Jake and Emily. Day 30.

“Dating is most enjoyable when you are living in the moment.”

 
 
 
 
freedom - Emily Holmgren.png
 
 
 
 

Jake

What did you do today?

I had stake conference tonight. I told Emily she could come along if she wanted, and she wanted. So, she came.

Afterwards, we stopped for gas (See video) and went back to my place to change before heading to Jordan’s house for an open mic night. Not only is Jordan a great therapist, but he is also a fantastic musician, and he has managed to gather some incredible local talent for his open mic nights. These events at Jordan’s house have been hands down the best open mic nights I have ever been to as far as talent goes.

I sang a song and played the piano. It was intimidating because there were so many talented people there. Emily was very supportive.

Shout out to a couple of my favorites: Garon Brett and Rufio (the rapper). They both killed it. Look these guys up.

Also, we saw Kylie from Thirty Day Bae there. It was fun to see her! Also, I think a couple of people at the open mic night recognized us from our blog posts that came out last night. Crazy.

On a scale from 1-10 how would you rate your time together today? 

Eight. Our time together is natural. We laughed a lot. Open mic was a lot of fun.

What's next for you and your bae? 

How about a little analogy? When hiking in the mountains there are times when you find yourself high up on a mountain peak. Depending on the weather and the time of day, you might just get a clear view of your surroundings. Most likely, you will see where you are, and where you want to be. Then, there are times you are down in a canyon or in a valley, and maybe for one reason or another, you don’t have a clear view of where you are headed. You may have to resort to relying on the memory of your previous mountaintop experience, or if you find yourself on a trail, you’ll probably just stay on that trail until you reach a fork or arrive at a new vantage point.

So, here’s a question for you: When is the best time to make course corrections in your journey? Here are my thoughts. I see no reason to rush a decision on our relationship just because this experiment is ending. There aren’t any glaringly obvious reasons to sever things at this point. One of my big lessons learned from this experiment is that dating is most enjoyable when you are living in the moment. So, I’m just going to keep living in the moment. There will come a time to think seriously about our long-term compatibility. Now is not that time; I don’t have a clear enough vantage to make that decision. Overstressing about the future has absolutely destroyed my past relationships. And making course corrections at the wrong point could lead to one very lost traveler. Life presents itself as a series of mountains and valleys. There are times to plot your course and make decisions about where you want to go, and there are times when you put your head down and move forward. So yes, we have decided to continue dating, but honestly that could change later. We have both acknowledged that. Our communication about the future of our relationship been very clear, honest, and realistic, and that has helped me feel so much better about moving forward with this relationship. But I want to be clear that the point of this experiment was never to set people up into long-term relationships (See title of this experiment). It was to learn things, and by wiz, we have learned things. The success of Thirty Day Bae is in no way tied to the long-term success of our relationship. The lessons I have learned here will be invaluable in this or any relationship. I will be grateful for the experiences I have had with Thirty Day Bae for many years to come and perhaps the rest of my life, whether I end up with Emily in the end or not. Once again, regardless of what happens after this point, Thirty Day Bae has been an absolute success!

What did you learn and wow will this experiment change the way you date in the future?
In general, I’m going to focus much more on living in the moment while I’m dating. I feel much less stressed about dating when I’m focused on the here and now as opposed to our long-term compatibility. I’m not saying I want to be ignorant of the future, because that could definitely be detrimental as well. I think I’m saying, there are times to commit and enjoy being with and learning from someone, and there are times to make decisions (see analogy above). I feel I need to put more of my effort into the former. Other people may be different.

If nothing else, commitment feels much less scary to me after this experience. I would totally participate in a short term commitment of some kind again. I loved the ability to give my all to a relationship and fully invest without reservation. I have often been hesitant in the past to jump fully into a relationship partially because I’m afraid I will send a signal I’m not prepared to send if I commit too much, too fast. I’ve always felt my commitment level should match my feel-good-about-this-relationship level. Thirty Day Bae showed that doesn’t have to be the case. Wow, that’s huge! Why did it work? Because our expectations were clear, and communication was open.

By agreeing to Thirty Day Bae, we essentially said to each other, “Hey, I’m not committing to you because I’m in love with you or because you are my soulmate, but just know I’m committed, and I want to get to know you.” Turns out, it’s okay to commit to someone without having perfect knowledge about them. That’s faith. Faith is acting without perfect knowledge. And so often when we act without perfect knowledge, knowledge comes. But for now, let’s stop stressing about the questions we don’t have answers to and just enjoy the ride.

In the case that things don’t work out with Emily, I think an inevitable side effect of this whole thing will be the fact that every girl I date from this point will have full access to a written record of my dating history with Emily. What does that mean? How do I feel about that? I don’t know, but at least these girls will know what they are getting themselves into, for better or for worse. It could spark some interesting conversations.

What did you learn about compatibility? What did you learn about commitment? What did you learn about chemistry?

Compatibility. One huge thing that helped us navigate this last month was our compatible sense of humor. It really made our relationship fun and comfortable. On top of that we both had a willingness to try even when things weren’t perfect. So at least for a month-long commitment, I would put those things at the top of the “important compatibility factors” list.

Here is an interesting thing. Early on Davi actually admitted that she had some hesitancies about putting us together because our Myers Briggs personalities were too similar. So that’s just interesting.

Commitment. I’ve already written some thoughts about commitment in some of these other questions, but to summarize: Commitment isn’t as scary as I have made it out to be. It’s okay to be committed without feeling perfect about a relationship.

Additionally, commitment fosters a safe environment to get to know someone without the fear that they are going to be gone the next day. There was no need to stress about a weird day because we knew we would just see each other the next day. I think in the early stages of dating, we often put on a fake version of ourselves, sometimes intentionally, but probably more often unintentionally. Here, in the safety of commitment, that wasn’t so much of an issue. I believe it really helped us get to know each other in a way that we couldn’t have done without being committed.

Chemistry. What is chemistry anyway? There were times that I felt really drawn to Emily. There were times I didn’t. It was very situational and fleeting. We are living proof that chemistry does not need to be the foundation of a relationship. I was very surprised to find that our chemistry grew after committing to each other. Causation? Correlation? No idea.

What’s the most important takeaway from relationship coaching?

Relationship coaching was good. Very good. Our first relationship coaching session was a game changer. It sparked some conversations that we didn’t know we needed to have. We had only met two days earlier, and we weren’t really in a position to have these conversations without a little facilitation. With the exception of one weird session we had, I walked away from these sessions feeling much better about our relationship and much more drawn to Emily than when we walked in. And even the weird one helped facilitate good discussion that pushed our relationship forward. So, takeaway one: Relationship coaching is a good thing, and I think even couples who have a good relationship could benefit from it.

Takeaway two: Just because you say something, doesn’t mean the other person heard you. It could do me a lot of good to have the question “what did you hear her say?” at the forefront of my mind when having crucial conversations.

Jordan gave some advice in our first coaching session that set the tone for the rest of the month. Takeaway three: live in the moment.

What was the greatest struggle for you?

Adjusting to each other and getting on the same page that first week was a little bit of a challenge, but certainly not an insurmountable challenge. It took a solid week before I felt like I knew where she stood and how she was feeling about the relationship. After that everything was much smoother.

There were a couple of times I started stressing about the question, “Would I actually choose to date this girl myself?” But then I reminded myself that I was going to date her either way. Then I forgot about it and it stopped being a struggle.


What surprised you about this experiment? 

I was surprised when I started feeling drawn to Emily. It kind of just happened. I’m a little surprised that we are talking about continuing our relationship. I really came into this thing with the expectation to learn, not to be set up with someone I would actually date.

What's your favorite memory from TDB?

There was one night we just sat on the couch, both dead tired, laughing uncontrollably about really dumb things. I would probably put that as my favorite memory.

How do you feel this experiment would benefit others?

After doing this experiment, I honestly believe that if you have any degree of fear of commitment (with the caveat that I’m not even close to a licensed professional therapist and you take my advice at your own risk), the best thing you could do is jump both feet in to a full-fledged committed relationship and give it everything you have with no reservations. I think the thing you would discover, as I have, is that commitment isn’t as scary as you think it is. It’s healthy, and it’s a great place to learn about yourself and the person you are committed to.

A little commitment could potentially propel someone into a very satisfying relationship that they wouldn’t have gotten themselves into if they were just following their feelings.

How would you rate your relationship overall? 

Eight. I feel content about where things are right now. We laugh a lot and we have set a foundation for working through challenging things together. I don’t have a perfect knowledge about the future, but I at least know enough to take one more step.


On a scale from 1-10 how would you rate your chemistry with your bae?

Eight.

Other thoughts?

This has been an incredible experience. Shout out to all my new friends at Thirty Day Bae: Christine, Kylie, Davi, Jordan, and even Trent and Katie who I never heard from but did a bunch of behind the scenes stuff that really made this thing go. You have no idea how much time and energy went into this thing. This was a huge sacrifice for everyone on the team. And I get the sense that these people have a genuine desire to try to make real changes in our dating culture. It is SO easy to complain about dating and about our dating culture, but these people are actually doing something about it. Nothing but respect. Keep up the good work guys.

Also, Emily has been such a good sport with this whole thing. She is just such a kind, crazy, hilarious, go-with-the-flow kind of girl. Thirty Day Bae really picked a good one for this experiment. Thirty Day Bae wouldn’t have been the same without her… I mean, obviously there really wouldn’t have been much of an experiment otherwise, but you know what I mean.

Jake out.




Emily

What did you do today?

We went to Jake’s stake conference, then went to an Open Mic night at coach Jordan’s house. Jordan not only provides therapy for the soul, but also therapy for the ears.

😊

I know, I know... my attempts at making jokes gets worse by the day. It's definitely time to wrap this thing up Anyway, Jordan knows how to bring a crowd! I was really impressed with the quality of talent that came out. There were some AWESOME performances tonight including Jake! He played some Frank Sinatra on the piano, and I was a very proud bae.

On a scale from 1-10 how would you rate your time together today? 

Ten. We’re done!!!!!! Even if we didn’t decide to keep dating, today just feels like a big accomplishment. This was hard and I’m super proud of us.

What's next for you and your bae?

We've been dancing around the idea of trying things out a little longer. It’s been a good few days, and it's become more clear to me that this has been a good thing in my life. We've come a really far way in just a few weeks and I'm looking forward to spending more time together and keep experimenting upon what we've learned about commitment. I don’t know what the future holds long-term for me and Jake, but this feels like a good next step. 👩🏻‍🎤👨🏻‍🎤

What did you learn and wow will this experiment change the way you date in the future?

Will this experiment change the way I date in the future? Nah.

I think I'll just keep up my old habits. Unable to ever make a decision, I'll die alone on a scrap heap of broken dreams with my mouth filled with the bitter ashes of failure.

Just kidding.

Yes, this experiment will absolutely have an impact on how I approach dating.

It’s helped me to see commitment as less daunting and more desired. I don't know if I've ever been a true commitment-phobe. I like companionship and dating and all that jazz. But over time, I've gotten more hesitant about entering relationships and maybe more confused about what a good match look like for me. Over the last few weeks, I've learned some lessons about the barriers I put up when getting to know someone.

I’ve learned my feelings don’t need to be at a “10” in all areas, every single day, to justify entering/staying in a relationship. I've been able to accept that the other person may not always be at a "10" and that's ok too. I’ve learned that feelings are more likely to develop when I’m fully committed and try to be open minded.

What did you learn about compatibility? What did you learn about commitment? What did you learn about chemistry?

1) Compatibility.

This is a tricky one for me. I would love to hear Jordan's thoughts on compatibility because it seems like there’s so much that goes into it, and we didn't get a chance to talk much about compatibility in coaching.

I think there are many areas where Jake and I are compatible on paper. There probably just as many areas where we are incompatible. We have unique strengths, interests, wants, needs, and ways of communicating.

Also.... Astrology.com shows that my fire sign isn't compatible with Jake's water sign. One of these days, Jupiter may cross into the cusp of Virgo and everything is going to implode into one big cosmic mess ♋️💥♉️

Ok, but for real.

I think compatibility is important. Couples will probably avoid a lot of problems if they're similar in their spirituality, spending habits, lifestyles, expectations, etc.

But I’m not sure if it’s possible or even desirable to be totally compatible. I’m beginning to wonder if how you deal with incompatibility is what really matters.

I like the idea of having a yin/yang relationship where you balance and compliment one another. It seems like a little friction is necessary to smooth out areas where you may be a little rough or undeveloped.

Relationships I admire tend to have two people who are willing to make adjustments, serve one another, and seek to truly understand the other person. Behind their actions is a spirit of “I want to see you clearly and know what makes you tick. How can I help and serve you based upon who you are, where you’ve been, and who you want to become?”

I think if the goal is to help each other be the best possible versions of ourselves, then we have a good shot of growing into an awesome team. If you're thriving as both individuals and as a couple , then it would seem like the relationship will soar and not just be "good enough."

But that’s all just a theory. And it's probably only loosely related to compatibility. I'd like to hear other thoughts 🙃


2) Commitment -

I think we all know that I wasn't feeling totally committed to this experiment coming into it.

Yes, I wanted to learn. Yes, I wanted to have a little bit of an adventure.

But, I didn’t how I’d be able to see as stranger as a boyfriend. For whatever reason, I assumed that a guy would be even less inclined to treat it like a real relationship. I was wrong. I need to give all of these 30 Day Bae guys a lot more credit. They were all very much committed.

I don’t want to put words in Jake's mouth of how he was able to enter this with such a resolute attitude. But I have a theory that there’s an element of optimism that needs to accompany commitment.

Jake and I entered into a relationship with a totally blank slate. We didn’t have any mutual friends who gave us the low-down on the other person. We had zero history together. We knew next to nothing about one another. Because of that, I felt like I had every reason to be skeptical about how our month would be together.

But in Jake’s first post he said something about how he had “no reason but to be optimistic.” When I first read that, I was taken aback. How many times have I approached a relationship with that level of positivity? I probably never have. It was a bit of a wake up call. I’ve probably done myself and the guys I’ve dated a disservice because I’m so quick to start doubting everything. #DoubtYourDoubts

Again, I don’t want to speak for Jake or paint some kind of picture of him blissfully frolicking through the meadows of 30 Day Bae without any worries or cares. I’m sure he’s had hesitations along the way and probably continues to have doubts. But he hasn’t approached our time together with skepticism. He doesn’t treat me like I have to prove myself, and he’s been taking the time to get to know me. It’s a great feeling to not be picked apart or wonder if one thing I say will be over analyzed. It encourages me to be more vulnerable and open.

I’m really glad that Jake had the wisdom to enter this with an optimistically open mind. This probably would have failed badly otherwise. Someone needed to set the tone of how things were going to go. I really admire how he's treated me in such a consistent and steady way throughout this entire thing even when he's felt uncertain.

When I followed his lead and started to be more resolute in my commitment, my attitude changed. I saw him in a more positive way. It was easier to find things to be grateful for. And I could enjoy getting to know him more because i wasn’t continually assessing if i was going to bail. I’ve had some anxiety throughout this thing, but a lot of it was lifted because I knew he wasn’t going to bail on me either.

I’m realizing now that I had many reasons to be optimistic. This was a great opportunity and I was entering it with a great person. Everyone has their own relationship scars and insecurities and vision of what the ideal relationship would eventually look like… but there needs to come a point where you put that stuff on the back-burner for a little while and give something a chance to grow. More than likely your original assumptions of what you wanted will be challenged and will shift a little (which is probably a good thing!)

I’ve learned that when I choose to be cynical it usually means I’m keeping one foot out the door to protect myself. You can probably see that happening in the logs when my positivity started to dip. It was often because I wasn’t sure of what was going on in Jake’s head so I started to withdraw. I think I made a lot of assumptions of what he was experiencing and it affected how I saw things. A big lesson I’ve learned is that it’s best for me to ask questions about what the other person is thinking rather than make assumptions.

Maybe that explanation is a little long-winded, but this was all pretty eye opening to me. I learned optimism and commitment take courage. When I’m choosing to be cynical, it usually means I’m taking the wimpy way out.

3) Chemistry -
Chemistry is another word that confuses me and it’s been a tricky thing to assess in the logs.

There’s emotional chemistry. Intellectual. Physical. Laughing-late-at-night-over-stupid-stuff chemistry. All of those things have a different level of importance for different people. I think all of these areas had some high and low moments during the last 30 days.

I don’t know if chemistry is something that naturally develops if you just spend enough time with someone. But I think if you at least have some level of natural attraction with a person, you can both play a role in building chemistry.

There were a couple times where I was driving to Jake’s house and thought:
“You know what…. I have no agenda of what I want to happen. I like Jake. If we have awesome conversations and listen to awesome music and just soak up each other's awesomeness.. then that's awesome. If we don’t, whatever. We'll see what the next day brings. But for today, I just want to have a good night together and not overthink anything.”

I don’t know if he felt a noticeable difference when I approached things that way, but those were the days when I felt most connected. I don’t think chemistry is something you can manufacture out of nothing, but there’s a possibility you can influence it a little with your attitude and commitment to bringing the good vibes.

Uhhh. Congrats if you're still reading this. So much pontificating. Gee wiz.

What’s the most important takeaway from relationship coaching?

Our first coaching session was probably the biggest turning point for me in this experiment. It's hard to say what would've happened if we didn't have that Day Three chat with Jordan. You don't necessarily need to have ISSUES to go to coaching. If two strangers can benefit, then I think even an awesome relationship can be elevated by coaching.

  • Listen. But, seriously. REALLY listen. Listen with the intent to understand.

  • Be more direct with how I’m feeling. If he misunderstands, try to communicate in a different way.

  • Vulnerability can be hard and kind of uncomfortable, but it's generally worth it

  • Take time to appreciate and verbalize good things that are happening in the relationship

  • Take time to appreciate and verbalize the things you like about the other person

  • If you’re feeling despondent, find an opportunity to serve the other person. More than likely your attitude towards the relationship will improve.

  • And of course… be present and don’t project too far into the future. This is something that’s still hard for me, but I’m getting a lot better at not going into a mental spiral when something pops up that I’m unsure about.

BTW. It's kind of hilarious to tell people you're going to relationship coaching after a couple days of dating.

What was the greatest struggle for you?

  • I’ve been struggling with the public nature of this thing. It’s been weird sharing thoughts with strangers that I may not typically share with people I actually know. It’s been hard trying to strike a balance of what might be helpful to someone vs. what is oversharing. It’s a little uncomfortable having many people seeing me clumsily navigating a new relationship. Hopefully the typo's and grammatical errors distracted from the word vomit :P

  • Feeling emotionally/mentally drained. The nature of 30DB has me in overdrive thinking about dating and how I understand myself. It can't be healthy to talk/think about relationships this much. It’s been a good experience, but there’s been a lot to process. I’m ready to exhale!

  • It also can't be healthy to eat as much Del Taco as we have been eating.

  • I think all the couples in 30DB have said something along the lines of how it was sometimes hard for this to feel organic and natural because we didn’t choose one another. When I’ve entered other relationships, I was pretty confident about how we saw one another because we'd already been digging each other for awhile. Not having that solid footing while trying out a relationship was an adjustment.

Side note: When Jake would just simply tell me he liked spending time with me, it made me chill out a lot. If you’re with someone who gets all anxious and weird in relationships, some little tiny affirming words could help calm their little tiny paranoid soul.

What surprised you about this experiment?

  • I was pleasantly surprised to have some feelings creep up. I was also surprised that spending so much time together didn’t feel like a chore. I’m not sure Jake and I would have given this much of a chance if we met in the “real world”... it makes me wonder how many great people I’ve missed out on because I wrote things off too quickly.

  • I was surprised by how encouraging my family and friends were. They’re used to me trying out random things, but I wasn’t sure if they’d understand why I’d do something this. I didn’t think anyone would be a jerk, but there was an overwhelming response of “this is an AWESOME idea, and an AWESOME thing for you to be doing.” I guess they know homegirl has issues :P

  • No one ended up being a serial killer which was very nice

What's your favorite memory from TDB?

I think today has been my favorite day…. And not because it’s done haha. I mean, I’ll admit I’m glad to be done with the logs and have the experiment wrap up. But today was just a good day. I had fun with Jake tonight and I’m feeling really content with how things have gone. And I'm excited to move things along in more of a "normal" dating context.

At the risk of sounding corny, I’m just feeling all sorts of gratitude. I’m thankful for Jake taking a chance on me and hanging in there.

I’m glad the 30DB team took a chance on me as well. I’ve been a giant pain at many points and they’ve been really understanding and awesome. I’ve only had a small glimpse of what’s been going on behind the scenes, but from what I’ve observed, this has become a second job for many members of the team. And an unpaid job at that. It’s been great knowing they’ve been there rooting us on as individuals regardless of how we chose to proceed as couples. I feel the love, guys.

How do you feel this experiment would benefit others?

This experiment is not for everyone. It’s pretty intense. I’m not actually sure I was a great person for it.

But I think it would be awesome if someone tried out a mini version of this experiment if they’ve been sitting on the fence with making a decision. Make a small commitment, then another one, and see what happens. When you’re committed, make every effort to give them your best. Give your relationship every opportunity to grow. If it works out, great. If it doesn’t, at least you have more experience and confidence in your ability to commit and care for another person.

How would you rate your relationship overall?

Eight.

On a scale from 1-10 how would you rate your chemistry with your bae? 

Eight.

Other thoughts?

TYJB. TTYL30DB. TFB. 🌮