Does he really loves her, or does she really loved him?
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Miriam has a sense of power over Paul because she is NOT his mother. When you look at Paul as a person, you have to realize that NO woman will ever be as important or as influential as his mother is. Miriam becomes Mom's competition, and Paul feels guilty because his relationship (friendship, flirtation) hurt his mother. She obviously has a problem, and he obviously is going to have to outgrow it or swear off women. Miriam, on the other hand, sees all of this and perceives Paul as weak; she isn't far off.
Thus, what we have here is a case of "first" love. The two actually have very loving feelings toward each other, but after the first bits of romance dwindle, so does their love.
Sons and Lovers