This season of Welcome to Plathville has seen a startling change in matriarch Kim Plath. After over two decades of living a life secluded from the secular world, she seemingly changed on a dime. She’s now listening to new music, drinking, giving her children sugar, and even opened a dance studio. On top of all of that, Kim is initiating a divorce from her husband Barry. Why did their marriage fall apart?
During tonight’s episode, and really for the past few episodes, Kim has made it clear that she has no intention of doing anything to repair her marriage with Barry. She doesn’t want counseling, she wants to move on.
Kim has said in previous episodes that she has felt no intimacy with Barry and has tried to discuss her issues with him many times over the years, but he didn’t listen so now any efforts he makes to connect with her are too little, too late.
“I don’t want to fix it because I feel like we’ve tried, I’ve tried,” Kim says.
Kim gives Barry the news that she definitely wants a divorce after he and their son Isaac bring a heavy bed up a flight of stairs to the upstairs apartment of her dance studio. She asks Isaac to go get himself some breakfast while his parents talk.
Kim says she’s been trying to let Barry know that they’re headed for divorce, but he seems to be in denial about that reality.
She starts the difficult conversation off by referencing how they talked several months ago about how Barry would sometimes treat her “harsh” and would take his frustrations out on her. She says she would have trouble knowing what mood he was going to be in, and that this affected how she felt about herself, and everything in her life.
Barry doesn’t deny this. Instead, he says he is “guilty as charged.”
Kim goes on to say that when she brought this up a few months ago, he did just enough to try to get her to stay. She feels like he doesn’t love or value her for who she is.
Barry agrees with her during the conversation, but in interview he reveals that he thinks she’s lying about this.
“She says that I do not value her as a person,” he says. “And that hit me and I’m like, ‘I think that’s a lie she’s believing.'”
He explains that his “default mode” kicked in and that’s why he didn’t say anything to Kim when she said that. He also acknowledges that while he doesn’t think he hasn’t valued her as a person, that’s a reality that she believes.
He says that he’s in defense mode now, and refuses to open up. He also tells the producer that he still loves Kim.
Barry does tell Kim that he knows that there’s nothing he can do now to change the course, and is resigned to the fact that their marriage is “DOA” (dead on arrival.)
In the last episode, Kim went out drinking with her son Micah and divulged to him that the only reason she had shunned alcohol while they were growing up was because she felt like she didn’t have the freedom to drink when she was with Barry. When Micah asked if she ever talked to Barry about her desire to drink, she said she never did because she “just knew how he felt.” She also said, somewhat contradictorily, that she had never sat at home wanting to drink.
Micah probed a little further and asked if she had communicated with Barry at all about other things she may have been thinking and feeling based on her recent changes. She said that she had only started talking to Barry about these things after she had “put the pieces together.”
Kim also told Micah that she was “craving a real connection to somebody,” implying that the relationship she had with Barry did not give her this connection.
There is so much going on with this marriage and family than what we see on the reality show, but from the narratives we’re given, it seems as if Kim and Barry haven’t communicated well throughout their marriage. It also appears that Kim’s interests in exploring the world are rather new.
From what we see on the show, Kim may have been inspired to experience more things again after watching some of her older children reject their strict upbringing and make a place for themselves in the wider world. Maybe this has been a catalyst for her reevaluating her entire life, including her marriage to Barry.