Day Twenty-Three   /   lettering by Christoph Niemann

Jessica Walsh

Did you see Timothy today?
Unfortunately.

What did y’all do together?
We had therapy in the morning. It had to be the most disastrous “date” in dating history.

Did anything interesting happen?
Tim started out by expressing his frustration, then declared that he wanted to quit the project. This came as a shock considering his comments about feeling very close to me the night before. He has been the one pushing me to not quit the experiment, and now that I’m 100% committed, the tables have turned.

Tim talked to the therapist about being afraid after hooking up on Saturday night. He’s still afraid of hurting me since he is unsure of his intentions. His indecisiveness is getting old, and the therapist said she thought he was being cowardly.

Tim seemed overwhelmed by the pressure, and he began to pick me apart again. He said some of the most hurtful things anyone has ever said to me. I have not done anything to deserve this, and have no reason to put up with it. The therapy session ended with me in tears trying to walk away from this experiment once again.

I don’t know how she did it, but Jocelyn somehow managed to calm me down and convince me to stick with it. She pointed out that we shouldn’t be shocked that we were playing out the roles we set out for ourselves in the beginning: I was being overly empathetic and interested in more, and Tim was trying to push me away out of fear of commitment. Big surprise.

Did you learn anything new about Timothy?
After the therapy session ended, Tim and I had an intense talk on Jocelyn’s doorstep. I told him that I’ve only been understanding and patient, and I wouldn’t stand for this. He apologized for everything he said. He said it was a defense mechanism stemming from his fears about a possible relationship with me. He said he knew I deserved better, and he’d understand if I wanted to walk away. It’s really hard not to be forgiving when I know so much about his past and where all this is coming from. I told him he just needs to figure out what he wants, and stop picking everything apart as a way to avoid it. We hugged. He kissed me. We parted ways.

Did you learn anything new about yourself?
I’ve learned a lot about myself from this experiment, but it has been emotionally turbulent and extremely stressful.

How do you feel about this relationship/project right now?
I feel deflated right now. While I am usually very good at dealing with criticism, it is hurtful to hear someone you care about say such hurtful things, even if I know he didn’t really mean it. I’ll forgive and forget this time, but I will not let him pick me apart like this again. I want to surround myself with positive energy, I am tired of this.

notime8

Is there anything that you want to do differently?
I need to let go.

Additional comments?
I need to lower my expectations.

Day Twenty-Three   /   lettering by Damien Correll

Timothy Goodman

Did you see Jessica today?
Yes.

What did y’all do together?
Therapy session from hell.

Did anything interesting happen?
Maybe it’s because we’re in the dog days of this experiment, but I’ve never felt more like a mouse in a cage being tested on against my will. I feel grimy. I feel very uncomfortable. I feel emotional. For the first time, I thought about quitting the experiment last night. My blasé attitude and unwillingness to commit versus Jessie’s mood swings from her headaches and her resistance to live with uncertainty makes me wonder if this is really worth it. I went into therapy looking for a way out.

In the one hour session, we both threatened to quit the project. I was in a negative mood about this whole thing. I said some hurtful stuff, she got very upset, and she started crying. I know I was being unfair, but she’s also very sensitive about certain topics. It’s a deadly combination sometimes.

Burst

The therapist reminded us that people in relationships say hurtful stuff to each other. I apologized to Jessie for what I said. I didn’t mean it, I know I was only trying to push her away. Jocelyn told us to “fight, not flight!” By the end of therapy we were kissing on the street.

Did you learn anything new about Jessica?
I didn’t know she was so sensitive about certain family affairs. She’s very open about a lot of things, but in many ways she’ll shut down on you. It’s just bad energy.

Did you learn anything new about yourself?
I didn’t know I was so insecure about my family’s situation in comparison to hers. I just feel like we have completely different values and ways of looking at things. I know I shouldn’t take this out on her, though. I feel badly for that.

How do you feel about this relationship/project right now?
After therapy, Jessie and I talked outside. She told me that I need to figure out what I want. Honestly, I don’t think this is about me being a commitment-phobe. I’m just not sure I want to be in a relationship with her. But after what just happened today, I think I’ve had enough. I owe it to both of us. I think it’s time I really try this with her.

Is there anything that you want to do differently?
Jessie wrote me a nice note today.

Email

Additional comments?
It’s 2:30 AM right now. I can’t sleep and I’m still feeling neurotic from what happened today. On top of it all, I just got a text from a girl who I occasionally saw before the experiment. I feel tempted to write her back. But if I’m going to try this with Jessie, then I have to let it go! I can’t give in to late-night temptation. The sexter made me think of a Bukowski line that I’ve always liked.