Love goes hand in hand with suffering, which is pretty much par for the course in The Mill on the Floss. Everything goes hand in hand with suffering here. Love in particular causes people pain, and it is always a matter of choice. Characters, especially Maggie, always have to choose between love for their family, romantic love, loving others, loving the self. Love is a matter of time too – who someone loves first, loves longest, and loves best is always an issue. Maggie in particular is consumed with a need for love in all its forms. Love is everything to Maggie.
Maggie’s intense love for her family, particularly her brother, is a destructive force that causes her to make bad decisions that are harmful to herself and to people close to her, like Philip.
Love is inherently, or fundamentally, painful in The Mill on the Floss.