Albert Einstein may have been a genius, but he certainly doesn’t seem to have been the best estranged husband in the world. In 1914, his marriage to Mileva Marić was falling apart. He proposed they stay together for the good of their kids—but he had a few conditions if they were going to make it work. Letters of Note has his list, and he wasn’t messing around:
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.
Mileva tried to go along with it, but—you won’t be surprised to learn—it didn’t work out, and she took the kids and moved out a few months later. It’s too bad Einstein wasn’t smart enough to write an equation to calculate how quickly these kinds of demands would wear thin, or he’d have know it was never going to work.