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Can men and women be 'just friends?'

Two friends from New York City decided to try dating -- and blog about it

Sarah LeTrent | 8/6/2013, 12:15 p.m.
Truly platonic opposite-sex friendships are the chupacabra of the pop culture narrative. From "When Harry Met Sally" to Ross and ...
Longtime friends Timothy Goodman, 32, and Jessica Walsh, 26, are dating for 40 days as an experiment. Their blog, 40 Days of Dating, has gone viral. Santiago Carrasquilla

— Walsh: He's not my usual type, I always thought he was a very attractive guy. I have a lot of respect for the work that he does -- I can't deny that there.

CNN: Were you ever worried that the experiment would ruin the friendship?

Walsh: I was pretty excited about it at first, then after we told our friends, I did start to get scared that this could totally destroy a great friendship. We didn't want to compromise, so it was a few months after we had the initial idea before we actually started because we kept going back and forth.

CNN: You're obviously both creative people, and the site itself is very artistically driven. How did you separate the creative showmanship with the relationship?

Goodman: What's important is that it's an experiment. For it to be a success, it doesn't mean that Jessie and I worked out together. We used it as a catalyst to work on our issues together; a safe space to work on our issues and also to help each other. Sure, there were other things going on and there had always been a curiosity about it. This isn't just about dating, that's not the point -- it's taking two mice with two different problems and seeing what happens.

Walsh: We tried to keep them very different. We did the experiment first because we did want the experiment to be as true as possible, and not have the creative side get in the way of it. This is the best way we knew how. Each time we read each other's, we're reliving the day in a way. In some of the more emotional days, it brings back everything. It hasn't been easy.

CNN: The rules are quite fastidious for something so unpredictable as a relationship.

Goodman: We knew that if we didn't have rules in place, it would be very easy for us to skip by. The rules held us accountable.

Walsh: It's kind of a theme in the work that I do, I always set constraints. The best outcomes come from restraints. Forty days is also the amount of time in several religions that it takes to break a bad habit. The couples therapy was one stipulation that I really wanted. It was amazing week to week to have that hour to sit down and really be able to reflect and have a third party to help you organize and sort through what happened and give you that objective advice. I honestly don't think we would've made it through the 40 days without it.

CNN: In the early days of the blog, your friends criticized you both for not being physical. You left those constraints pretty ambiguous. On day 25, readers learned, that changed.

Goodman: We had left that open. It was bit of an issue right in the beginning because her friend was giving her (a hard time) about it. She got weird about it. We can't just click our fingers and be in a relationship. There was a lot of push and pull because of it. I didn't know what my intentions were.