This leads to the third element of his argument: defending the market. As such, free markets provide people with maximal opportunities: not only what they want today, but anything that they might want in the future. The Community of Advantage is a rich and wide-ranging work, touching on welfare economics, political philosophy, value theory and meta-ethics. Apart from the formal analysis of the later chapters, it is clear, readable and accessible, even for novices.
Whether you swallow it whole or reject the entire argument, there are insights, objections and challenges to learn from throughout. For decades, the standard criterion of value in economics has been preference satisfaction: the more of your preferences that are satisfied, the better off you are. Some people believe this is a fundamental philosophical truth : that you are better off because your preferences are satisfied. Yet I suspect that if you push them, as Sugden is trying to do, most economists would say that satisfying preferences is not valuable in itself, but just a convenient proxy for promoting some other good.
Historically, one reason that economists have focused on preferences is the belief that people are happier when they get what they want, and because preferences are believed to be more readily observable and measurable than happiness. But it is happiness that the economists think is really valuable. That is not an easy question to answer, but it is the question that matters.
I am using happiness as the example here, but we can run the same argument with anything that might have value — flourishing, knowledge, health, autonomy. The obvious objection is that it is paternalistic for economists, policymakers or even fellow citizens to force their values on other people. But why should they want to avoid paternalism? Presumably because it involves too great a restriction of autonomy or dignity.
Sugden wants to avoid such fundamental questions of value altogether. His contractarian approach implies that what matters is what we can get people to agree on, and he believes everybody should agree on the value of opportunity. Leaving aside whether in fact everybody would agree to this, Sugden does not say enough about why we should care about this supposed consensus. As a matter of pragmatic politics, measures need to have sufficient popular support to be effective, but here we are talking about abstract questions of value, not trying to pass specific measures.
As an individual moral agent, it is unclear why anybody should set aside their own personal view of what has value in favour of opportunity, just because that is the lowest-common-denominator principle acceptable to everybody else. As such, it is an essential philosophical grounding for anybody with an interest in behavioural economics. Please read our comments policy before commenting. Click here to cancel reply. He grows angry with his former stepmother but she still refuses to help him. Back at the Woolpack Aaron is fearful that he has ruined his chances of convicting his father.
The police inform Aaron that another male victim has come forward. Two days later Ryan arrives at the pub. Aaron sees Robert talking to Ryan and asks who he is. Robert is forced to admit Ryan is the second 'victim'. Robert tries to explain to Aaron that he did it for him to get justice but Aaron leaves upset and furious. Aaron tells him if the case falls apart he will blame it on him. Robert goes to Gordon's plea hearing to support Aaron. When Gordon turns up he pretends to be still suffering the side-effects of his treatment and then collapses with Aaron, Robert, Lisa, Belle and Chas witnessing in disbelief.
Later Robert meets Aaron on the bridge, further reassuring Aaron and then hugging him, unaware of Liv watching them. Liv comes to stay with Aaron for a while and Robert gets suspicious when Liv questions him about the other witness. Robert arrives at the pub and tells Aaron about her questioning about Ryan, Aaron puts it down to curiosity and he brings up that Robert paid him.
Robert finds out from Aaron that Liv recorded them talking about Ryan. Robert blames himself and is prepared to hand himself in to the police but Aaron tells him he doesn't want him going to prison for trying to help him. DS Wise Neil Roberts visits the pub. When Robert is about to confess Chas covers for him by saying that this is another one of Gordon's lies. While this is going on Robert learns that Chrissie has begun a relationship with his brother Andy.
This riles Robert but also irritates Aaron as Robert's attentions are elsewhere when he needs him the most. A week later Aaron tells Robert not to come to court so Robert goes the next day when he is taking the stand. On the stand Robert insists Aaron wouldn't lie about something of this magnitude and admits publicly to his feelings for Aaron. The next day Robert goes to court to support Aaron as Gordon and Liv take the stand. Later Robert arrives at the pub to see Aaron. When Robert is about to leave Aaron asks him to stay to have a drink.
Robert admits to Aaron that he is trying to be good. Aaron wants to trust him again, Robert promises he won't let Aaron down and they kiss.
The next day Gordon is found guilty of rape by the jury. At the pub Robert comforts Aaron who is worried that Gordon going to prison won't help him to forget what he did, but Robert encourages him to be happy. Robert stays over at the Woolpack with Aaron. After the first night he stays, Chas seems elated to see him at breakfast the following morning and he and Aaron discuss taking a trip somewhere to get away from it all.
He later turns up with two tickets for them to go to Barcelona for the weekend but is disheartened when they can't go due to Liv turning up, wanting to stay at the Woolpack with Aaron. Robert burns the letter after Aaron says he wants nothing more to do with Gordon. Robert discovers Liv has skipped school to go to Gordon's sentencing and he goes to court to find her. Robert also calls Aaron, who turns up and decides to stay to see Gordon get 18 years imprisonment. Robert panics when Gordon tells Aaron about the letter, but he quickly rushes Aaron and Liv out of the court.
Later Aaron asks about the letter but Robert says Gordon was lying. However, Aaron discovers Robert got rid of Gordon's letter. Aaron and Liv are informed that Gordon was found dead in his prison cell. Aaron blames Robert for not giving him the letter. Robert tells Aaron that Gordon was going to commit suicide. Aaron apologises to Robert, who explains that he was trying to protect him.
Robert suggests Aaron visits Gordon's body in the mortuary. Aaron and Liv refuse to have anything to do with Gordon's money. Robert and Charity talk about Aaron's decision to walk away from Gordon's money, unaware that Aaron is listening. Aaron walks in and angrily confronts Robert, calling him manipulative and controlling. Robert tries to apologise to Aaron but Aaron refuses to listen.
Aaron tells Robert that he will never change. Aaron orders him to stay away from him and his life. Robert walks off upset. Later, after Gordon's funeral, at the pub Robert is arrested for perverting the course of justice after Liv gets Ryan to go to the police about Robert paying him. Liv admits to Aaron she tried to call off the deal but it was too late. The next day Robert returns and tells Aaron he is worried that he could face prison. Robert finds out it was Liv who reported him to the police. Robert is upset to realise Aaron already knew. He is upset that Aaron chose Liv over him.
Liv runs away thanks to some nasty texts, Robert tracks her down at the cricket pavilion. Liv explains that she tried to stop Ryan from going to the police but it was too late.
Robert tells her he might go to prison but he thinks it's karma for his wrongdoings. Liv and Robert decide to put their differences aside. Robert warns Noah to stop his actions and Noah agrees. It is later revealed by Liv that her bully's account had been taken down. Robert, Liv and Aaron go for a holiday together shortly after. Ryan returns wanting money from Robert or he will report him to the police for assaulting him. Robert kidnaps Ryan and locks him in the boot of his car.
The next day Robert lets Ryan go, unaware that Aaron is watching him. Robert gives Ryan money and tells him to stay away from him, Aaron and Liv. Robert tries to explain to Aaron that he was scaring off Ryan to protect them but Aaron walks off upset at Robert. The next day Liv texts Robert from Aaron's phone. Liv tricks Aaron and Robert, getting them together at The Woolpack and leaves them to themselves out.
Robert tells Aaron that he matters to him and he will keep trying to change for him. Aaron asks and Robert agrees to move in with him. Aaron and Robert share a kiss while a delighted Liv overhears. Robert finally tells Aaron that it was Ross who shot him because of his deal with Andy. Aaron is upset but Robert begs him to leave it. Later Aaron sees Andy with Chrissie and punches him.
Aaron tells Chrissie that Andy got Ross to shoot Robert before he walks off. When Andy escapes from court Robert finds him where Andy reveals the truth about Chrissie. Aaron's unimpressed when he finds out Robert knows where Andy is and tries to persuade Robert to contact the police but Robert then helps Andy leave the country. Aaron's not happy with Robert over his involvement with Andy's escape but soon warms to the idea. Aaron and Robert begin plotting against Chrissie and the Whites. Lachlan finds out Robert is behind the profile of his dad Donny and Aaron protects Robert when Lachlan goes for him.
Chrissie and Lachlan argue with Aaron and Robert over the messages and Robert contacts the police. The next day Lachlan pins Robert up against the portacabin at the scrapyard and Robert reveals the truth about why Donny left. Aaron gets offered a chance to learn export trade in France and Robert's keen for them to go together. Aaron and Robert plan their holiday but are soon stopped when Liv plays up in school.
Aaron kisses Robert as he leaves for France and is left looking after Liv. Robert's annoyed when he finds out Chrissie has hired Victoria to cater for the launch for her new Adventure Park. Robert attempts to sabotage Chrissie's adventure park by messing with the zip wire but the next day Robert ends up hanging upside-down as he attempts to fix his sabotage after finding out Victoria has agreed to take Chrissie's place.
Robert calls Victoria to help him and tells her that Chrissie has framed Andy for shooting Lawrence. Robert asks Chrissie's sister, Rebecca White Emily Head to come to the village to help him with his vendetta against Chrissie. When the topic of marriage comes up Aaron is embarrassed when Robert jokingly dismisses the idea.
After rejecting Rebecca's advances Robert confides in Victoria that he is going to propose to Aaron. Robert asks Paddy for his blessing to marry Aaron, but Paddy tells him that he's not good enough for Aaron. Rebecca meets Robert at the scrap yard to apologise for making advances towards him.
Lachlan overhears their conversation and threatens to make false sexual abuse allegations against Robert. Aaron suddenly appears and shoves Lachlan's head into a barrel of water before warning him to stay away from Robert. Robert arranges to meet Aaron at a barn so he can propose. Aaron reveals he has Lachlan tied up in the boot of his car and Robert reprimands Aaron for his actions. Lachlan escapes and they are forced to give chase and stop him from falling off a cliff.
Lachlan tells Aaron that Robert is sleeping with Rebecca. With Lachlan back in the boot, Robert admits to Aaron that he is bisexual and did have an affair with Rebecca before getting serious with Chrissie. Robert tells Aaron that when he was 15 he had a feelings for a male farmhand. Jack caught them together and beat Robert. They never spoke of it again and Robert admits to feeling like a disappointment to his father. Aaron tells Robert that he loves him and Robert decides to propose but realises he has left the ring in the car. While driving back to the village Aaron tells Robert that he doesn't think he will be enough for him after romancing Chrissie and Rebecca, then him.
Robert angrily reveals that he was going to ask Aaron to marry him. Aaron takes his eyes off the road Robert yells for him to watch out and they crash into lake after Emma Barton pushing her husband James Barton off which he lands on Ashley's car and causing a huge car crash involving Ashley, Pierce Harris , Rhona and Paddy.
When Robert comes round he pleads with Aaron to wake up. Aaron is terrified as he realises his foot is stuck and the water levels are rapidly beginning to rise inside the car. Robert tries to keep himself and Aaron calm and makes several attempts to free him but Aaron tearfully begs Robert to go and tells him he loves him before slipping under the water. Robert screams in horror and refuses to give up, going under the water to give Aaron air before making a final attempt to free him.
Adam and Victoria arrive at the scene to see Robert dragging Aaron to the surface. He desperately administers CPR and Aaron spits out water as a paramedic arrives. Robert then dives back into the lake to save Lachlan, unaware that the teen had already freed himself from the boot and is watching from a distance. Adam heads to the hospital with Aaron while Vic stays behind to wait for Robert.
When Robert rises from the water again, he desperately asks Vic how Aaron is. She tells him Adam went with him to the hospital and it didn't look good. Robert suddenly sees Lachlan on the bankside and is furious that his former stepson just stood there while he risked his own life going in after him. Robert threatens Lachlan that if Aaron dies he'll come for him. Robert then heads to the hospital with Vic, needing to make sure Aaron is safe. When they arrive Adam informs Robert that Aaron is in surgery for his liver. As they wait Vic asks Robert if Aaron said "yes" to the proposal and Robert tells her he didn't get the chance to ask properly.
Chas and Liv arrive but Robert abruptly leaves to Liv's dismay. He heads back to the quarry to retrieve the ring. After Robert arrives back at hospital Chas hugs him and she is pleasantly surprised to discover that Robert planned to propose to Aaron. Robert is moved by Chas' acceptance of him and laughs as she and Liv jokingly plan the wedding. They keep vigil at Aaron's bedside and Aaron wakes and whispers to Robert "Yeah" accepting his proposal.
With tears in his eyes Robert gently slips the ring onto Aaron's finger. Aaron's eyes close and the heart monitor starts beeping. Chas runs to get help and Robert and Liv watch in fear as Aaron fights for his life, but happily survives. Robert spends the night by Aaron's bedside and is relieved when he wakes up.
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They discuss the aftermath of the crash, including Lachlan's escape and James' death. Aaron notices the engagement ring on his finger and asks Robert if marriage is definitely what he wants. Robert responds by tenderly touching the scars on Aaron's arm, reminding Aaron that he almost lost him once already, that he couldn't bear the thought of it happening again and he wants to be with him forever. Moved by this, Aaron asks Robert to marry him. Robert immediately agrees and they kiss. Adam and Vic drop by the hospital and Vic gives Aaron the second engagement ring. He slips it onto Robert's finger making their engagement official.
Chas and Liv also visit to celebrate the good news.
Later, at the pub, Robert runs into Rebecca and lets her know that Lachlan knows about their past affair. Rebecca promises to help by finding evidence against Chrissie and Lachlan to secure Andy's freedom and also offers Robert shares of her inheritance, which he accepts as he has a wedding to plan. The next day Lachlan tells Chrissie about Robert and Rebecca in front of the entire pub.
Robert assures Liv that Aaron already knows. Two days later, still reeling from the bombshell of Rebecca and Robert's fling, Chrissie confronts Robert in the pub and after winding her up about Rebecca and hinting that Lawrence once had a crush on him, Robert promises he will make her life hell for what she did to Andy.
Robert and Aaron gather with the rest of the village to pay their final respects to James. During the burial Aaron takes Robert's hand for comfort. At the wake Victoria's unimpressed with Rebecca offering to buy everyone drinks to gain popularity. Robert assures her Rebecca's on their side. Rebecca finds evidence from the shooting which was used to frame Andy and shows it to Robert. He wants to go to the police with it but she tells him she wants to do it her way.
Diane is horrified when she learns the truth and is angry with Robert for keeping it from her. Robert is upset that even if they can clear Andy's name, he has no way of letting him know. Rebecca arrives at the pub with an incriminating video of Lachlan which Diane hopes will be evidence enough to make Chrissie and Lachlan pay.
The next day Diane and Robert wait for news from the police regarding the video footage of Lachlan. Robert voices his concerns it might not be enough but Diane reminds him that she promised Jack she would look after his children. She later goes to Home Farm and warns the Whites they won't get away with what they did to Andy. Robert is livid when Lawrence threatens to evict Diane after she stages a protest outside Home Farm.
Later Rebecca comes to apologise for her father and Robert instructs her to get back her family's trust so they can carry out their revenge plan against them. Robert is left reeling when Diane is arrested for hitting Lachlan. Robert thanks Rebecca for getting Lawrence to change his mind about evicting Diane. Aaron is jealous when he spots them together and despite Robert's protestations that his involvement with Rebecca is strictly business and purely to get Andy home, Aaron believes she has other motives and tells Robert to stay away from her.
Later, at the pub, as they reminisce, Rebecca kisses Robert. He gently pushes her back and reminds her they need to stick to their plan. It's not about them - it's not even about Andy - it's about Home Farm, at which point Diane walks in with a darkened expression on her face leaving Robert worried about what she may have overheard. The next day, Robert lays flowers at his mum's grave as Aaron watches on. Diane then arrives and voices her disapproval of Robert scheming with Rebecca to get their hands on Home Farm. Robert defends his actions, saying Chrissie deserves to lose everything after what she did to Andy but Diane coldly informs her stepson that Sarah would have been heartbroken to see what he's become, leaving Robert stunned and hurt.
After some coercion from Rebecca, Lachlan decides to hand him himself into the police where he is charged with attempted murder and perverting the course of justice. Robert excitedly tells Diane the news and they hope it will finally get Andy exonerated. Robert and Aaron prepare for Lachlan's plea hearing, discussing the possibility of finally clearing Andy's name as well as their wedding plans.
Robert receives a text from Rebecca saying she needs to see him urgently. Aaron asks why they can't be done with her and Robert reminds him of their Home Farm deal and insists the extra money will be useful. Diane comes to see Robert and apologises for the comments she made about Sarah. Robert reiterates to her that even though his underhand tactics against Chrissie may not be agreeable, all he really wants is to get Andy home. Rebecca meets Robert at the pub and blackmails him into breaking Lachlan out of prison, saying she'll tell Aaron about their recent kiss if he doesn't comply.
They arrive at court where Rebecca sets off the alarm, causing the building to be evacuated but before Robert can get to Lachlan. Robert gets a call from Aaron, bringing him to his senses, he decides to abandon the plan. When Rebecca confronts him, still threatening to tell Aaron about the kiss, Robert tells her he used her and never hid his relationship with Aaron and only wants him, leaving her devastated. Back at the pub Aaron informs Robert that Lachlan pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. Robert is satisfied with the result and tells Aaron the deal with Rebecca is off.
The next day Robert brushes Rebecca off when she comes to see him, saying they have nothing to talk about anymore. Rebecca then turns her attentions to Aaron and tells him about the kiss but is shocked when he calmly calls her bluff, saying he already knew about Robert playing her before telling her she isn't a threat and to get over herself. Humiliated, Rebecca walks off in tears. In the back room, Robert assures Aaron he was indeed playing Rebecca all along in order to help Andy and also tells him about the failed breakout attempt for Lachlan.
Aaron is incredulous but Robert promises him he changed his mind because he couldn't risk losing him. Frustrated, Aaron keeps trying to leave the room but Robert passionately defends himself, reiterating what he said a month ago - being bisexual doesn't mean he will cheat and it's because he's changed out of his love for Aaron before telling him maybe he needs to change too. The next day, things are still tense between the Robert and Aaron. Charity and Chas moan about the couple's constant bickering as well as how overcrowded the pub is which prompts Liv to ask Aaron and Robert why they can't get their own place.
Later that evening, Robert looks for flats for the three of them and Joanie mentions that The Mill is up for auction. Liv offers to chip in using her inheritance but Aaron flat out refuses to use Gordon's money. Robert tells Aaron that having some security is just what Liv needs and the move would be good for them all.
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They bring up their argument from the previous day and have an honest discussion about everything. Robert assures Aaron of his feelings for him and they kiss. Robert agrees to help Rebecca secure a business deal in order to help Aaron get a deposit for a house and is later delighted when Aaron, after a discussion with Rebecca which leads to them setting their differences aside, decides to use the inheritance money to buy The Mill.
Robert enjoys his first Christmas with Aaron, Liv and the rest of the Dingles.
Emmerdale's Aaron Dingle and Robert Sugden have finally gotten married
With Rebecca's help, Robert plans a surprise trip to Vegas for Aaron's birthday. He meets Aaron at the pub but Chrissie attempts to ruin the mood by reminding Aaron of Robert's past infidelity and warns it will happen again. Robert tells his ex-wife she is bitter and pathetic then takes Aaron into the back room which he has decorated in the theme of Vegas and excitedly tells him about their trip.
Sensing Aaron is a little shaken after Chrissie's comments, Robert assures him he loves him but is upset when Aaron lets slip that he already knew about the trip after confronting Rebecca, thinking Robert was cheating on him. Robert tells Aaron they can't keep having the same argument about trust and asks him to believe in him. Robert then tells him that in exchange for the trip to Vegas, Rebecca needs his help at Home Farm during Lawrence's absence which requires an overnight stay to negotiate a business deal.
Panicking, Aaron tells Robert he booked a weekend away in Manchester for them both and offers to cancel it but Robert instantly forgos his business deal in order to be with him. Robert attends Lachlan's trial with Diane, Victoria and Bernice where they express their disgust at Chrissie for not admitting to framing Andy and letting her son take the fall for everything. Lachlan is acquitted of attempted murder but the judge reminds the teen that he had already pleaded guilty to perjury and is therefore remanded in custody, leaving the Whites in shock and the Sugdens delighted with the result.
Following a suggestion from Charity, Robert and Aaron flip a coin and decide to have a secret wedding in Vegas. However, the next day, Robert is celebrating a business deal with Rebecca when Aaron bursts in. Fed up with his insecurity and jealousy, this leads to a heated argument between the pair, after which Robert tells Aaron he can't do this anymore and removes his engagement ring. Later that night, after a chat with Vic, Robert tells Aaron he doesn't want to give up on them but they are interrupted by the police who arrest Aaron for attacking Finn's love interest Kasim.
Aaron is released on bail the next day and offers Robert the chance to walk away for good but Robert promises to stick by him. Robert grows concern for Aaron as his court day approaches quickly and learns that Aaron is more worried about who will look after Liv while he is inside. Robert plans a surprise wedding for him and Aaron the day before his sentencing to give Aaron more security about their family.
Robert, Chas, and the Dingles keep Aaron away from the Woolpack while they decorate it for the ceremony. Paddy expresses his disapproval when he finds out, but Robert doesn't back down and Chas convinces him to accept their marriage. However just as the wedding is about to take place, the police raid the pub with a woman claiming that Faith killed her father.
The wedding is then thrown in chaos as Faith runs off and is later arrested. This causes Robert to walk off as he wanted the day to be perfect.
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Aaron catches up to him outside the garage where they first had sex with the rings and they have their own ceremony in there. At the reception, Aaron tells Robert that he is worried about going to prison and doesn't want to leave him. Robert says that when it's over they can put it behind them and move on and they hug each other.
Aaron is sentenced to a year in prison. Early on he is singled out by another prisoner, Jason, and develops a drug addiction to cope with the stress. Robert and Chas visit Aaron and are shocked at the changes. Robert is further dismayed when Aaron tells him to forget about him. Hurt over his husband's rejection, Robert gets drunk, destroys his and Aaron's home, and seeks comfort from Rebecca, telling her that he and Aaron are over.
They sleep together, but Robert immediately regrets it the next morning. He tells Chas who furiously slaps him. The next time they visit Aaron, Robert nearly tells him what happened, but Chas covers for him. Aaron is released early after his appeal succeeds and Robert is excited to have him back. The two begin to repair their relationship when Robert learns that Rebecca is pregnant. He tries to keep the news from Aaron, and Rebecca's boyfriend Ross attempts to blackmail him into paying him to keep quiet about the baby, leading to a feud between the two of them. Robert admits his one night stand and Rebecca's pregnancy to Aaron.
After some consternation, Aaron decides to forgive Robert and try to move on. Robert tries to force Rebecca to have an abortion, but she refuses. He wants nothing to do with the child but Aaron convinces him to go to an ultrasound where it is discovered that Rebecca is carrying a boy. However, Aaron's negative feelings about Robert, Rebecca, and the baby begin to impact him. He starts taking drugs, resumes self-harming, and even attacks Robert. Aaron later comes clean about his struggles and admits that he hates the baby. After an emotionally charged conversation, Aaron despondently ends their relationship, admitting that although he does love Robert he cannot be with him anymore.
Giving Robert his ring back and telling him to go, the pair part ways. Missing Aaron, Robert decides to try and take over Home Farm. He gets Rebecca to bring him back into the business and impacts Lawrence's health by spiking his drinks with drugs. He even manipulates Lawrence into thinking that they have slept together, makes him believe that he murdered Tim Richards Chrissie's biological uncle plays on Lawrence's burgeoning feelings for him.
When Aaron returns, Robert attempts to get back together but is rebuffed. After Liv learns why they broke up, she is furious at Robert and Rebecca. She confronts him over this, leading Robert to express his anger towards Rebecca and the baby and his continued love for Aaron. Liv shows up at Home Farm trying to get Robert to admit his resentment to Rebecca, but Robert harshly tells her to leave. She steals a spiked bottle of brandy and Robert's car. She passes out after drinking some of it and is taken to the hospital where Robert is forced to admit his tampering to Aaron.
Aaron swears to kill Robert if Liv dies, but she survives. While she recovers, Aaron takes an interest in her doctor, Alex Mason. Liv encourages him to pursue a relationship with him and Robert gets jealous. At first, it goes nowhere, but Aaron and Alex later begin a tentative relationship to Robert's dismay. Rebecca goes into labor and, with Robert present, delivers a baby boy named Sebastian.
Robert, fearing that he will ruin his son's life, planned to leaves the village, but after Robert comes clean to Aaron about everything he did to the Whites, Aaron convinces him to stay and be a father. He agrees, and promises to be a better man and a good father to his son. He abandons his schemes against the Whites but Rebecca discovers his lies and later reveals it all to them. Lawrence beats up Robert and Rebecca keeps him from seeing Sebastian. At Christmas, they stop Robert from giving Seb presents. Robert drowns his sorrows at the Woolpack and drunkenly attempts to persuade Aaron to take him back, humiliating himself and insulting Alex.
That night, still intoxicated, he is hit by the Whites' car and is knocked unconscious. While unconscious, he has disturbing dreams where he the same day, watches Aaron's funeral, and receives advice from the ghost of Val Pollard. When Robert wakes up, he decides to become a better, less selfish person. He encourages Alex not to give up on Aaron and he and Aaron decide to just be friends. Robert continues to try and see his son, but the Whites don't believe that he is trying to change.
Lachlan manipulates them into thinking that Robert has hurt him, and Rebecca forbids Robert from seeing Seb. Robert attempts to force mediation between him and Rebecca, but she and the Whites decide to flee to Australia in secret. When Robert learns of the move, he kidnaps Sebastian from his car seat. The Whites chase after him in their car, but are hit by a truck. Chrissie and Lawrence are killed and Rebecca is put in a coma.
When Rebecca wakes up, she has post-traumatic amnesia and can only remember that Robert kidnapped Seb. Robert struggles with his duties as a single parent, and enlists the aid of his friends and family while Rebecca recovers.
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Robert is hopeful and confused about whether Aaron still has feelings for him after all. On their wedding anniversary his hopes are dashed as he sees Alex moving in to live with Aaron at Mill Cottage. He decides he needs to get over Aaron, and so the following evening he goes out to a gay bar accompanied by his sister, step sister and other ladies from Emmerdale there to give him moral support.
He reluctantly agrees to get the phone number of an Irish hiker called Mike, and while they are talking, Aaron arrives and sees them. Aaron finishes with Alex because he says he misses Robert, but Robert leaves with Mike. Aaron goes back to Emmerdale to the Woolpack. When he leaves the Woolpack, he hears noises coming from the garage and finds Robert inside with a bottle of whiskey.
He goes back to Keepers Cottage, but an emotional Aaron arrives on the doorstep and lists all the reasons he knows Robert and the good things Robert has done, and he asks Robert to come home. Robert tells him he loves him so much, and they reunite and Robert goes home to Aaron.
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The following day, Liv comes home and wonders why Robert is in the house leaving Robert no choice but to inform her of his and Aaron's reconciliation. He has a heart to heart with Liv admitting he never stopped caring about her. He tells her he loves her and she is his sister. They inform Aaron that they have talked and Liv tells Aaron she is happy to have him back. Robert tells Rebecca he is moving back home with Aaron. He informs her he will still help her, but he loves Aaron and wants to make a life with him. Aaron suggests they take Seb to give Rebecca a break.
Robert argues with Joe Tate after he keeps getting Jimmy to do work for him. He then has another row with him after he insults the Dingles, which pushes Robert to lose him a client by revealing the truth about Wishing Well. After attending the party, Robert informs Victoria she was perfectly fine. Robert goes to see Rebecca who asks if she can join him and Aaron on a date. Despite feeling awkward he agrees. Later, Victoria informs Aaron and Robert that Rebecca has vanished.
She tells them to keep Seb for the night as they are taking him to the zoo the next day. Later, Robert discovers that Joe had Rebecca arrested and confronts him. However, Rebecca calls Aaron and Robert round to Keepers Cottage and informs them she no longer trusts herself and tells them to take Seb. As they pack up his belongings, Rebecca says a tearful goodbye promising Seb she still loves him before handing him over to Robert. As they talk about Gabby, Liv confesses to her role in drugging Lisa.