Robin and Ted are arguably the central couple of How I Met Your Mother – if nothing else, their meeting is the start of the show (and the introduction of Robin to the gang), and the series ends with them reuniting and giving things another chance in the finale flash-forward. Of course, this ending was so controversial that the series actually came out with an alternate finale, which cut this scene, so it’s clear that no matter how important they were to the show, Ted and Robin were not the best-loved of the HIMYM pairs.
Between that first meeting in the pilot and that contentious ending, though, Robin and Ted had a lot of ups and downs. They dated, they broke up, they almost tried again… but when did it all happen in the show?
9 Season 1 – The First ‘I Love You’
The first season is when Ted and Robin initially meet – and where Ted scares her off almost immediately. Their first date sets up some of the big moments of the finale, as Ted steals a blue french horn from the restaurant where they went to eat, shows up outside her apartment, and then tells her he loves her. Unsurprisingly, Robin is freaked out, and they decide not to date. The rest of the first season is really about them discovering, slowly, that they do have feelings for each other and should probably date – something that comes up as they go on dates with other people. At the end of the season, though, they hook up again, and this time, it looks like it’s going to turn into something (if Ted can just hold off on the declarations of love).
8 Season 2 – Happily Dating… And Breaking Up
Ted and Robin are happily dating for almost the entire second season, and they seem like a fairly solid couple. They have some issues with jealousy and adjusting to the relationship (and many fans haven’t forgiven Ted for pressuring Robin to get rid of her dogs), but overall, they seem happy. They even manage to get to their one-year anniversary, but at the end of the season, this is where things fall apart. At dinner, they are mistakenly served an engagement ring (meant for another table), and Robin’s reaction makes them re-think where they are going, and if they want the same things. Eventually, they decide that they don’t, and break up at the end of season 2.
7 Season 3 – Awkward Friendship, & A Thanksgiving Fling
After the breakup in season 2, things are awkward between Robin and Ted for most of season 3. To a large extent, it looks like the relationship is over, and they are struggling to even salvage their friendship. However, there is still one episode that suggests there’s still something between them. In ‘Slapsgiving’, Ted and Robin manage to get over their awkwardness… after spending the night together ‘baking pies’. Surprisingly, this seems to work, and they are able to maintain more of a friendship for the rest of the season.
6 Season 4 – Friends With Benefits
At the start of season 4, Ted is engaged to Stella, but Robin admits that she has feelings for him, and she finds it strange that she’s expected to be at the wedding. Clearly, there are still feelings here, and when Stella leaves Ted and the altar and Robin gives up her job in Japan, Ted and Robin decide to become roommates… with benefits.
The two sleep together for a while, but end up breaking it off again when Ted realizes that Barney has feelings for Robin. In this season they also sit down and talk about the future again, admitting that they would both love to be together, but they just want different things… right now. They do agree on becoming each others’ ‘backups’, though.
5 Season 5 – One Almost-Kiss
For most of season 5, the focus is on Robin and Barney, who start dating, and then Robin and Don, her next big relationship. Ted has his own dates and romances, and the two are pretty much just friends. The only particularly notable Robin/Ted moments in the series are when Ted gives Barney ‘relationship lessons’ on Robin (which she hates), and then later, when Robin tells Barney and Ted that she doesn’t want to see them for a while, to give her relationship with Don a chance away from her exes. However, they do have one moment of an almost-kiss, when Don breaks up with Robin, and Ted comforts her.
4 Season 6 – Roommates Again
After her breakup with Don, Robin moves back in with Ted, and they spend the sixth season as friends, without much going on on a romantic level. Robin does initially proposition Ted when she is upset about the breakup (and on the couch covered in junk food), but Ted turns her down – for fairly obvious reasons, not least because she warned him she may hit on him and told him to turn her down. More than that, though, it does seem as though they have just found a good place as friends and roommates.
3 Season 7 – Almost Together Again, Then Barely Speaking
The good place they seemed to get to in season 6 disappears in season 7, when they nearly get back together, and then end up hardly speaking for the rest of the season. Early on, Ted realizes that he is still in love with Robin, and when her relationship with Kevin ends, they share a kiss.
Robin then has to go on a work trip, but when she returns, they try to date – but quickly realize that Robin can’t say she loves him, and she is too afraid to lose their friendship with a romantic relationship. Ironically enough, this leads to Robin moving out, and she and Ted keeping their distance for the rest of the season, as Ted tries to get over her. They finally reconnect at the end of the season.
2 Season 8 – Ted Tries To Let Go, Barney & Robin Get Engaged
By this point, everything is still up in the air. Ted and Robin are friends again, and Ted and Victoria break up for the last time because Ted cannot imagine his life without Robin in it. However, Barney also has feelings for Robin, and concocts his elaborate final play to see if Robin has feelings for him, and if Ted would be willing to let her go. In the end, he is proven right on both counts, as Ted tells Robin to go to Barney, and Robin says yes to his proposal. Despite this, Ted clearly still has feelings for Robin. He describes how painful it was to learn that Barney and Robin are engaged, and decides he will leave New York after their wedding, to get a fresh start away from her.
1 Season 9 – Finally Getting Back Together
For the main storyline of season 9, Ted and Robin don’t get back together. Robin marries Barney, although she does have some momentary misgivings when she debates running away with Ted instead. And Ted finally meets the titular Mother, Tracy, and the two start on their happily ever after (or as close as they get). However, the flash-forwards show that Ted and Robin still end up together. Robin and Barney divorce after a few years, realizing that they just don’t work, and Tracy dies tragically young. After all that, Ted and Robin end up together, and this time, it looks like they’ll stay that way.
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