LOVE AND THE THEORY OF INFIDELITY
Albert Einstein may have achieved laurels for his scientific accomplishments, but when it came to love, he still had a long way to go
Albert Einstein is regarded as one of history’s geniuses for his contribution to physics, but a glimpse into his social life will tell you he was somewhat clueless in human interactions.
Recently, a series from the scientist’s personal diary made its way into the public domain and the revelations brought to light his racist views on other cultures. Interestingly, excerpts from his biography also reveal the bizarre way in which he treated his wife.
According to Walter Isaacson’s book Einstein: His Life and Universe, the physicist had some very odd requests for his wife Mileva Maric, whom he was married to for 11 years.
When Einstein found that his marriage was falling apart, he drafted a list as conditions for his return to the relationship. He believed that this would allow the two of them to remain together for the sake of their children.
The good wife
The rules included many responsibilities for Maric, but none for the man of the house himself. He wanted Maric to be his maidservant, the one who keeps mum and does what is expected out of her, silently. Maric was supposed to make sure that his bedroom and study were kept neat, and that he received three meals regularly in his room and that his clothes and laundry were kept in order.
His marriage-maintaining contract had clauses, which stated that Maric should let go of all personal relations, while she was with him — she shouldn’t expect him to talk to her or travel with her anywhere. In addition, Einstein declared that his wife should not expect any sexual intimacy from him, should not “reproach” him in any way; should stop talking to him if he requested it; should leave his bedroom or study immediately without protest if requested.
While she agreed to pay heed to his demands initially, she moved to Berlin a few months later. The couple divorced in 1919. Many historians believe that Einstein didn’t give his ex-wife the due credit she deserved for collaborating with him on some of his discoveries.
The other women
Einstein’s marriages were marred with affairs. He was involved with Elsa Löwenthal, a first cousin who would become his second wife, in 1912, when he was still with Maric. Although Einstein married Elsa in 1919, within four years he was already involved with Bette Neumann, his secretary and the niece of one of his friends.
Between the mid-1920s and his emigration to the United States in 1933, he flirted with various women, including Margarete Lebach, a blonde Austrian, Estella Katzenellenbogen, the rich owner of a florist business, and Toni Mendel, a wealthy Jewish widow. Ethel Michanowski, a Berlin socialite, was also involved with Einstein in the late 1920s and early 1930s