Mainly I'd like to note that this was very much a one-time experiment.
No, I have no plans to go down that particular rabbit hole- the current storyline(s) are just one of many tangents TWB has gone down over the years. We're not heading toward a rom-com any more than we were heading toward a remake of The Walking Dead back during one of the zombie outbreaks, or that Doc was going to be killed off that one time he blew up the entire shop.
As a very minor spoiler, there will only be one more strip involving Sandy and Swampy, as a gag to kind of "wrap things up" (and no, that's not a double entendre. ) (There might be a second strip, for day-to-day pacing, IF I can come up with a good gag.)
There will only two or three- again, depending on pacing- of Jake and Pirta, none of which will show anything more than we've already seen.
After that, we'll focus back on Doc and Cara- they have dinner, something might explode, fade to black.
Then "tomorrow", everybody will be back at the shop, and "the rest of the week" will be spent getting back to the old classic shop gags and customer interactions, which we haven't seen in entirely too long.
So no, this is not a permanent change, just a side storyline. Keeping in mind that since I'm doing five days a week now, and haven't missed but a very few updates in a couple of years now, I need something to fill the space. Don't worry, I have plenty of ideas still, so I don't need to go looking for the weird stuff.
It's also worth noting that TWB has anywhere from 3,500 to 16,500 daily readers, depending on which metrics you read (and how you read them, in some cases.) And I found out early on I can't please everyone, all the time. If I have the guys out at the paintball field, people ask when they'll get back to the shop, because they prefer the office jokes. I have them at the office and people ask when they'll be getting back to the paintball field.
I have a storyline with Jinx, somebody will ask "Where's Bandit?" I have a storyline with Bandit, and somebody'll wonder why we haven't seen Gino in a long time. Somebody else will say I should show the jackal guy more, while these others will want to see more of the girls.
I have a storyline about zombies, somebody will ask about the fridge monster. I have a story about the fridge monster, somebody will ask if we'll ever see Doc do his super-speed thing again.
I have a storyline with some of the couples on their 'date nights' and somebody is worried I'm turning the strip into a rom-com, or worse, porn.
So don't worry. 'Date Night' will be over shortly, we'll get to see some shop antics, I'll be sure to have them blow something up again, we'll probably go off on another side storyline at some point again, and "next weekend" will, of course, be the 3-man tournament, which I'm hoping will be very entertaining, and will in all probability last anywhere from 6 months to a year all by itself.
After that, then maybe I'll do a storyline with Gino.