Bethenny Frankel is opening up further about her relationship with Dennis Shields at the time of his death.
During Thursday night’s The Real Housewives of New York City reunion, Frankel says she’s “doing well” and continuing to heal almost a year after Shields’ sudden death.
“I’m doing well. I actually think I’m doing well,” she says. “It comes in waves, there are delayed reactions. I really have moved away from it.”
RHONY viewers are also familiar with Shields, as much of his and Frankel’s on-off relationship was documented on the Bravo series.
“We had broken up many times. He was always in my life,” she says, adding that after every breakup, Shields would make grand promises and pull her “back in.”
“Truthfully, when you’re older, you don’t know fi you’re going to get your big fairytale,” she explains. “Because I had this security presence in Dennis, where if it was Thanksgiving and I was going to be alone I could always be with him, I wasn’t giving myself what I deserved in a relationship.”
Frankel says she often found herself feeling “alone” in her relationship.
“Dennis could not be present,” she says. “We would be together and so strong and very in love, and then he would disappear.”
Though Shields, who was found dead in his Trump Tower apartment last August of a suspected overdose, proposed to Frankel and presented her with a ring, which she proudly wore, she says the circumstances were a little tricky. In fact, she says she never really considered them to be engaged.
“He proposed and I was saying … ‘Okay, I’m accepting this ring and let’s see,” she says.
Earlier in the season, Frankel discussed revealed that Shields also gave her 8-year-old daughter Bryn a ring of her own.
“I can’t believe he’s gone. I loved him deeply,” says Frankel, who first met Shields nearly 30 years ago but didn’t start dating him until 2016 — three years after she filed for divorce from ex-husband Jason Hoppy, Bryn’s father. “I don’t know if I would have been able to be in the place that I am now if he was still here.”
Back in August, Frankel spoke to PEOPLE about her loss. “It’s been very, very hard, I love him very much,” she said at the launch of her SkinnyGirl Jeans line. “He’s very much a part of me and he’s very much a part of this [launch]. He was very involved in my endeavors.”
“He would be so excited. I can hear him saying, ‘How many did you sell?’ and ‘I can’t believe you sold out.’ And he would be checking the numbers and checking the website,” she continued. “He’s here and I just know he would be so proud and a cheerleader.”
Of the grieving process, Frankel said: “It’s like [Hurricane] Florence, it’s a storm and you must go through it. It’s not one of these things you can avoid and you have to go through it and deal with it and hopefully, you come out stronger on the other side.”
As sad as the loss has been, Frankel has found love again.
She’s currently dating real estate developer and film producer Paul Bernon. The two made their relationship Instagram-official in December.
The Real Housewives of New York City airs Thursdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.
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