Many consider Albert Einstein one of the most intelligent men in history.
And few if have any have the honor to see their name associated with “genius” as much as Einstein has.
Maybe he was a genius.
And as far as I know, he might have also been the most intelligent person on earth (I doubt it, but who knows..).
But he is also the perfect example that there is no such thing as an all-defining, all-encompassing intelligence.
Indeed, as much as Einstein was smart with numbers and abstract reasoning, he was rather poor in both social intelligence and emotional intelligence.
And when it came to relationships, Einstein was as clueless as the next guy.
Actually, he was much more clueless than the next guy.
This is the letter he wrote to his wife.
It outlines Einstein’s conditions that his wife had to meet to keep a happy marriage:
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 traveling 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.
When I first read this letter I had several different reactions at once.
At first, I wanted to laugh at the sheer stupidity and naivety: as if any woman -or human being for that matter- was going to gladly comply to that tone.
And who sends a letter to the person you are in a romantic relationship with instead of speaking, anyway?
But I also felt bad for him, for having so little understanding of human psychology. And of course, I felt bad for her for having such a husband.
I don’t know any more details, but from that letter, it’s not a hard guess that this was a dysfunctional relationship. Possibly even an abusive relationship.
What’s most appalling is that not only Einstein didn’t think the rules could backfire, but that he thought they would fix his relationship.
Obviously, Einstein understood little about people, women and relationships.
At least, he didn’t suffer too much because of it. He was aware of not being very good with people, and he cherished his time alone.
That makes me think Einstein might have been an introvert and an avoidant when it comes to attachment styles.
Anyway, back to the story.
Einstein Wife’s Reaction
What do you think his wife did?
She divorced him shortly afterward, of course. And looking at that letter, could we blame her?
Now you might think, “eh, fair enough, I don’t think the dude really wanted to stay in that relationship anyway so he was probably happy with the result”.
Well, she also took his children though and…. Quite a bit of money from him. I don’t think Einstein must have been too pleased about that.
So even purely from a cold-hearted, rational perspective, that was a dumb move.
To me this story shows that it’s probably true that emotional intelligence accounts more than IQ when it comes to a life which is successful from all points of views.
But, personally, I wouldn’t make it a question of “IQ” VS “EI”.
That’s a childish game, and we should simply work on both.
However, if you had to pick one priority, science seems to be clear on one thing: relationships are the biggest factor when it comes to fulfillment and happiness.
So my lesson learned here is that we should make it a priority in developing our social skills and emotional intelligence.
And of course, watch out who you marry: that might be your gravest decision of them all :).
Elon Musk Like Albert Einstein
Another man often introduced and hailed as a genius is Elon Musk.
I have analyzed Elon Musk emotional intelligence and social skills in this article here:
Or you can watch the video here:
2 thoughts on “Albert Einstein Letter to His Wife: the Idiocy of A Genius”
Many of those labeled as “genius” had peculiar and/or eccentric personalities. These eccentricities or peculiarities should not detract us from acknowledging their contributions in their chosen professions.
Yes, you’re totally right, Allan.
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