Caroline marries an unemployed actor, Kevin, whom she supports while he flirts with women and spoils her flat with his oafish behaviour. Eventually he seduces one of her pupils and Caroline throws him out. Miserably isolated, she goes to dinner with Jilly and Ivor and meets Matthew who appears eminently suitable. But their ensuing affair is doomed by Matthew's persistent, precision fault-finding and Caroline realizes she can cope better with the slovenly, but kind-hearted, Kevin sprawling on her sofa. The plot is evolved in clever time-splitting sequences between the present and three years past.