Jane Fonda spent her life jumping in and out of relationships, believing that she needed a partner by her side to be whole. Until one day, when, despite her busy life and demanding career, she took time to be alone with her own thoughts and realized that being single was not a bad thing.
We at Bright Side stumbled upon Jane Fonda’s story about her life experience, and we believe there’s some wisdom we can learn from her journey.
Jane gave marriage a chance 3 times so far, but none of them turned out to be successful.
Fonda said her first “I do” to Roger Vadim when she was 28 years old. They welcomed their child Vanessa in 1968, 3 years after they tied the knot, but sadly (or fortunately) Jane and Roger’s union lasted for less than a decade.
Tom Hayden was Fonda’s second husband, and only several months after walking down the aisle with him, they had their first child, Troy Garity. They also have an adopted daughter together, Mary Launa, who they welcomed into their family when she was 15 years old. Jane and Tom enjoyed 17 years together before they went their separate ways in 1990.
Jane exchanged vows for the third time with Ted Turner, but this time, too, luck was not on her side, and they put an end to their union a decade later. After the divorce, Jane spent time alone at her daughter’s house, raking leaves in her yard, reading, and going for long walks. On her third day there, she came to a realization: “I don’t need a man to feel whole.”
Jane sees her married life not as a bad thing, but as an accomplishment.
It might sound odd, but that’s not because she wanted to have multiple husbands and have different experiences, but because she didn’t catch up to her father, Henry Fonda. “My dad was married five times,” Jane revealed, “So I stopped at three, realizing that I just wasn’t dealt a hand that made me good at relationships.”
She used to mold herself into the person her husband [at the time] wanted her to be.
What Jane realized now, in her old age, is that she chose men who didn’t require her vulnerability or intimacy—mostly because it scared her. In her life, though, there were also men who made her “show up”, but instead, she fled and still wonders how many men who were perfect for her, she missed an opportunity with.
Part of the reason Jane was getting into a relationship with men was that she felt he can take her down a new path. “I’m attracted to people who can teach me things and whose lives are different from mine, and so I give myself over to that.”
She now realizes that two people who love each other should feel whole and stay on their own 2 feet, maintaining their strength while at the same time caring for the other but never losing themselves. And she believes that in there lies the secret to a successful relationship.
She decided to not marry again and focus on finding happiness within herself.
In the past, every time when Fonda found herself without a mate, she would fall into a state of low-sizzling panic. “It wasn’t until I was finally single at 62 that I began to feel whole, feel that I was where I was supposed to be,” she revealed.
After nine years spent without a relationship and working on herself, Jane discovered what she wanted to do for the last act of her life — to live with intention. “The more you can be intentional about how you’re living, the better. You can’t make your life longer, but you can make it deeper by being intentional.”
Do you live your life with intention, or are you still discovering yourself? Do you prefer life with or without a partner?