Einstein may have been a crack physicist, but he was but a novice in the language of love. His relationship with his first wife — the bearer of his three children — overlapped five years with his philanderous relationship with his cousin, who he later put a ring on.
In 1914, as his first marriage was souring, Einstein did what any rational egghead would do to salvage the relationship: He wrote out a list of demands for his wife to follow. This way, he thought, at least they could live together in peace, for the sake of the children.
His litany of terms and conditions is as follows (Disclaimer: Einstein was not what you might call a feminist, in the modern sense.):
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.
I suppose it comes as no surprise that a man of a sciencey persuasion would want to organize his demands in such a carefully ordered list, and yeah, being defensive about your desk might be okay when you’re Einstein, but renouncing all personal relations? That’s harsh. But it just goes to show that for an obsessively analytical mind like Einstein, splitting atoms is easier than splitting with your wife.