I was perusing tumblr the other day and saw a post to the effect that Robert & Rebecca clearly had an intense relationship, and it made me think. Were we supposed to believe that Robert loved Rebecca at some point? Emily Head (the actress who plays Rebecca) gave an interview where she implied that that is what it was - or at least that their relationship was loving - but I find that I don't really buy that, not from the way that they have portrayed things and the way that Robert talks about their time together.
That they slept together a lot is a given. That they enjoyed it must also be assumed since they kept it up. But Robert says it himself, when things got serious with Chrissie he ended it, and he claims that he married Chrissie for money. I guess he could have loved Rebecca, but in the end he loved money more.
But here's the thing about that. He loved Aaron and still chose to stick with Chrissie as well. And yet, he never really let Aaron go. Not until Aaron pretty much pried his clenching fingers off of him. And even then Robert came back. Compare that to Rebecca, who he voluntarily left when things started to look serious with Chrissie, who he never went back to after, and who he only contacted when he thought that he could use her in his war against her sister.
Here is what I think: Robert showed Rebecca the same thing that he shows everybody. A smart mouthed cynic who is charming and impulsive, quick-witted and hard to catch. He let Chrissie catch him because he wanted her wealth and (I personally think) because she came with a ready made family, and Robert craves that belonging almost more than anything, and when he let that happen he vowed that he would stop his cheating and ended things with Bex, who he liked a lot but in a superficial way because let's face it, she is just like him. They probably got on because both of them were up for anything, and neither of them cared particularly much who might get hurt in the process. But he decided to do things right by Chrissie. He might not love her like he was supposed to, but he could at least be faithful. Not like he loved anyone else at that point. Perhaps he even stopped his one night stands with men. Can't be proven but it feels right. And then he followed his car tracker into a shed and his life changed forever.
Perhaps Rebecca loved him, or perhaps she saw his potential and wanted to be the one to bring it out in him. I don't know. I still find the idea of her carrying a torch for him for four years to be absolutely ridiculous, but I guess that is where ED wants to take us. I mean, sorry, but Robert Sugden was no catch when she knew him.
Which brings me to my next point. I laughed out loud when she told Robert "I hope [Aaron] knows how lucky he is." Babe, I am trying to like you, but you are a moron if you think that Robert Sugden was any kind of catch back in the day. He was awful: bitter, self-loathing, angry, manipulative, self-serving, money-grubbing...the list goes on. The fact that she doesn't know that probably means that he never showed her, which means that she never saw Robert. Not really. He gave her the face he gives everyone, and she assumed that was his real face because it suited her to do so.
Aaron got all of that. He got the worst and the best parts of Robert, but the best was so rare that sometimes he wondered why he even bothered. But he was in love, so he stayed. And Robert responded to that without meaning to, because Aaron was the first person who had seen just how bad he could get and loved him anyway. It took losing all the things that he thought were important and then nearly losing his life for Robert to take stock and decide what he wanted, and in the process he put Aaron through hell. When it comes right down to it, Robert won the fucking lottery, not Aaron. Granted, Robert is making up for that now, but there were times when I just wanted my baby to run far away and not look back.
I still can't believe how far we've come. From "you're nothing to me" to "no one else comes close." From "i hate ya. and there's nothing you can do or say to change that" to "i love you...i never stopped." Rebecca could never compete with that, no matter how loving she thinks their relationship was.