Let's examine the relationships.
Throughout the entire first season as Nola interacts with her lovers, she constantly reminds them of the rules to their situationships. No ode to Sam Smith but each person knows that they are not the only one. However when they yearn for more of her love and affection (shoutout to Future), they often bring up her others in a slightly jealous tone. Though they all have a sexual relationships with Nola, the sex is clearly not enough. Despite their stipulations, each of them crave more.
The season one finale is based around Thanksgiving which is probably no coincidence due to that being the date the show was released. At this point, Nola has decided to take control of her own life and invites all three of her male lovers over for the holiday. The men are shocked to be in each others' company but instead of finally having enough of the situationship and leaving (like most would expect), they stay and essentially compete for Nola's heart.
Why did they do that?
Why do WE do that?
A lot of us have been in similar situations with someone. Whether it was sexual or not, we wanted more than what the other person was willing to offer. Instead of moving on from that situation, we often stay.
Why is that?
Let us look at the different "effects" we can learn about from the characters in this show to hopefully answer this question.
The Greer Effect
Greer is the most upscale of Nola's lovers. He is rich, successful and a bit full of himself to say the least. Greer is the type of person who has his cake and eats it too! He can get any girl in the world he wants with ease. We see that displayed in the episode where he takes Nola out to celebrate her art showing and every woman in the restaurant speaks to him (also a few cutaways to him smashing a few).
So why is Greer hooked on Nola?
It's because she doesn't need him or essentially want to be with him. She enjoys his company and the sex but that is pretty much it. Most girls would die to be in a relationship with Greer but not her. She is his reality check. She brings something to the table that he isn't accustomed to and it has him shook.
When you are a person who is use to getting anyone you want, the person who comes along that doesn't necessarily want you like the others is always intriguing. It’s appalling but yet attractive at the same time, something different, and definitely presents a challenge in a sense.
The Jamie Effect
Jamie is the most mature of the three men in Nola's life. He made it out the projects and transformed himself into a successful business man. Despite his professionalism, he still has a few low-key ties to the streets. However, Jamie does a good job to try and keep that side of his life under wraps. He is really smooth and head over heels for Nola. He might be the most in love with her of all of her lovers. Oh, he's also married and has a kid.
So why is Jamie hooked on Nola?
Well for one, his marriage is failing. He is married to someone who wants him to be something he is not or at least not who he wants to be anymore. His estranged wife wants him to leave his blackness in the past (we can see that from the episode on the pier when see constantly tells him to stop speaking so ghetto). With Nola, Jamie can be himself. He can be the new man that he has become while still incorporating some of his old elements (smoking weed, etc.). Jamie's wife also doesn't come off as if she needs him. While not wanting to be in a relationship with them, Nola does come off as a bit dependent on these lovers (for various reasons) and I believe that feeds into Jamie's desire for her. He wants to take care of her and we see that throughout the season. He also is the type to fall in love quick and we got that from the rundown of other women he has been to connected to according to his wife.
When people are in relationships and aren't getting what they desire or what they were getting in the beginning, some look for it in other people. Side guys and women are often products of "ain't sh*t" people but also are products of craving something that is no longer present (that can be a plethora of things). The taste of that old thing can have you hooked despite your other circumstances. Plus, we all want someone who allows us to truly be...US.
The Mars Effect
Mars is the youngster of Nola Darling's set of lovers. He is a kid from up the block and ex to one of her close friends. He stays with his sister though frequently attempts to move in with Nola. While slightly immature, Mars brings the swag and excitement to Nola. He is fun, youthful and keeps her laughing. Despite his young age, Mars has the biggest heart of the three guys.
So why is he hooked on Nola?
You ever had that person that you admired from a far and always wanted? I’m talking about the person you use to think about when Chris Brown’s “Yo” came on. Yeah that’s a throwback. However, despite you yearning for this person, you knew it was a waste of your time. You believed there was no chance in hell that that fire and desire would be reciprocated? Well, I believe that person to Mars is Nola. She is his dream girl. She is the woman that he knows is out of his league but despite the mountains he had to climb, somehow managed to get (somewhat). I believe he knows he had to slim to none chance at being her one and only but he isn't going out without a fight. He keeps a smile on her face, stands up for her, truly wants the best for her career wise. He truly shows her with actions that he cares, despite her probably not agreeing with the methods. Mars was a puppy begging for a bite of Nola and now that he got a piece, he wants the whole cake.
While getting the person of your dreams is a blessing (if it's genuine), it can sometimes be a disadvantage. You might end do things you normally wouldn't do and accept things you normally wouldn't accept just to keep this "dream" alive. That dream of yours Can realistically be a nightmare but you’re sleep and don’t want to wake up regardless.
The Opal Effect
Opal is the wildcard factor is Nola's love life. She is a female and is the lover in Nola's circle that isn't necessarily running after her. Nola is the one who reaches out to her. Opal is a successful business woman, sexy and has cute kid as well. She is independent and knows what she wants, similarly to Nola. I believe Nola's attraction to Opal is similar to Greer's attraction to Nola (if that makes sense).
So why is she hooked on Nola?
Well I honestly I wouldn't say she is hooked but that she simply leaves their relationship door open. Nola is one of those options she keeps on the table. Nola to her represents one of the people that you could not see for months but when they come around, the feelings come right back.
I think the Opal effect is one of the most common. Many of us keep people around like this hoping they eventually get their sh*t together. That is why the door is not closed. The door is a revolving one and we eventually hope that one time they walk through it, it would be the time we were wanting for. The time where we don’t want them to leave because they are now the person we always hoped they would become.
Are you willing to share the person you desire in hopes they ultimately chose you?
If so, power to you. If not, hopefully being able to relate to one of the “effects” above can help your situation.