In November 1996 Robert was due to marry 19-year-old Tracy Barlow after a short romance. Maurice and Shirley met Tracy's parents Ken and Deirdre Barlow, with working class Maurice holding a dislike towards Ken due to his job as a teacher. Maurice also didn't want Robert to marry Tracy due to her history with drugs and because he also thought that Robert was on the rebound.
Robert ended up going missing after his stag night. The following morning Maurice and the Barlows searched around Weatherfield to find him. Ken and Deirdre went to the house of the best man, Paul Davies, and asked his mate Greg Bamfield if he had any idea where Robert and Paul had got to. He told them that he had locked them inside a container while they were drunk. When they arrived at the freight yard they searched through all the containers but found out that the crate that he was supposedly inside had already been shipped to Liverpool, bound for Saudi Arabia. When the two headed home to tell Tracy they found Robert at their house and that it had been all a wild goose chase. Later in the evening Robert and Tracy got married.