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SEEPage November 24, 2008

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Singled Out.
Tags: , , ,

For all you writers out there!! Here Bella DePaulo admits that in an early draft of her opus Singled Out, before she heard about Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl‘s study of different kinds of personal communities, she had a “clunky phrase” to describe significant others who form the nexus of their partner’s social life (per Spencer and Pahl, that would be a “partner-based personal community”). The term DePaulo used to describe that kind of significant other was “Sex and Everything Else Person,” aka a “SEEPie”. She said that readers of the draft hated the term, so she scrapped it. But I like it! I wonder how our Copious Readership feels about Seepies. Either way, it just goes to show you what a freakin’ headache writing is.

I was raised in a foreign service family. This means that my mom, dad, sister, and I travelled around together, one little square unit. This setup feeds into the partner-based personal community paradigm. Indeed, the federal government will often facilitate job placement for a spouse, and provide relocation funding, but they sure won’t do that for any other important person in the primary worker’s life. (I’m not sure what happens to gay and lesbian couples in federal service when one of the partners is assigned overseas, but I’m reasonably certain it’s not too pretty.)

And speaking of my family–growing up, my sister and I were not close to our grandparents or other extended family. We just didn’t see them much, simply because we were so seldom colocated. We did have another kind of extended family, though. There are several other State families we had tours with long ago, with whom we stayed in touch at least as closely, if not more so, than our actual relatives. The moms and dads we called “aunts” and “uncles”. When the various kids (sometimes “cousins”) needed a place to stay but were living away from their parents at school or work or whatever, if one of the other families was closer to the child, that family’s house opened up to the kid as a place to crash, seek emotional support, whatever. Nice setup. However, partner-based, ultra-compact family units still formed the basis of this network. That probably limited its fluidity somewhat. 

We welcome Copious Readership’s thoughts on their own kinds of Personal Communities.  



1. Barbara Payne - December 3, 2008

It’s a challenge to form a community based on other than partner relationships–few of us have the optimism to think we’re going to love being around someone else ALL the time. That’s part of what makes marriage so tough. The “optimism” about the lifetime cohabitation thing on which marriage is founded was based initially on the fact that women couldn’t a) earn a decent living, or b) have children without a man. It’s no longer the same world.

And also, many of us women have strong feelings about OUR kitchen and OUR bathroom (ask any married man) that gets in the way of rooming or sharing with other women. But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t develop one of those “intentional communities” where each person has her own unit but occasionally can share a communal meal, can access services funded by the collective, etc.

There’s so much room for creativity! We are delighted to add a link to your blog to our Singles Resources list. Please consider adding one to ours! http://www.swwan.org/blog/

Thanks for the great work!

2. Bella DePaulo - December 20, 2008

I LOVE seepage! It is one of the variants of Seepie that I hadn’t thought of. Priceless! And thanks for posting your support of my clunky phrase. (I still sometimes think I should have left it in the book.)

Most of all, thanks for this website. It is so great to have this enlightenment out there.

–Bella DePaulo

3. The Spurrious Rhetoric of Singlism « Onely. - January 2, 2009

[...] life is automatically and unconditionally improved–even perfected!–by the addition of a Sex and Everything Else Partner (term coined by social psychologist Bella DePaulo).  If you buy this idea–and it’s [...]

4. Rachel’s Musings » Happy Quirkyalone Day! - February 14, 2010

[...] Happy Quirkytogether Day! – to all of you quirky folks who are together in a relationship with a SEEPie! [...]

5. Rachel's Musings » Diversify! - July 30, 2010

[...] relational eggs in one basket, we might end up feeling rather lonely. Many of us who have been in seepy relationships know how alone one can be in those… It pays to have lots of relationships, intimate [...]

6. You Don’t Know Onely « Onely: Single and Happy - August 2, 2010

[...] CM:  We intend to be single the rest of our lives and have written off all possibility of a Seepie relationship [...]

7. Rachel's Musings » Earn Money for Meddling - August 3, 2010

[...] in meeting is The One) and relationships (well, we know that one already: It’s only seepy relationship that counts). I wonder what would happen if we use this tool for building [...]

8. Operation Singles Saturation: Blogfest2 Celebrates In(ter)dependence | Onely: Single and Happy - July 3, 2013

[…] relationships. But there’s little space in our culture to celebrate relationships that aren’t SEEPie (Sex and Everything Else Person) relationships, and so it’s easy to lose sight of the many “other” significant relationships that help us […]

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