I don't get the speculations that Ed takes money to either leave and come back or just come back. He seems to be successful and doubtful he's aspiring to be the Bachelor so why would he do that? It's much more likely that if he leaves it's for his own reasons and coming back will likely be because he & Jillian want it to happen.
Great posts, Cantstopwatching. I loved reading about your non-spoiled viewpoint about Ed & Jillian. I also noticed that Ed is often watching Jillian even when the other guys aren't. I thought it was a cute moment when he asked about hot tubs in the hotel and the way she responded. I think him having been in the mansion with her helped.
I guess my theory that Ed doesn't leave seems to have been shot down but looking at the dates in the filming schedule thread, he really doesn't miss much time with Jillian. It doesn't look like episode 6 dates take up all that many days and they go right into filming htd's. If he gets his own htd it's even shorter and it looks like there could be time.