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Einstein’s Harsh Rules For His Wife Would Disgust Women Today

Mads Madsen / Wikimedia

Albert Einstein was one of the history's most brilliant scientists, but that doesn't make him a good person.

In fact the groundbreaking physicist was, by all accounts, a very uncaring husband and father.

Einstein's love letters to his first wife, Mileva Maric, are famous for being romantic and sweet.

But the same man who wrote he was "crazy with desire" also drew up a cruel set of instructions, which he expected Maric to follow to the letter.

The broken marriage

Albert Einstein and Mileva Maric.
Einstein and his first wife, Mileva Maric.FR Milovan

While she's not famous today, Maric was also an important scientist.

She was one of the few women to study at Zurich's Polytechnic Institute, where she met and fell for Einstein.

The couple stayed together for 11 years and had two sons, Hans Albert and Eduard, before they finally decided to call it quits.

In a last ditch attempt to save the marriage, Einstein drew up a list of demands that he expected Maric to follow.

His hope was that the pair could stay together for their kids, but today almost no one would think these rules are acceptable.

The list of demands

Albert Einstein
Wikimedia

Einstein expected his wife to cater to him like a servant, but not to expect any affection in return.

He demanded that she look after the house and cook him three meals a day.

But he warned here that she must leave the room immediately if he asked her too, and stop talking at his request.

And the full list is even more upsetting.

"You will renounce all personal relations with me"

Einstein's full demands asked Maric to:

  • Tidy their house by herself
  • Bring three meals a day to his office
  • Clean his office, but not use his desk
  • Do all the laundry
  • Not expect Einstein to sit with her or to go outside the house together
  • To "renounce all personal relations with me" that weren't for social reasons
  • To stop talking at his request
  • To not criticize or reproach him
  • The leave their bedroom or his office immediately at his request
  • To not "belittle" him with words or actions in front of their children

Bear in mind, Einstein wrote his list of demands in 1914, but even by historical standards it seems barbaric.

The divorce

Thankfully, Maric did not put up with Einstein's awful behavior.

She left their home in Berlin just a few months later and took their sons with her.

Meanwhile, the famous scientist barely seemed to notice. He wrote that he was "in my large apartment in undiminished tranquility."

But when Maric made the divorce official in 1919, Einstein's behavior got even worse.

The love affairs of Albert Einstein

Just after his divorce became official, Einstein married his second wife, Elsa.

She was the scientist's first cousin, but they had only met as adults.

Albert and Elsa Einstein.
Einstein with his wife and cousin, Elsa.Library of Congress - Wikimedia

Einstein had been visiting Elsa regularly since 1912, so it's possible he had already been two-timing Maric with his own cousin.

Elsa seemed happier to follow the scientist's rules, but that didn't mean he behaved himself.

He continued to cheat on his second wife, including with his own secretary Bette Neumann.

Einstein and Elsa moved to America in 1935, and she died just a year later. But even that didn't seem to bother the so-called genius.

"I have got used extremely well to life here,” he wrote.

“I live like a bear in my den . . . This bearishness has been further enhanced by the death of my woman comrade, who was better with other people than I am."

The Theory of Happiness

While it seems like Einstein was hopeless when it came to women (and his own family) he had some pretty smart ideas.

Albert Einstein's theory of happiness.
NDTV

Last year, his "theory of happiness" sold for an astounding $1.6 million.

Einstein wrote the piece of advice for a Japanese bellhop, because he had no money to tip him with.

It reads:

A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.

What do you think? Was Einstein a genius or an oaf?

[H/T: Metro, New York Times]

I write about all sorts of things for Shared, especially weird facts, celebrity news, and viral stories. CONTACT: zachary@shared.com