One of my favorite little websites, Lists of Note, published this gem. It gives the “rest of us” a peek into the mind of a genius. He may have looked at his personal life in a similar way to his work.
By 1914, Albert Einstein’s marriage to his wife of 11 years, Mileva Marić, was fast deteriorating. Realizing there was no hope for their relationship on a romantic level, Einstein proposed that they remain together for the sake of their children, but only if she agree to the following list of conditions.
Mileva accepted them, but to no avail. A few months later, she left her husband in Berlin and moved, with their sons, to Zurich. They eventually divorced in 1919, having lived apart for five years.
- You will make sure:
- that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
- that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
- that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
- You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, You will forego:
- my sitting at home with you;
- my going out or travelling with you.
- You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
- you will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
- you will stop talking to me if I request it;
- you will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
- You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.