Ethan Plath is hoping to stay out of his parents Kim and Barry Plath’s marital woes after they announce to the family they’re living apart
Welcome to Plathville‘s Ethan Plath isn’t choosing sides when it comes to his parents’ recent split.
Barry and Kim Plath announced on Tuesday night’s episode of the TLC show that they are living apart — and the couple’s oldest of nine children doesn’t want to get involved.
“I would probably prefer to stay out of it, honestly,” the 24-year-old tells PEOPLE exclusively.
The couple’s relationship issues have been on full display since the beginning of this fourth season of the reality hit, including Kim reading her own journal entries about how unhappy and alone she feels with Barry.
“As far as I feel about my mom talking about her grievances with my dad, I really don’t know what to think,” said Ethan. “I don’t like how public she’s being with a lot of it.”
Welcome to Plathville’s Kim Plath Reveals She and Barry Are Living Apart: ‘He Stopped Trying’
After spending countless nights sleeping on the couch, this week’s episode saw Kim, 49, decide it was time to take action. She moved out of the family home and into one of their rental properties. Soon after, Barry is seen gathering his younger children for some pizza to explain the situation.
“Last night I sat down with the children privately just to let them know that Kim and I are separating,” Barry, 54, shared, adding that he’s trying to “work through all of the emotions.” “We never had a sit-down, Kim and I, about how we’re going to do this. I just felt it was time.”
The kids seemed to understand.
Kim also shared her side of what motivated her to make such a bold move toward ending her 25-year marriage.
“Barry tried for a little bit, but at some point I felt like he’s not really trying,” she said. “As soon as he thought maybe it was working, he stopped trying. And once I realized that, I feel like emotionally, I was just done. I just feel like there’s no way it’s going to work.”
She added, “It’s like he wants me to stay but I don’t know that he wants to really change. I don’t see any way that that emotional intimacy can really be reconnected.”
Ethan is no stranger to relationship struggles himself. He and his wife Olivia Plath, 23, spent time living apart during season 3. They later reconciled and moved to Tampa, Fla. at the end of the season, but Ethan feels the cameras make fixing problems a bit more difficult.
“On a reality show, it’s obviously all there because someone was sat down and questioned to heaven and back about a whole bunch of different stuff,” Ethan says. “And then they use some of it for the show. And then when you watch it, you see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, okay. I didn’t know that you were saying this to that person,’ and on and on and on and that’s how you have drama at the reality show.”
Welcome to Plathville‘s Ethan and Olivia Plath Were ‘Shocked’ by Moriah and Max’s Breakup
Still, Ethan admits he’s a little out of the loop these days when it comes to his parents’ relationship status: He hasn’t spoken to them since moving from Cairo, Georgia, at the end of season 3. But he does believe space can be a good thing when it comes to mending relationships.
“You know the old saying, ‘Absence makes the heart grow fonder,'” Ethan says, adding that he hopes to fix things with his parents eventually. “Just the fact that we’re not in the same small town trying to sort out our differences. I think that a little bit of space can be a good thing.”