Sept. 16, 2013 -- Two friends fed up with repeating the same dating habits decided to embark on a 40-day relationship with one another to see what happened: The story has all the makings of Hollywood romance, and it soon may become one. But first it was simply a blog.
40 Days of Dating, a social experiment that became a viral sensation, followed New Yorkers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman as they documented 40 days of hand holding, planned dates, couples therapy, self-analysis, and even a trip to the Magic Kingdom. More than 300,000 fans checked in daily to read the "he said, she said"-style posts, which were recorded during the project then released to the public months later.
"At first, I wasn't sure whether we should share it," said Walsh, 26. "But the feelings we had and experiences we went through were common issues that we thought people could relate to."
"A lot of people have reached out since saying that it really helped them or inspired them," added Goodman, 32.
Throughout the course of their quasi-courtship, the pair said the process of cataloguing their feelings challenged them to confront how they approached love and life, in general.
"The project really forced me to live with uncertainty, in a way," said Walsh. "In the past, I've always been so focused on 'What am I doing and what is the end result?' [40 Days] set me so far over the edge stress-wise by Day 23, I had to completely reevaluate my lifestyle. I started going to yoga and running every day."
Goodman was also inspired to make changes.
"For me, it had been a long time since I'd let a woman into my life," said Goodman, who is described as a commitment-phobe on the 40 Days "about" page. "I'd been on a vicious cycle before the project ... and while I didn't think it would work out between us, I realized that I do want to be with someone that I am crazy about. Now, instead of dating, I am looking to be in a relationship."
Though the two have parted ways romantically -- Walsh has since met a new beau on OkCupid.com -- their newfound celebrity means they will be linked by a series of business prospects for at least some time. The pair recently signed with Creative Artists Agency.
"At the moment, we're listening to people's ideas for film and TV," said Walsh, who added that she was reluctant to entertain offers, at first. "The biggest thing is to preserve the integrity of what we created. It was a very honest, raw and emotional thing. So we're not just making any Hollywood movie."
Goodman did acknowledge, however, that the pair is "definitely interested" in writing a book that details the aftermath of the experiment, as well as creating a community platform for others to embark on 40-day challenges that could range from parenting to physical fitness.
"We know if we don't do it, someone else will," he said.
Fans may also be inspired to attempt to date friends. So would the twosome recommend it, seeing as now they are exes?
"I do. I'm all for it," said Goodman without pause. "I received messages just this week from people who are identifying with what we did and saying, 'Oh, man, it ruined our friendship.' Y'know, that's the risk--"
"But, really," interjected Walsh, "all relationships are always a risk."