Albert Einstein Imposes on His First Wife a Cruel List of Marital Demands

Albert Ein­stein pas­sion­ate­ly wooed his first wife Mil­e­va Mar­ic, against his family’s wish­es, and the two had a tur­bu­lent but intel­lec­tu­al­ly rich rela­tion­ship that they record­ed for pos­ter­i­ty in their let­ters. Ein­stein and Maric’s love let­ters have inspired the short film above, My Lit­tle Witch (in Ser­bian, I believe, with Eng­lish sub­ti­tles) and sev­er­al crit­i­cal re-eval­u­a­tions of Einstein’s life and Mar­ic’s influ­ence on his ear­ly thought. Some his­to­ri­ans have even sug­gest­ed that Maric—who was also trained in physics—made con­tri­bu­tions to Einstein’s ear­ly work, a claim hot­ly dis­put­ed and, it seems, poor­ly sub­stan­ti­at­ed.

The letters—written between 1897 and 1903 and only dis­cov­ered in 1987—reveal a wealth of pre­vi­ous­ly unknown detail about Mar­ic and the mar­riage. While the con­tro­ver­sy over Mar­ic’s influ­ence on Ein­stein’s the­o­ries raged among aca­d­e­mics and view­ers of PBS’s con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­men­tary, Einstein’s Wife, a scan­dalous per­son­al item in the let­ters got much bet­ter press. As Ein­stein and Mileva’s rela­tion­ship dete­ri­o­rat­ed, and they attempt­ed to scotch tape it togeth­er for the sake of their chil­dren, the avun­cu­lar paci­fist wrote a chill­ing list of “con­di­tions,” in out­line form, that his wife must accept upon his return. Lists of Note tran­scribes them from Wal­ter Isaacson’s biog­ra­phy Ein­stein: His Life and Uni­verse:


A. You will make sure:

1. that my clothes and laun­dry are kept in good order;
2. that I will receive my three meals reg­u­lar­ly in my room;
3. that my bed­room and study are kept neat, and espe­cial­ly that my desk is left for my use only.

B. You will renounce all per­son­al rela­tions with me inso­far as they are not com­plete­ly nec­es­sary for social rea­sons. Specif­i­cal­ly, You will forego:

1. my sit­ting at home with you;
2. my going out or trav­el­ling with you.

C. You will obey the fol­low­ing points in your rela­tions with me:

1. you will not expect any inti­ma­cy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
2. you will stop talk­ing to me if I request it;
3. you will leave my bed­room or study imme­di­ate­ly with­out protest if I request it.

D. You will under­take not to belit­tle me in front of our chil­dren, either through words or behav­ior.

While it may be unfair to judge anyone’s total char­ac­ter by its most glar­ing defects, there’s no way to read this with­out shud­der­ing. Although Ein­stein tried to pre­serve the mar­riage, once they sep­a­rat­ed for good, he did not lament Mil­e­va’s loss for long. Man­jit Kumar tells us in Quan­tum: Ein­stein Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Real­i­ty that although “Mil­e­va agreed to his demands and Ein­stein returned”

[I]t could not last. At the end of July, after just three months in Berlin, Mil­e­va and the boys went back to Zurich. As he stood on the plat­form wav­ing good­bye, Ein­stein wept, if not for Mil­e­va and the mem­o­ries of what had been, then for his two depart­ing sons. But with­in a mat­ter of weeks he was hap­pi­ly enjoy­ing liv­ing alone “in my large apart­ment in undi­min­ished tran­quil­i­ty.”

Ein­stein prized his soli­tude great­ly. Anoth­er remark shows his dif­fi­cul­ty with per­son­al rela­tion­ships. While he even­tu­al­ly fell in love with his cousin Elsa and final­ly divorced Mav­ic to mar­ry her in 1919, that mar­riage too was trou­bled. Elsa died in 1936 soon after the cou­ple moved to the U.S. Not long after her death, Ein­stein would write, “I have got­ten used extreme­ly well to life here. 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.”

Einstein’s per­son­al fail­ings might pass by with­out much com­ment if had not, like his hero Gand­hi, been ele­vat­ed to the sta­tus of a “sec­u­lar saint.” Yet, it is also the per­son­al incon­sis­ten­cies, the weak­ness­es and pet­ty, even incred­i­bly cal­lous moments, that make so many famous fig­ures’ lives com­pelling, if also con­fus­ing. As Ein­stein schol­ar John Stachel says, “Too much of an idol was made of Ein­stein. He’s not an idol—he’s a human, and that’s much more inter­est­ing.”

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Lis­ten as Albert Ein­stein Reads ‘The Com­mon Lan­guage of Sci­ence’ (1941)

The Musi­cal Mind of Albert Ein­stein: Great Physi­cist, Ama­teur Vio­lin­ist and Devo­tee of Mozart

Ein­stein Doc­u­men­tary Offers A Reveal­ing Por­trait of the Great 20th Cen­tu­ry Sci­en­tist

Albert Ein­stein Express­es His Admi­ra­tion for Mahat­ma Gand­hi, in Let­ter and Audio

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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  • Jan Heilig says:

    It is true that Ein­stein was just a human, equal to us, and mak­ing idols out of peo­ple can only be dec­ceived by a clos­er look. But there is a hint in his let­ters that he was not exact­ly like most of us: What he demands — his list, that sounds very unfair or self­ish to our ears sounds very dif­fer­ent to peo­ple with Asperg­er or any oth­er form of Autism. Many of them could make a sim­i­lar list. In fact, it sounds like some­one try­ing to find order at any price as well as bee­ing undis­turbed and pro­tect­ed from exter­nal “trig­gers” — dis­tur­bances that over­loads their low tol­er­ance to sup­port every social rela­tions to the “out­er world”. If ever you may have the chance to read about the mar­riage behav­iour of some­one with an Asperg­er diag­no­sis you will find their way of live sim­i­lar to the one Ein­stein asks for, but the rea­sons are not self­ish, they are a way of sur­vival for some­one with lacks in his social abil­i­ties while in oth­er areas Apsperg­ers may show sur­pris­ing high tal­ents — like the one of Ein­stein.

    This list was new to me, but it sup­ports in my eyes very well the hypoth­e­sis of Ein­stein bee­ing one with an Asper­gian syndrom…what of course can nev­er be proved with 100% evi­dence, but there ar a lot of hints for it. This list is just anoth­er one.

  • CGANDY says:

    I agree com­plete­ly with Jan Heilig. I have four on the spec­trum and have some Asperg­er ten­den­cies myself. I can under­stand why he wrote them(his list of terms). Yes it may seem harsh to some, but with what I have seen and lived with. I under­stand and respect it, as well as his abil­i­ty to self advo­cate for his needs. The dif­fer­ence in his life and mine is we adjust to it a bit bet­ter, and more social­ly at my house but we also have an under­stand­ing that if one of us needs to be total­ly iso­lat­ed for a time that is sacred space.

  • Angelina Love says:

    Cru­el List? He was the Man and he had his quirks BIG DEAL!!! I do not see this list or demands as cru­el at all!!Give me a break!!!

  • Dr. Debabrata Chakrabarti says:

    The rela­tion between the two has been specif­i­cal­ly relat­ed in the biog­ra­phy of Moriz Win­ter­nitz by his son Georg Win­ter­nitz. See the pub­li­ca­tion aec­tion of my web­site and click: Biog­ra­phy Moriz Win­ter­nitz (Eng­lish, PDF, 330kB) p. 7–9 but par­tic­u­lar­ly the fol­low­ing lines:
    “Ein­stein lived in Prague with his wife Mil­e­va, neé Mar­iè (1875–1948) and their two sons,
    Hans Albert and Eduard, born in 1904 and 1910 respec­tive­ly. Mil­e­va was a Greek Ortho­dox Ser­bian whose par­ents lived in a small town in what was then Hun­gary lat­er now Yugoslavia. She had become acquaint­ed with Ein­stein in Zurich. Their par­tic­i­pa­tion in stud­ies of the same sub­ject soon led to a ten­der attach­ment, which result­ed to their mar­riage in 1903. It struck me even at that time that Ein­stein fre­quent­ly spent entire Sun­day after­noons in our com­pa­ny with­out his wife or chil­dren even once. I came to know much lat­er, how­ev­er, that his mar­riage did not turn out to be a hap­py one. They lived apart from 1914 onwards. The mar­riage was offi­cial­ly dis­solved in 1919 before Ein­stein wed­ded for the sec­ond time. I think I under­stand today to what cir­cum­stances we chil­dren owed our acquain­tance with Ein­stein. In the com­pa­ny of his colleague’s har­mo­nious fam­i­ly he obvi­ous­ly got his hard-earned relax­ation through music and delight­ful con­ver­sa­tion. In his lat­er years he also liked to spend his hours of con­va­les­cence with his col­leagues or friends and their fam­i­lies. His own fam­i­ly life was bound in great sor­row, and it was for­tu­nate that his efforts were total­ly absorbed in an extra­or­di­nary inter­est in research. At times he could only find joy in nature, in music, and in uncon­strained con­ver­sa­tion with good friends.”

  • Caren Epstein says:

    As a high school teacher, I have had at least one autis­tic stu­dent each aca­d­e­m­ic year. Sev­er­al of my autis­tic stu­dents have the Asperg­er’s vari­ety of autism. Yes, they have a lot of dif­fi­cul­ty func­tion­ing “prop­er­ly” with oth­er peo­ple, but my expe­ri­ence with Asperg­er’s kids has been most­ly quite pos­i­tive. By the time they reach high school, most of them have learned how to live with the con­di­tion. And as an aca­d­e­m­ic, I can tell you that not one of my Asperg­er’s kids has had an IQ of any less than 135. So per­haps their innate intel­li­gence helps them to com­pen­sate for what skills they lack social­ly. Ein­stein’s list looks, to me, like a sur­vival guide — he knew what his trig­gers were and he was at least par­tial­ly suc­cess­ful at steer­ing clear of them. And what did we, as a soci­ety, get in return? The most bril­liant scientist/mathematician in human his­to­ry. We, as a soci­ety, ben­e­fit­ed tremen­dous­ly from Ein­stein’s pres­ence on our plan­et. Bra­vo!!!

  • Hanoch says:

    I don’t see any­thing com­pelling or con­fus­ing about this. It seems Ein­stein’s Con­di­tions (par­tic­u­lar­ly B & C) pro­vide excel­lent evi­dence in favor of the propo­si­tion that rea­son and intel­lect, no mat­ter how great, do not inex­orably lead to moral­i­ty.

  • Cindy says:

    Dif­fer­ent time/place. But men were usu­al­ly a‑holes to their wives back then.

  • Cindy says:

    …and of course the men here will excuse and ratio­nal­ize all this, entire­ly. But if this were Madame Curie with all these demands, oooo! “Bitch! Bitch!” Yeah, I can just hear it. Men sure don’t like their faults being called out; women are sup­posed to end­less­ly endure being fault­ed how­ev­er.

  • Freeman says:

    Ein­stein’s “con­di­tions” for a attempt­ed rec­on­cil­i­a­tion with Mil­e­va sound most like a recog­ni­tion of a rela­tion­ship where the two par­tic­i­pants were whol­ly unmatched in their needs for inti­ma­cy. It also reveals that NEITHER of the par­tic­i­pants were ful­ly able to come to terms with the oth­ers needs. But there is noth­ing in this that address­es “moral­i­ty” in any sense.

  • Mike Johnson says:

    So what hap­pened to Ein­stein’s son after he took off for the USA?

  • E. Kraft says:

    My ques­tion is the same as Mike John­son what hap­pened to his two son’s?

  • katydid41 says:

    Ein­stein divorced his 1st wife AFTER she explained and proved the the­o­ry of rel­a­tiv­i­ty to him. He then pub­lished it and took full cred­it for it.

    He nev­er matched that accom­plish­ment again.

    Just anoth­er exam­ple of male “enti­tle­ment” in action… steal what you can from a woman and find a way to blame her for every­thing. Boys club rules.

  • Marlene says:

    I read this book years ago and found it extreme­ly inter­est­ing, espe­cial­ly the chap­ter on Mil­e­va Mar­ic and Ein­stein. It sup­ports what katydid41 is say­ing about the The­o­ry of Rel­a­tiv­i­ty.

    By the way, I don’t think that we can con­clude any­thing about Ein­stein’s hav­ing Asperg­er’s based on the mate­r­i­al giv­en here. Cer­tain­ly his love let­ters to Mil­e­va show a good deal of feel­ing, which would counter that diag­no­sis. I believe more mate­r­i­al and more thought needs to go into under­stand­ing his char­ac­ter.

  • Marlene says:

    The link did not take so here’s the info on the book. It is -

    Ein­stein’s Wife: Work and Mar­riage in the Lives of Five Great Twen­ti­eth-Cen­tu­ry Women by Andrea Gabor

  • Iris says:

    In response to Mar­lene; a diag­no­sis of Asperg­ers and the abil­i­ty to demon­strate in writ­ing ‘a good deal of feel­ing’ are not incom­pat­i­ble. Peo­ple with Asperg­ers have rich emo­tion­al lives; the dif­fi­cul­ties lie not in being able to feel pos­i­tive emo­tions, but in being able to act upon them.

  • Karsus says:

    That list looks like “con­di­tions to have me come back, despite the fact that we’re not get­ting along — for the sake of our chil­dren”

    … Sounds fair.

  • Nichole says:

    Even if he did fall on the autis­tic spec­trum it does not erase the fact that his let­ter is basi­cal­ly demands for his wife (who at that point did­n’t even get along with) to serve him. Now it can be argued that it is a type of “autism sur­vival guide”, how­ev­er hav­ing your wife fold and do you laundry/ make and serve din­er to you in your room (like some god, ha!) is misog­y­nis­tic and is not see­ing ones wife as an equal but as some sort of slave(even if the mar­riage was crum­bling he should not have a list of demands for his wife to fol­low like a employee/slave). Smart as he may be in some areas, it seems as though he lacked in the basic under­stand­ing of gen­der equal­i­ty. A flawed human for sure.

  • Karen says:

    Does his writ­ings on love, as the quin­tes­sen­tial force of the uni­verse, fit with the pro­file of asperg­ers?

  • Ibrahim says:

    excuse me but.…what is the prob­lem with these require­ments ???
    In my coun­try, these are just some basic rules…mouah ah ah !!!

  • L says:

    Ibrahim : the prob­lem with these require­ments is that they turn women into low sta­tus lit­tle respect­ed ser­vants who pro­duce poor­ly edu­cate unsen­si­tive brats like your­self.

  • L says:

    there is no rea­son to belive he was asperg­er, or if he was, he was not very much. He went along well and was charm­ing to peo­ple at par­ties as has been report­ed mul­ti­ple times.
    If he was asperg­er, it was slight­ly, not to the point of being com­plete­ly inca­pac­i­tat­ed by any noise or stim­u­lus.
    Those that have asperg­er to the point of being unable to tol­er­ate stim­u­lus are unable to express rich emo­tion­al lives, unlike what some sug­gest. It takes a mod­er­ate asperg­er to be able to express your­self like that.
    He seems like some­one who want­ed to have a lot of time for him­self and that did not con­sid­er he had much time to owe to his wife and fam­i­ly.
    It sounds much more as though he did not get along well with his wife, val­ued his intel­lec­tu­al life more, and want­ed to have the least pos­si­ble amount of con­tact with his fam­i­ly, than it souns that he was unable to have con­tact with peo­ple.
    Asperg­er or not, it is cru­el to be with some­one that does not ever want to go out or spend time with you, and mar­ried with some­one who does not want inti­ma­cy.
    Con­sid­er­ing it was just some sort of patch on a mar­riage that did­nt work, just to make it work for the kids it seems, it is some­what under­stand­able, except for the part about being served three times a day, which is over the top yet nor­mal at the time. His intel­li­gence did not make him see beyond the social con­ven­tions of the time in what regards gen­der roles it seems.
    The fact peo­ple say there is no prob­lem at all with a mar­riage includ­ing those demands, since he is a genius, real­ly does show how enti­tled soci­ety accepts male genius to be, espe­cial­ly in their rela­tion­ship with women. Peo­ple would not be so under­stand­ing with curie, as has been said.
    This ten­dance to not want to admit any hard or dark­er trait in a genius just because over­all his impact on earth is pos­i­tive, real­ly shows a way of think­ing that seems to me dan­ger­ous.
    It is obvi­ous from this that he did not val­ue his wife very much and want­ed to spend the least amount of time with her and have the least pos­si­ble amount of oblig­a­tions towards his whole fam­i­ly. If they were in very bad terms, once again some of it can be under­stood, but brush­ing it away as him being a nice chap cause over­all he did good to earth bewil­ders me.

  • L says:

    basi­cal­ly what caren epstein says is
    — he was suc­cess­ful at steer­ing clear of what both­ered him by hav­ing pret­ty harsh demands on a woman and only both­er­ing a woman — while in exchange he pro­vid­ed the world first rate sci­ence ; so bra­vo, no prob­lem there.

  • PacificSage says:

    “Great minds dis­cuss ideas; aver­age minds dis­cuss events; small minds dis­cuss peo­ple.”

    I’ve always know this quote, but in response to the fact that Ein­stein was flawed & not a per­fect idol, It dawned on me it’s appli­ca­tion:

    Small minds idol­ize peo­ple
    Aver­age minds idol­ize events
    Great minds idol­ize ideas.

  • Dave says:

    Please do not try to speak for me, you do it bad­ly.

  • OTOH-rama says:

    And of course Albert is the vil­lain in this script.

    Does no one ask what behav­ior in Mar­ic prompt­ed Albert to ask he not be ver­bal­ly abused of belit­tled in front of the chil­dren?

    And what an awful man he must have been to feel the need to put in writ­ing that his wife no longer “reproach” him.

  • Carol says:

    Per­haps a dif­fer­ent lens by which we can con­sid­er the list and the man who wrote it…
    To a sci­en­tif­ic intel­li­gence which seeks to describe and pre­dict, the list is a tool almost akin to an algo­rithm or heuris­tic. It could be Ein­steins attempt to solve a com­plex social and mar­i­tal prob­lem by defin­ing a solu­tion in terms accept­able to him. No room for poten­tial­ly diver­gent dis­cus­sions or explo­rations of caus­es and dimen­sions of the prob­lem- just an attempt­ed solu­tion.
    We can cri­tique the short­com­ings of the list for signs of self interest,differential entitlement,or evi­dence of Asberg­ers, and it is not hard to iden­ti­fy, but the list was clear­ly intend­ed to act as a for­mu­la to allow the fam­i­ly to con­tin­ue liv­ing togeth­er. What mis­ery must have neces­si­tat­ed such a pro­pos­al? I recall all too well mar­riage to a bril­liant per­son and rais­ing chil­dren with­in the shad­ow of bizarre neglect caused by Asberg­ers

  • patricia_m says:

    how odd to real­ize that some women find it ok to receive a list of what to do and not do in their mar­riage :)

  • patricia_m says:

    is it because we’re talk­ing about a genius that no one dares say­ing that he seemed to want a dis­tant pres­ence and a slave rather than a wife? “don’t expect any inti­ma­cy” is just as dis­turb­ing as “you will give me inti­ma­cy every time I will want it”… I’m not sure I get all the asperg­er com­ments when the arti­cle says that he did­n’t lament when they sep­a­rat­ed, asperg­er or not he did­n’t seem to care much about her, it does sound as sim­ple as that…

  • Lons says:

    Why did­n’t he get to keep his boys

  • Frida Bagel says:

    Talk about blam­ing the vic­tim! I was raised in a house where it was always said that there are two sides to every sto­ry. Well there aren’t always two sides two every sto­ry. She is not respon­si­ble for him being a d**k. If he did­n’t want to con­tin­ue the rela­tion­ship he had options, which he lat­er exer­cised. Being cru­el is nev­er war­rant­ed. We should not have any tol­er­ance for it no mat­ter how exalt­ed the per­son is. We, as a soci­ety have no con­trol over the behav­ior of an indi­vid­ual. We do, how­ev­er have a choice of decid­ing what we find accept­able. It is by that, that a soci­ety should be judged.

  • Tamara says:

    I believe that Mil­e­va was a tox­ic per­son­al­i­ty (NPD) and Albert was sim­ply set­ting strong bound­aries with her. He appears to have “mar­ried his moth­er”, as unaware vic­tims often do. He broke down with PTSD after the divorce.

  • Tamara says:

    Galileo, Kepler, and New­ton suf­fered sim­i­lar­ly. Sur­vivors find good things hap­pen to them when they break away and achieve No Con­tact.

  • Ca Dozo says:

    He went on to oth­er recog­ni­tion. His Nobel Prize was not for the The­o­ry of Rel­a­tiv­i­ty.

  • Jeff Mcneill says:

    It is so very sad that peo­ple are will­ing to guess and to judge with­out know­ing the con­text. Appar­ent­ly the let­ter was writ­ten to con­vince the wife to agree to a divorce. She was adamant­ly against it, and so what you see are a set of impos­si­ble con­di­tions. She agreed short­ly there­after. That Ein­stein was seri­ous or that this was a lit­er­al request is mere­ly a con­clu­sion that peo­ple with no imag­i­na­tion jump to. Every­one who wants to self-sat­is­fy­ing­ly diag­nose asperg­er’s or misog­y­ny are cer­tain­ly no psy­chi­a­trists.

  • Sarah Vaughter says:

    You call Ein­stein immor­ral because he gave his wife, who had made his life a liv­ing hell, a sec­ond chance on behalf of their chil­dren and mere­ly asked her to keep con­tact to a min­i­mum? Ask­ing her not to pub­licly humil­i­ate him in front of his own chil­dren, some­thing she had done many times before, “immoral”??

  • Mj says:

    Please do not try to speak for me; you do it bad­ly.

    Sor­ry, just had to cor­rect com­ma punc­tu­a­tion use.

  • Einstein Hater says:

    @Angelina Love, how can you say that?! Ein­stein forced his first wife to put her son up for adop­tion, he cheat­ed on her, and that list is so insult­ing to his wife, I mean, he expect­ed his wife to do his laun­dry, expect­ed her to make him lunch, break­fast, and din­ner. He also expect­ed her to wait on him hand and foot, I mean, clean his study! Stop talk­ing when he says to, leave the room if he says to, that is very insult­ing, he treats his wife as if she is a slave with those requests. Also, his the­o­ry of rel­a­tiv­i­ty was both his and his first wives the­o­ry. And he gave her no cred­it at all.

  • Salva says:

    I just arrived to the same con­clu­sion after watch­ing Genius, recent­ly released by Nation­al Geo­graph­ic. Quite clear, many ele­ments point­ing to that. I believe he also did not expect Mil­e­va to agree to those con­di­tions, con­ced­ing him the divorce. Of course the tox­ic per­son would be ret­i­cent to lose his/her sup­ply, so she agreed with them than los­ing him.

  • jo says:

    I feel that his moth­er and his cousin made that list for Albert in hopes his wife would give him the divorce.

  • Jo says:

    If his 1st wife would have been giv­en the chance to study with Albert things would have been dif­fer­ent his

    moth­er would­n’t sup­port that she want­ed to domisti­cate her she had a bril­liant mind Albert fell in love with it they could relate the oth­er women could­n’t and were jeal­ous.
    I don’t think Albert found that ever again what does that tell us he saved their love let­ters to the end.

  • Orsi says:

    Albert, his old­er son went to the US, while Eduard his younger son stayed in Zurich with his mom and even­tu­al­ly got inter­nalised to Burghol­zli hos­pi­tal because of his men­tal prob­lems.

  • Marcia McElligott says:

    I have lived this life. All of these demands were made in me.
    I refused. I set­tled in for
    THE LONG WAIT. it took my hus­band many years to leave. His room was a hor­ror. I had to sleep on a sofa 5yrs.When we divorced,he pho­tographed his own
    Pig pen and blamed me. This was in 2009.Our cus­tody suit was decid­ed by jury. Nine men, 3 women. I lost. He beat our son and lost cus­tody. My ex.was a clas­si­cal musi­cian, very Asperg­ers. I loved him but he was unfair, unfeel­ing. I sur­vived. My son sur­vived. The
    Ex.struggles with rela­tion­ships.

  • Vern says:

    “He’s not an idol—he’s a human, and that’s much more inter­est­ing.”

    Is “Genius” accu­rate in his por­tray­al? If so, then Ein­stein was a poor excuse for a human. “Inter­est­ing” does not jus­ti­fy his cru­el­ty and cold­ness to his wife.

  • jino says:

    Every­thing is fine she may have con­tributed to his theory.but we cant deny the fact 80 per­cent­age of the sci­ence we know today is con­tributed by men. Even if she con­tributed to him it dos­nt take away the fact sci­ence is almost entire­ly made by men .so you cant say woman is more intel­li­gent than can also not say men is intel­li­gent than women.both hav equal intelligences.and why does we hav to wor­ry about if mil­e­va did­nt have any prob­lem with it.she did­nt even for once said she helped the the­o­ry is sole­ly by ein­stein.

  • Sharon Sampson says:

    Any genius has a price to pay. Always a down side. Mal­e­va was a woman dur­ing a time when men spent inor­di­nate ener­gy to con­trol women and look THE MAN. Sick. She was bril­liant and I have to say from what lit­tle I’ve learned about the Ein­steins tells me strong­ly that it was Mal­e­va who inspired and trig­gered some of the most rel­e­vant the­o­ries we know today that we attribute to Ein­stein. Two beau­ti­ful boys. And Ein­stein left this beau­ti­ful bril­liant moth­er of his two sons for his cor­pu­lent cousin? My first impres­sion from this is that Ein­stein was a very threat­ened male. Espe­cial­ly with this list he pre­sent­ed to his…perfect mate and her sub­ju­gat­ed duties…she want­ed to go with him to talks and soci­ety pro­mo­tions. She was forced to act stu­pid and worth­less while he took cred­it for HER ideas. Who knows who will ever know for sure what the dynam­ics of the Ein­steins were! I am just show­ing anoth­er pos­si­ble ver­sion.

  • me says:

    Laugh­able fem­i­nist lie

  • me says:

    Curie is the best fem­i­nists can come up with yet dis­cov­er­ing radi­um she failed to dis­cov­er it was dan­ger­ous even as she died of it. If that’s genius then women have a long way to go

  • Randy Dowdy says:

    He was a man with an extreme­ly low lev­el of testos­terone, so he was­n’t very inter­est­ed in pu$$y. As far as his list of demands, they were quite jus­ti­fi­able dur­ing that era. Of course they would be extreme now, but now does­n’t count when it comes to then.

  • Gurlie says:

    what Valid Proof do you have of this?

  • Gurlie says:

    he was 1/2 jew­ish and 1/2 ger­man. whats your excuse now.…

  • Murt says:

    He was clear­ly try­ing to iso­late him­self from the type of con­stant harp­ing crit­i­cism that you are dis­play­ing here.
    Some­times, for the sake of our own san­i­ty, we have to say shut up.

  • outsiderart says:

    List is tak­en out of con­text.
    Read the biogra­phies. (Or even just the link pro­vid­ed to “Lists of Note.”)
    Trun­cat­ed ver­sion: Ein­stein want­ed a divorce. Mar­ic would­n’t agree. (Ergo the “return” ref­er­enced.) List cre­at­ed to force the issue. It worked — five months lat­er Mar­ic moved out, tak­ing the kids with her. And five years lat­er she agreed to the divorce.

  • Frederique says:

    I won­dered this. Then again the 3 meal a day require­ment is a bit dis­turb­ing.

  • Lucas Gutierrez says:

    Albert Ein­stein did not impose these rules on his wife. He did so to get out of a fail­ing mar­riage since the wife declined the divorce. In order to break the mar­riage and pre­vent Albert and his wife from going crazy, he cre­at­ed a very intol­er­a­ble and ter­ri­ble list so she can accept the divorce. Any­one who believes this list is actu­al­ly fair should prob­a­bly go seek actu­al help.…there is some­thing wrong with you.

    As for the cre­ator of this post, don’t word your titles so wrong­ly.

  • Robert says:

    Go back to the peri­od that this so called con­tract was wrote. This is more com­mon of a mind set amongst Amer­i­cans , than you might think.

  • Nuno Costa says:

    All this innu­en­dos… Ein­stein want­ed to divorce Mil­e­va did­n’t so he cre­at­ed this list to force her to divorce…

  • Lily says:

    L.….you are spot on!

    I applaude your response to Ibrahim

  • Jonathan says:

    I can say that I read the let­ter with­out shud­der­ing. I think many peo­ple can say the same. He want­ed to divorce her but she did not want to. He was just try­ing to get her to divorce from a love­less mar­riage so he can go with the one he loved. So sad to see this arti­cle. Hun­dred years since it hap­pened and peo­ple are still try­ing to judge or demo­nize the man. His first wife seemed very smart, but hys­ter­i­cal. No man deserves a crazy woman. I give kud­dos to Albert for the let­ter. Hon­esty about how one feels is only some­thing to admire. Deceit and lies are the only sin.

  • Moya says:

    Ein­stein s biggest crime was copy­ing the Irish­man s Hamil­ton s the­o­ry of Rel­a­tiv­i­ty

  • dbo says:

    Do you have any idea what you are say­ing. How ca you pos­si­bly believe that.

  • Introvert says:

    He who speak does not know,
    He who knows does not speak.

  • Introvert says:

    I could­n’t agree more.

  • Go if you can on my term of the deal to npds says:

    Albert was an intro­vert and if you know what that real­ly is which is long con­sis­tent on a dai­ly basis dis­cov­ery to the per­son that which they lack also which i wont real­ly say it to every one in its nacked form so extro­verts take this as an advan­tage.
    I know Albert’s per­son­al­i­ty. How? Cant say but you can already guess that it is not from human by human only dis­cov­ery. My point is, Albert sub­con­scious­ly was aware of his weak­ness­es, he had to set some rule as a defense.
    If he was a manip­u­la­tor who had no prob­lem manip­u­lat­ing peo­ple to win every argu­ment, enjoy­ing the lime­light com­fort­ed on the pres­ence and atten­tions of oth­ers he would­n’t write B, C, D
    i know oth­ers who were like this too. Michael Jack­son, it may be true what they say about them tho say­ing “plain rude” because they lack sth *. But
    Dont belit­tle me infront of the chil­dren?
    You will stop talk­ing to me if i request it?
    This man must’ve lost con­trol of her being unstop­pably drain­ing and abus­ing him. Be sure.
    But brain washed to wom­ans vic­tim­hood allover their head by fem­i­nists could say more than a..ole. that means ntn but hunger to dom­i­nate men. As the bible it self says so ‘you will desire to con­trol your hus­band’. Sim­ple­tons they must be. Not know­ing the cre­ator who is capa­ble to judge upon all to fire(punishment) or life which is plea­sure, peace. Both lim­it­less­ly which is called for­ev­er.

    Glo­ry be to him.

  • Maureen Sansburn says:

    I coun’t agree with you mroe. It seems that all sorts of bad behavoir is allowed for men.

  • Roberto says:

    Angeli­na, I hope you find your Ein­stein and dis­cov­er Truth.

  • Christopher says:

    Ele­gant­ly stat­ed.

  • lester says:

    It is inter­est­ing to read so many peo­ple read their biog­ra­phy into this short list. Per­haps even more inter­est­ing, it seems that cur­rent polit­i­cal trib­al­ism must be read into past events.

    I am sor­ry to see the obvi­ous dis­tress in this house, as I am with the huge num­ber of bro­ken homes I deal with now. I hope that those of us who are dis­tressed with this arti­cle do some­thing to help a strug­gling home now.

  • ELLE says:

    I con­cur with Kar­sus.

    Any per­son who has to make lenien­cy towards the wish­es of anoth­er or “for the bet­ter good” despite his/her own will, wish­es and ten­den­cies would form such a list. That is, any per­son in their right mind! That in order to to try to pre­vent any “mis­un­der­stand­ings” or exploita­tion of their act of good-will!

    The fact that “some” (if not most) of the above com­ments are relat­ed to the per­son­al expe­ri­ences of their writ­ers, only proves the nar­row-mind­ed­ness ten­den­cy of the human race… I’d sug­gest bet­ter edu­ca­tion as ther­a­py… THIS IS EXACTLY HOW PREJUDICE COMES TO EXIST = NARROW-MINDEDNESS…

  • Junior Von Davis says:

    There was noth­ing cru­el about these requests. She was a malig­nant nar­cis­sist and Ein­stein imposed these for social rea­sons dur­ing their rela­tion­ship. My under­stand­ing is the idea was when deal­ing with a malig­nant nar­cis­sist you must set ground rules so they are not abu­sive, use you, or become vio­lent. These rules were to mit­i­gate the dam­age caused by her not put her down as a female. Any­one tak­ing this as such is prob­a­bly a fem­i­nist, yet all you are look­ing at is the side of the demands not so much what she was prob­a­bly doing. Fem­i­nist con­done the behav­ior though. What’s fun­ny is if you went to work act­ing like a malig­nant nar­cis­sist you would get fired female or male. Cru­el you say to wash clothes, keep his room tidy, stop talk­ing if she start­ed to become ver­bal­ly abu­sive (you won’t put me down or talk to me like that in front of our chil­dren), no none of that is cru­el at all. Why would some­one who’s impos­ing such restric­tions offer their noble prize to be left alone? You don’t think he could have tak­en that mon­ey and found a new broad, more men­tal­ly sta­ble, and polite to spend that mon­ey on? It was because Mil­e­va was men­tal­ly sick, and he cut his los­es at an expen­sive price.

  • Beatrice Ring says:

    Edward felt in love in med school — with an old­er stu­dent but their rela­tion­ship felt apart and he attempt­ed sui­cide. The depres­sion and dif­fi­cult child­hood trig­gered his latent schiz­o­phre­nia and he spent 30 years in a men­tal writ­ing beau­ti­ful poet­ry, and his moth­er was beg­ging for finan­cial help to every­one she knew until she died.

    The oth­er son became a teacher and went to Amer­i­ca to find his father. Ein­stein prob­a­bly did­n’t care two bits about any­one. He was a tyrant, and I would­n’t call call his behav­ior by any men­tal dis­or­der, that would be ludi­crous. Many suc­cess­ful peo­ple are absolute­ly hor­ri­ble. There are let­ter that detail the way he treat­ed his wife, that was just abu­sive. He would have gone through high con­flict res­o­lu­tion class­es and pay child and spousal sup­port nowa­days and she would have lived to be an old woman instead of suf­fer­ing and beg­ging around.

    There’s a the­o­ry that both his daugh­ter and Eduard had men­tal dis­or­der because Ein­stein had syphilis when they were still mar­ried. Syphilis which was so com­mon in the days, dam­aged his ascend­ing aor­ta — and killed him — appar­ent­ly.

  • Gorguruga says:

    It isn’t that abnor­mal a list, if you think about it. Many mar­riages fall into that kind of pat­tern when peo­ple fall out of love. We also don’t know what list of demands Mil­e­va had for him (if any). It’s quite pos­si­ble that we’re only see­ing one side of the sto­ry here. And I think most telling is the very last com­ment about Mil­e­va belit­tling him in front of the chil­dren. It sheds some light on what kind of a per­son she was since a rea­son­able per­son and good moth­er would­n’t do that. Also he tells her that she should­n’t expect inti­ma­cy and must­n’t reproach him in any way. It sounds as if he had stopped being sex­u­al­ly attract­ed to her and it seems her belit­tling him and reproach­ing him prob­a­bly played a part in that. I think that’s why he says she should stop talk­ing if he requests it, which is a rea­son­able request if he’s refer­ring to her belit­tling and reproach­ing him. So there’s prob­a­bly some con­text miss­ing here about how Mil­e­va con­duct­ed her­self in their rela­tion­ship which even­tu­al­ly led to this list being writ­ten. It takes two to tan­go.

  • Jony Vale says:

    Ein­stein want­ed a divorce. I am cer­tain he would have sup­port­ed at least half of a child’s expen­sive month­ly if she Mil­e­va agreed to divorce.

    So This is arti­cle poten­tial­ly mis­lead­ing.. Ein­stein might have wrote the let­ter inten­tion­al­ly being absurd in order to ensure a divorce.

    He only want­ed to belit­tle his wife so that she would be forced to grant him the free­dom of a divorce. She denied him that free­dom and that is cru­el.

    How­ev­er, it is cer­tain that Mil­e­va had rea­son to fear divorce for being a woman whose career nev­er took flight, part­ly due to Ein­stein, and where would she live if not in Einstein’s home!!

    So, my opin­ion real­ly depends both on 1) USA laws to pro­tect women after divorce (in those days) and 2) Einstein’s inten­tion of finan­cial­ly sup­port­ing not just his kids, but at least her wife (until she gets a job or remar­ries).

    Assum­ing Ein­stein approached my two con­cerns with dig­ni­ty, then I view his let­ter as a man try­ing to gain free­dom, and I would view Mil­e­va as part­ly cru­el, and very pos­si­bly either delu­sion­al or hys­ter­i­cal for deny­ing Ein­stein his request to divorce (not to men­tion, weak/bitter for accept­ing such cru­el require­ments as those list­ed)

  • Anusuya says:

    You can get a sense of how Mil­e­va was as a per­son in his pre­vi­ous let­ters. Ein­stein always called her ‘my lit­tle one’ or some such phras­es. Its a sub­tle way of feel­ing supe­ri­or in a rela­tion­ship, putting your wife on a pedestal below you. Mil­e­va seemed to me rather emo­tion­al, sick and inno­cent. Not com­bat­ive at all. Also, the rea­son she reproached him was that she sus­pect­ed him of infi­deli­ty. Ein­stein men­tions some­thing hint­ing towards that in this very let­ter as well. No one knows the truth of it of course, and Ein­stein denies it vehe­ment­ly. Here, and in sub­se­quent let­ters also, Ein­stein’s behav­iour towards Mil­e­va is bor­der­ing on a supe­ri­or ordering/ talk­ing down to his infe­ri­or, leav­ing no room for an equal dis­course. I get a sense that this mar­riage was nev­er equal and Mil­e­va looked up to Ein­stein. All was well till the wor­ship­ful girl start­ed find­ing fault. That’s when all hell broke loose. Per­haps there is some jus­ti­fi­ca­tion in the fact that this behav­iour was com­mon for men in that cen­tu­ry? Maybe Ein­stein could not tol­er­ate being the low­er one on the pedestal for a change. Any­ways, it broke my heart as I always looked up to Ein­stein as a kind man, a lov­ing man.

  • Ellie says:

    There’s a few things going on here. First in those days in Europe the wife was expect­ed to do all that clean­ing and organs and obey­ing. Deny­ing her inti­ma­cy how­ev­er, even when she ful­fills that rule, is not stan­dard. I do think he was being a jerk in order to get her to leave him though.

    Sec­ond, I watched some of Genius on Ama­zon Prime Video and tbh if a dude tast­ed me like that, even back in the day, I’d con­sid­er that he was a dick. It seems she thought they were col­leagues but he had no prob­lem rel­e­gat­ing her to the role of house­wife. She may very well have been as smart as him, and he expect­ed her to just be a house­wife. I think Marie Curie’s hus­band was much more inclu­sive, and they lived in the same time peri­od.

    Bot­tom line though, she should have baked on him after the first kid died cause he was­n’t step­ping up and was obvi­ous­ly going to throw her under the bus with regard to not tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty for ful­fill­ing the footie they both planned which includ­ed her work­ing. Dude would­n’t even mar­ry her before the birth or attend the birth. She prob­a­bly could­n’t let him go die to emo­tion­al attach­ment but he was def­i­nite­ly show­ing signs of being a dead­beat long before this list

    And final­ly, it’s okay for ppl who make con­tri­bu­tions to soci­ety, sci­ence, art, music, lit­er­a­ture to also be ter­ri­ble ppl. It’s obvi­ous­ly not desir­able, but those two things can exist simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. In Ein­stein’s case he was a crap spouse to the first wife and it seems he nev­er cred­it­ed her for her con­tri­bu­tions. That can be true and also he can simul­ta­ne­ous­ly have made incred­i­ble con­tri­bu­tions and have oth­er redeem­ing qual­i­ties.

  • Pythagorean Theorem says:

    I read the arti­cle and most of the replies. I feel as con­fused and igno­rant about this sub­ject as I did before.
    It just goes to show that bad his­to­ry is worse than com­plete lack of knowl­edge.

  • Robert says:

    Ein­stein was a Genius and he under­stood women. His Rules should be fol­lowed by EVERY Fem­i­nist when they are mar­ried to a MAN.

  • Mark Lawrence says:


    When I first read this list, sev­er­al decades ago, my first reac­tion was very dif­fer­ent. I instant­ly thought mil­e­va must have been a com­plete bitch. My sec­ond thought was very decent chance she was molest­ed in her youth and she had bor­der­line per­son­al­i­ty dis­or­der.

    Short­ly after this note she com­mit­ted their old­est son, Eduar­do, 18, to an asy­lum where he receives insulin shock and elec­tro shock for his depres­sion. He was men­tal­ly destroyed and nev­er left the asy­lum, sign there at age 43. Their younger son, Hans Albert, nev­er for­gave mil­e­va for destroy­ing his broth­er.

    Just a dif­fer­ent take. But then, I know sev­er­al peo­ple who knew Ein­stein, I’ve spent some time at the Ein­stein papers project. I nev­er knew Ein­stein per­son­al­ly; he died 9 months before I was born. But I know his life pret­ty decent­ly, I know his work pret­ty well, and I’m an invol­un­tary expert on women with BPD.

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