"It's not clinical depression, but we've been a bit depressed about what the experience did," the 'Sister Wives' patriarch admitted to PEOPLE while reflecting on the collapse of three of his four marriages in 14 months
The Sister Wives star, 54, exclusively tells PEOPLE that the couple is “still in a deep state of mourning” due to the plural marriage breaking apart.
“We are not recovering from this,” he says. “I mean, it's not clinical depression, but we've been a bit depressed about what the experience did. That's an understatement. But we've been through a very hard experience and our reaction to it has changed us. We are not the same.”
He continues, “Moving forward is still one of those things where you go through a divorce, you almost feel like God doesn't exist, and you're so angry, so bitter, and you've just got to let ... You need to let some sunshine back in. That's the thing.”
Kody says he has now reached “a transitionary point” where he’s “letting sunshine back in” and he hopes all of his former wives can find their own happiness.
“If we are breaking up and we don't continue seeking happiness and go out and find that happiness, then the breakup was never a benefit,” he explains. “Then you're living with regret.”
“But when you first break up, there's a lot of doubt, especially if you are not the instigator,” he adds. “If you haven't thought it out enough. If you haven't been in awareness. I just thought we had killed some trust, and I thought we just needed to build the trust back.”
Despite his holding out hope that his relationship with Christine could be repaired, Kody says his ex “thought it would just be better to be gone.”
Kody and Christine announced their split in November 2021. She was the first of Kody's four wives to leave their polygamous arrangement. A year after her departure, Kody's breakups with first wife Meri Brown and second wife Janelle Brown were confirmed.
“As time progresses and I move out of the anger phase of that experience, I find myself going, ‘Yes, you need your happiness and you weren't happy,’” he says. “It was making me unhappy. We go through this terribly unhappy part, and then we move to happiness. If she's happy, then I'll be happy. That's just it.”
Kody also reflects on the “painful experience” of divorce and adjusting to a new family dynamic, adding, “It's challenged my purpose. For three years here, I had an idea during this time about what my purpose moves on to, but I'm still stuck in this place of sadness and regret.”
“As I springboard up, it's like love and forgiveness and moving forward. We'll see what happens though. It's every day,” he explains. “It's like divorce changes you. It just changes you. I guess, everything changes you. Marriage changes you. Divorce changes you. Having children changes you. But I don't feel the same.”
He continues, “I want to find my happy place again because I think everybody in this family is searching for that.”
On Sunday’s episode of Sister Wives, Robyn also reflected on losing the other sister wives, saying, "I'm dealing with some depression and some mourning, some loss and grieving. And it's a very difficult heartbreaking situation."
Robyn said she's still "invested" in plural marriage since it's something she's longed for since she was a young woman. But she said Kody's questioning of polygamy "feels a little bit like a deal breaker of our marriage," adding, "This is not what our marriage agreement is."
"It would absolutely devastate me if he tried to leave me," she continued. "I mean, I know he has these thoughts. I mean, you can't make anybody stick around or stay."
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Sister Wives airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.
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