Why you should care
Even a genius can have so much difficulty navigating relationships that he needs his significant other to sign on the dotted line.
When you think of Albert Einstein, you may think of the letters E=mc2, but probably not S&M, let alone BDSM. But the German physicist actually shares a desire with Mr. Fifty Shades himself, Christian Grey. Both Einstein and Grey had a penchant for contracting their love lives.
The physicist contractually bound Mileva to clean, feed, and stop talking to him.
Sadly – or perhaps, better for our mental image of Einstein – the scientific genius’ contract had nothing to do with whips or handcuffs. He did, however, draw up a contract for his wife Mileva Marić, a gifted physics student in her own right whose academic career had floundered when she became pregnant by Einstein. The duo had been experiencing trouble in their marriage. So, in 1914, Einstein proposed a contract outlining how they could live together for the sake of their children. Though the resulting document, labeled “Conditions,” lacked the passion and kinkiness of Anastasia Steele and her lover’s paperwork, Einstein requested the same level of control Grey demanded. The physicist contractually bound Mileva to clean, feed, and stop talking to him.
A. 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 key 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.
C. 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.
D. You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.
Sir, yes sir. Mileva accepted Einstein’s conditions and he graciously promised her, “In return, I assure you of proper comportment on my part, such as I would exercise to any woman as a stranger.”
Aw, you shouldn’t have. Despite these romantic overtures, Mileva left Albert a few months after and divorced him in 1919. Einstein was not too crushed by this, for he had already been making more Grey-style “contracts,” with his cousin. Guess for Einstein, it really was all relative.