Bethenny Frankel and Dennis Shields are back together.
On Wednesday’s Real Housewives of New York City season 9 reunion (part 2), the Real Housewives of New York City star confirmed their pairing — telling host Andy Cohen, “I am with Dennis.”
After an on-and-off year with Shields, the status of Frankel and the New York banker’s relationship — for which they have long resisted labels — seemed unclear as she opted to spend Valentine’s Day “without a man” and continued to date other men.
Now, Frankel and Shields are back on. “It’s more than giving it another shot,” she said on Wednesday’s episode. “Things had to be dealt with and sort of a gauntlet needed to be gotten through and it happened. I’m in a better place. And I’m in a better place to make a sane decision.”
The pair first met about 28 years ago when he dated (and later married) one of her high school friends. Though she did not stay in touch with her classmate (“We’ve spoken three times in 25 years,” she previously told PEOPLE), Frankel and Shields share other mutual pals and began dating last year, several months after he separated from his wife.
But earlier this year, Frankel decided to ends things with Shields, explaining, “I rightfully ended the relationship because of some of the circumstances surrounding my divorce and surrounding his divorce. A person that’s been married that many years needs to go through a certain cycle. I think that I needed him to make changes that I really didn’t think he would make. And I think that thinking the possibility of losing me really scared him straight, to be honest.”
With distance in place, each appeared to be able to sort out their own personal lives. They continued to spend time together here and there too, Sheilds showing up on her Instagram Stories during getaways in the Hamptons with Frankel’s 7-year-old daughter Bryn.
The time helped. Despite her contentious divorce and ongoing legal battle with ex-husband Jason Hoppy, Frankel said she’s ready to trust again.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself in the last year/year and a half,” she confessed at the reunion. “I’ve been working on myself more, I’ve been in therapy. I have a difficult time getting close to people. Especially since my situation, I do not allow people in.”
This clearly affected her relationship with Shields, whom Frankel quoted as previously telling her, “You will not allow me to love you.”
After describing herself as “happier” and “freer” than she was when she and Shields split, Frankel expressed a positive outlook about the future of their relationship.
“I only want to be with someone if they’re totally additive. I don’t need to fill a slot, I don’t need to check a box,” she said. “And Dennis is that person.”