After the pair got into a blowout fight before Christmas, they didn't see one another at all in the following six weeks. On Sunday's new episode of the TLC show, they sat down together to hash everything out, with Janelle promising to herself that she wouldn't just sweep their issues under the rug for the sake of avoiding conflict.
"I want to be treated differently, I want more things out of a relationship. Can we do that with ours?" she asked in a confessional before meeting up with her husband. "It would be stupid to throw away 30 years. But I don't know, I don't know if we really can fix that."
"I have not really missed Cody. I mean, I missed him, but I didn't really miss him," she added. "I'm not pining for him."
Right off the bat, Kody admitted he was "embarrassed" by his prior behavior, which left him realizing Janelle didn't "have a safe way to talk" to him due to the way he blew up at her. He went on to say he felt he had "endured two years of betrayal from Janelle" leading up to that previous conversation, causing him to be "triggered so badly" things got "ugly" and "sad." He also blamed his divorce from Christine, saying it had affected all of his relationships and left him turning his "grief into anger."
With that, Janelle then dropped a bomb: she wanted to remain separated from Kody, "for now."
He appeared surprised by her statement and later confessed that he thought they "would reconcile right there." He added, "She's like, 'No, I'm. I'm enjoying my independence, this freedom too much. So I want to stay separated'" -- before saying he felt that when they separated in the past it was because she "couldn't manage the relationship with her sister wives." While he never thought he was the problem, he wondered if "maybe I was wrong."
"I'm not going to be angry with you anymore. If you want to do a separation, I understand," he added. "If I get angry, I'm going to leave. I'm not going to be accusatory."
Janelle explained she was willing to get counseling with him -- adding that she still had "a lot of affection" for her husband -- before the drama with their kids involving Covid and the holidays once again came to the forefront.
The family dynamic really splintered after Kody placed restrictions on the family during Covid lockdown. He felt some of the kids -- especially his sons with Janelle -- weren't respecting his orders and were prioritizing their social lives over safety; they, however, felt he was prioritizing his family with wife Robyn over everyone else. That led to the fight between Kody and Janelle, before she celebrated the holidays solo with her children, separately from Meri, Kody, Robyn and the latter pair's kids with each other.
As she said she didn't know what the two should do about their boys, Kody told her he just needed to have a conversation with them.
"I do not know how to reconcile with you unless my kids can all be ... Kody, you haven't even talked to Savanah in six weeks," she then said. "You didn't call her at Christmas or anything, nothing."
He was momentarily speechless, before explaining in a confessional Janelle and Christine's decisions to split from him separated him "from the environment I know my children in." He then said, "I'm just struggling to survive all the heartbreak here, while they sit here and play mean girls together" -- before wildly adding, "Janelle's not in love with me. I think she thinks I'm hot. I got nice pecs and a great six pack abs, but that's all she's interested in."
Speaking directly to Janelle about Savanah, he said a lot of his work happened at night, so he hadn't been able to do anything with her after school. He said that he saw his children with Robyn all the time because he was still with her and living together -- whereas with Savanah, he has to "make a plan" in order to see her.
When he then brought up the drama about his Covid restrictions again, Janelle said their family issues weren't about that -- but were "really just about feeling like you're a father to all and a husband to all." Kody then admitted to feeling more "obligation" to his younger children "because of their needs," before Janelle said that came at the expense of the needs of his other kids.
"When they're little, I give them a lot. When they're older, I still give them a lot, but I don't feel like my obligation is the same to them," he added in a confessional.
As the conversation continued, Janelle eventually asked whether Kody even wanted to be in a plural marriage anymore.
In a confessional, he said he has always "worked hard for plural marriage," before wondering whether Janelle has done the same. "Janelle hasn't been living plural marriage," he said, adding, "She's been living independence from a husband that's there when she wants him and has resources that she gets."
The whole sit-down left Janelle feeling like she wasn't "inclined to stay in this marriage with Kody" going forward. She explained that she wasn't getting what she felt she deserved from him as a partner and added that when he "all of a sudden doesn't want to be a father to my kids because they disagree with him, that sort of changes the cost benefit equation for me."
Though she clearly was leaning toward leaving him for good, she told Kody she wasn't ready to totally throw in the towel just yet. While she needed space, she still wanted to work on things.
"We need a redefinition. I still am not 100% sure we can save it ... because sometimes I'm really angry still," she told him. "I miss you, honey. And I just don't know how to fix this or figure this out. I need something different, this time."
"We are very best friends. We have a lot of conversations. I miss him in my bed. I miss him in my house. I miss him," she added. "But I am not being treated the way I deserve to be treated here."
She also expressed her concern about being on her own, financially, if she were to split from Kody. Janelle pointed out to him that she didn't have anything in her name and didn't "really have any kind of estate" of her own. That, of course, left Kody wondering whether she was only staying with him for the money -- asking in a confessional, "Have I always been a resource for you? If I can't provide everything, I'm not of value?"
"I don't get it. The punishment seems way beyond the crime," he added of the separation decision. "Maybe that's just a wake up call for me. Maybe she's not interested in this at all. Maybe she's got what she needed and she's moving on."
She left the lunch feeling as though it went a lot better than she expected, with Kody telling her it "can be simple" if they decide to work on their marriage.
"This whole thing with Christine, that's very, very complicated. You and I are married. You and I are going to work this out. That's not going to matter. There'll be a safe place here," he told her. "It is the weirdest thing in the world, you have to understand, to be getting divorced from one wife while you're having a relationship with another wife. It's weird."
As the episode ended, Janelle reiterated their need for a counselor in a confessional -- adding that if Kody truly wanted to work on things, then maybe she would do the same. She, however, didn't want to be the only one putting in any effort and felt "there's something better for me" out there if he didn't put in the work.
New episodes of Sister Wives air Sundays on TLC, MAX and Discovery+.