Sandra Tsing Loh Getting A Divorce

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sandra Tsing Loh is getting a divorce, and in her incomparable way, telling us a bit about it in the new issue of the Atlantic. In Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off (thanks to Harvey for sending me the link), the witty social commentator whose 2005 CalTech graduation address remains one of the finest I’ve ever read announces that she’s left her husband of twenty years after falling in love with another man:

I am a 47-year-old woman whose commitment to monogamy, at the very end, came unglued. This turn of events was a surprise. I don’t generally even enjoy men; I had an entirely manageable life and planned to go to my grave taking with me, as I do most nights to my bed, a glass of merlot and a good book. Cataclysmically changed, I disclosed everything. We cried, we rent our hair, we bewailed the fate of our children. And yet at the end of the day—literally during a five o’clock counseling appointment, as the golden late-afternoon sunlight spilled over the wall of Balinese masks—when given the final choice by our longtime family therapist, who stands in as our shaman, mother, or priest, I realized … no. Heart-shattering as this moment was—a gravestone sunk down on two decades of history—I would not be able to replace the romantic memory of my fellow transgressor with the more suitable image of my husband, which is what it would take in modern-therapy terms to knit our family’s domestic construct back together. In women’s-magazine parlance, I did not have the strength to “work on” falling in love again in my marriage. And as Laura Kipnis railed in Against Love, and as everyone knows, “Good relationships take work.”

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