Do You Believe in Love? Even the Second (Third? Fourth?) Time it Comes Around?


All those bogus romance plots and plots constantly talk about a “one true love”, a singular “soulmate”. I think that means it’s safe to assume that love is only supposed to come around once. One and done. You get those sappy “the one that got away” quotes and unrequited love and the happy endings that everyone seems to get regardless of the challenges they faced literally two minutes before the big fairy-tale wedding. Talk about unrealistic. And the pressure that puts on young people in relationships! The ultimatum that you’re either destined to end up with this person or they’re only a passing fling until the right one comes along.


I think love is too complicated to be simplified like that. It’s possible to love more than just one person at a time, but that’s because I’m viewing love as more than just romantic love. I’m thinking about loving my family members, my friends, the people who support me. So to rephrase: Is it possible to be in love with more than one person? I honestly don’t know. I can’t provide answers on that one. But I do know that love is an roller coaster of emotions that can destroy people, so I don’t imagine being that intensely in love with two people is much fun.

When I first got the idea to write this blog, I was sure I was going to be able to talk about Ifemelu and how she loved Obinze but has now moved on. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be entirely true. With the ending of Americanah, Obinze and Ifemelu are rekindling their relationship and thus proving that their one true love prevails above all. It follows the societal expectation of the singular love of your life. Does that discredit Ifemelu’s other relationships? Does this mean she and Curt or she and Blaine never had a chance because she and Obinze had fallen in love before they’d even met? And what about Fred? He made his move at a bit of an inconvenient time because Ifemelu and Obinze had sort of gotten back together (maybe?) but then Ifemelu broke this off (did she? I think she did) but then Obinze breaks off his marriage which is what Ifemelu wanted (I’m assuming?) and now they’re back together (once again, maybe? There were a lot of unanswered questions with the ending, I’ll touch on that in another post).


Either way, even if the relationship between Ifemelu and Obinze adheres to the societal ideal of “one true love”, I do believe that Ifemelu could’ve been in love with the other men she was with. I don’t think the fact that she and Obinze getting back together means he’s her “one true love” either. I don’t even think I believe in a “one true love”. I do think it’s possible to fall in and out of love with multiple people, or even the same person, something Adichie clearly demonstrates in the three central relationships she portrays in Americanah. 

That’s it for now.


1 thought on “Do You Believe in Love? Even the Second (Third? Fourth?) Time it Comes Around?”

  1. Love is an interesting subject to be sure and it could come down to the fact that Adichie was pressured to make it a more typical romance novel. With the relationships in America Ifemelu didn’t seem to be set up to return to Nigeria and marry her one true love per se. She seemed to be taking a more analytic and introspective look at love in the book, and it doesn’t really seem like it would end with a get together the way it did.


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