10 to August 18.) Jessica dissects her desire to jump into a relationship with every man she dates, while Timothy analyzes his fear of commitment. There's a voyeuristic thrill to reading an intimate account of their thoughts — and it turns out to be even more exciting than any dirty details. (Spoiler alert: As of Day 20, there's very little physicality.)
What makes 40 Days of Dating truly fascinating is the way it depicts our differing perspectives: It's enlightening to read Jessica's and Timothy's contrasting accounts of the same day. He tries to flirt and she reads it as jealousy. She holds back to follow his lead and he thinks she's being distant. While not everyone can relate to this particular dating experience, we've all encountered trouble with communication and interacting on an even playing field. Seeing two accounts side-by-side is the perfect illustration as to why.
It helps that Jessica and Timothy are creative, expressive people with great insight into themselves and each other. The blog is a pleasure to read for many reasons, but the feeling of getting to know the subjects is what makes it so addictive. As you dive in, you find yourself invested in the 40-day experiment — and how the relationship might develop when it's all over. Is it so wrong that, like Jessica and Timothy, I find myself dreading the expiration date?