Mr. Waythorn is, overall, a conventional person who supports social norms and prefers to avoid conflict. He also considers himself broad-minded in that he comes to love and marry Alice although she has been twice divorced. Because he also realized that his life was as unfulfilling as it was uneventful, he is drawn to a woman with a very different temperament. Waythorn’s limited experience with women has left him somewhat naïve, however; he tends to see a pretty wife as an ornament. When he and Alice marry, he does not anticipate the role of Haskett, her daughter’s father, in the child’s life. He also has an exaggerated sense of professional duty, which leads him to agree to serving as a financial adviser for Varick, Alice's other ex-husband.
The internal conflicts within Waythorn far outweigh the external conflicts with either his wife or her two former husbands. He has difficulty reconciling his genuine affection for Alice with his jealousy over her continued dealings with the exes. Waythorn cannot retreat from his commitments or change his fundamentally even-keeled, fair temperament, but he does recognize the harm that jealousy is causing both him and Alice and, by the end, settles into the role of a sympathetic partner.