Welcome to Plathville Premiere: Olivia Says She and Ethan Are Striving for 'Different Goals'
Ethan and Olivia Plath are on two different pages when it comes to what they want for their futures.
As fans will recall, Ethan, 22, almost got physical with Barry over how he and his wife Kim had treated their daughter-in-law Olivia, 23. Since then, Ethan and Olivia had not spoken to Kim, 48, and Barry, 53.
"Back then, it seemed like you were in a good place. Ethan confronted his parents and the last thing we hear from you two is, 'We have each other,'" a producer said. "So what happened since then between you?"
After both sat in silence for a moment, with Olivia holding back tears, Ethan finally replied, "I honestly don't know that I can do this."
So what happened in the couple's marriage since that contentious moment with Barry?
A bit later on in the episode, Olivia, who works as a travel photographer, returned to Cairo, Georgia, from a trip. She was welcomed home by Ethan, whom she hadn't spoken to in a week.
"I texted him a couple times and he read my text last night, but he didn't respond. So I don't know if he was like, really tired or something," she told the cameras from her car. "But I haven't seen him, I haven't talked to him in a while."
"A couple months ago, Ethan went and kind of confronted his parents and told them goodbye and told his siblings goodbye. And I think processing that anger for the first time was kind of an awakening inside him. He's just now grappling with a lot of things that he kind of laughed off before, or used humor to brush off. And he's changed a lot in the past couple of months — he's a very different person," she continued. "I mean, he is pretty angry. So I told him a couple weeks ago, after I came home from a therapy session, 'You're going to have to go to therapy as well in order to make this work.' And he was supposed to have his first therapy session while I was out of town. Hopefully he's not in a bad mood. But you never know."
Entering their home, Olivia put her things down and asked Ethan what he did over the weekend, including if he went to his therapy appointment the night before. Ethan confirmed he did and proceeded to ask for a hug. As the two embraced, Olivia asked how it went.
"It sucked. I talked to a stranger that I didn't know about all my problems," Ethan admitted.
As for whether he would go back for more sessions, Ethan seemed uncertain. "Maybe — in a month. I don't know," he told his wife, seeming quiet and disconnected.
"You good?" Olivia asked, to which Ethan nodded but declined her offer to talk about his feelings.
In a confessional, Ethan said he went to therapy because Olivia — who began going to therapy again last year — made the recommendation.
"Since the day that I spoke with my parents last year, I still have a lot of anger and resentment towards them, so Olivia's really wanted me to go to a personal therapist," he said. "I did give that a try, but it didn't do anything for me."
"When I feel stressed or frustrated, I don't want to sit down and talk to somebody about it — I want to get out of the situation. And so I'll go work on my cars, I'll go work on something outside, the AC unit, the lawnmower," he continued. "It's just something for me to do by myself to process."
Last season, TLC audiences saw the Georgia-based Plath family splinter into three households: Kim and Barry with their youngest children (Lydia, 17, Isaac, 15, Amber, 12, Cassia, 11, and Mercy, 8); Moriah, 18, and Micah, 20; and Ethan and Olivia. (There's also daughter Hosanna, 21, a violinist who tours full-time with her pianist husband Timothy Nobel.)
On the season 2 finale, Ethan said goodbye to his youngest siblings, realizing that he would likely have no contact with them unless he and his parents could come to a resolution.
Since the day Ethan last spoke to his folks, "Something that I think about quite often is the relationship that I gave up with my siblings for my marriage, and honestly, it pisses me off to no end," he told cameras. "I kind of feel that my mom used my younger siblings as leverage to get me to do what she wanted me to do. She told me, 'You won't be able to see your siblings until we're okay, and we're okay means you guys just do what we want, and then we'll all be alright.'"
"That's just messed up," he said.
For Olivia's part, she had been doing her best to connect with and be there for her husband.
"I've tried to have every conversation possible, from every angle possible," she told cameras. "I've tried to fix this and make this work because I want a progressing, growing relationship. And being at a standstill is really hard, which is why I suggested therapy in the first place."
"But at the end of the day," she added, "I think the biggest thing for the sake of our marriage thriving is that we really need to be out of Cairo."
Deciding to make the move out of Cairo was something the couple was taking seriously. In 2020, when Ethan and Olivia were looking to relocate, they found a house in Thomasville, but the seller unfortunately accepted someone else's offer.
"Since then, we haven't found anything we both like," Olivia said on Tuesday's premiere. "I feel like renting for a year in Tallahassee might just be a better option — just figure out what we want, then we can decide where we want to go after that."
But while the couple was packing up their house and already had some things in boxes, they hadn't nailed down a destination.
Olivia had her eyes set on Florida, but Ethan said he wasn't "exactly on the same page."
"I would prefer more of a rural setting or small town," he said in a confessional.
"I think this is the area we're very stuck in right now, because we both each want a different plan. And I think that's scary, because if you're striving for two different goals, you're going to grow apart," Olivia told cameras while sitting beside Ethan. "And I think that's where we are in our relationship right now."
Welcome to Plathville airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on TLC.