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Did Albert Einstein Have a List of Conditions for His Wife?

Mileva Marić, the first wife of Albert Einstein, collaborated with him on most nights of their marriage. Many testimonies and letters agree that Marić and Einstein worked together almost nightly, with Einstein even mentioning our work on relative motion. When Marić heard the news of Einstein’s two-year affair with his cousin in 1914, their marriage quickly came to a crash. 

In 1914 during the fall of their marriage, Einstein made a list of conditions for his wife, Mileva Marić, to follow if they wanted to remain together. Some of the terms in his list were that she would serve him food three times a day in his room, renounce her relationships with him, and stop expecting intimacy from him. 

Marić and Einstein’s Infamous Relationship

Known as a legendary scientist, Albert Einstein’s contributions to the science field remains relevant even in the modern world. Einstein’s theory of relativity drastically changed the understanding of the universe, but that’s only part of the legacy he established, as he has many other scientific studies that earned the recognition he continues to receive.

Although known for many things, Einstein wasn’t known to be a great husband, especially to his first wife, Mileva Marić, a fellow physician who allegedly aided Einstein in various aspects of his work. Albeit nobody has credited Marić for any part of Einstein’s work, many letters and testimonies acknowledge Einstein and Marić’s collaboration throughout their marriage.

Both admitted to Polytechnic Institute’s physics-mathematics section in 1896, Einstein and Marić grew close together as classmates, becoming inseparable as they devoted much of the day’s hours to studying together. At the end of their school days together, they received similar grades with high marks, with Marić landing the highest marks in 5 of her subjects. Despite her academic excellence, only Einstein acquired his degree as a professor flunked Marić at their oral exams.

On January 6, 1903, Einstein and Marić got married. While Einstein worked 8 hours a day, Marić did the household chores. When Einstein came home from his work at the Patent Office, they spent many hours of the evening working together.

Miloš described how during the evenings and at night, when silence fell upon the town, the young married couple would sit together at the table and, at the light of a kerson latern, they would work together on physics problems. Miloš Jr. spoke of how they calculated, wrote, read, and debated.

Dord Krstić

Many of Marić’s relatives and friends gave testimonies that Marić devoted most of her nights working with Einstein. Marić’s brother often hosted gatherings for intellectuals, and during one of those nights, Einstein would declare that he needed his wife, as she solves all the mathematical problems for him.

Despite being a father to two children, Einstein shamelessly had his first known affair with his cousin, Elsa Löwenthal, in 1912. Their relationship lasted for two years and subsequently caused the fall of Einstein’s marriage. In 1919, the couple divorced.

Marić later stated in a letter addressed to her godparents that she always collaborated with Einstein, adding that her ex-husband ruined her life. Many letters and testimonies depict the close collaboration of Marić and Einstein from the start of their relationship until 1914. Einstein even acknowledged Marić’s contribution in many of his letters, with our work on relative motion as an example. (Source: Scientific American

The Conditioned Marriage

When 1914 came, Einstein and Marić’s marriage was quickly collapsing. Einstein stated that they remain married for their children as long as she followed a given list of conditions he wrote. Although Marić consented to his terms, she eventually left Einstein, bringing her children.

Einstein’s bizarre list consisted of many demands. Serving him food three times a day in his room, doing his laundry, renouncing their relationships, not expecting intimacy, and immediately leaving when asked are the few conditions included in his list. (Source: Lists of Note)

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