Her column described the failure of relationships within her social milieu. The easy response, and one take up with gusto in the comments to the article at The Atlantic, is to criticise Sandra Tsing Loh and her friends for their narcissism and sense of entitlement.
But a comment to my own post made me realise that there was something more positive that might be said about Sandra Tsing Loh. The comment was this:
I can only read this article as a frantic, plaintive appeal for help, for an answer.
Which made me realise that for all its faults Sandra Tsing Loh's article did break with the usual modern girl response to relationship difficulties. Usually women like Sandra Tsing Loh, when faced with relationship failure, take the easy option of saying "We are a group of fabulous, empowered, independent women and men should be climbing over each other to be with us. They don't know what they're missing out on. They're just too scared and overawed. They need to man up and be everything we want them to be. It's up to men to make sure that relationship commitments happen."
Sandra Tsing Loh didn't go down this well-worn path. Instead, she admits that it is the women in her social circle who have the problem making commitments work and she believes it is because gender role complementarity has been broken. Because the roles of men and women are no longer complementary, relationships now rely exclusively on women appreciating men romantically, but women want different, contradictory things from men in a relationship and therefore women are easily disappointed and disenchanted. It leads to women disrespecting the men they are supposed to live with, seeing them as disposable, and in some cases preferring instead to have male support in a platonic way, for instance, in the work an ex-husband might do in helping to look after the children.
And she can't see her way out of this. She cannot find her way to a serious answer.
That's because she cannot bring herself to imagine men and women maintaining gender role complementarity in a marriage, but nor can she imagine a stable romantic satisfaction for women without it.
The way out of the deadlock is to allow for complementary roles for men and women, ones which allow for an expression of masculinity in men and femininity in women, and which then allow both men and women to bring something unique to the relationship that the other person needs.
This can be done in a big way (as in my marriage) or more lightly, but it's unwise to give up on this altogether in a heterosexual marriage.