It’s been a rough year for Real Housewives star Bethenny Frankel. After her on-and-off-boyfriend of several years, Dennis Shields, passed away in August 2018, she’s been mourning and learning how to heal — but it’s not always easy. In a new interview with Us Weekly, the Bravo personality revealed a little more about how she’s been coping. Lately, she shared, it’s gotten easier to talk about him more and open up about her feelings for him and what their life was like together.

“I loved Dennis, and we talk about him a lot now, more [now] that the dust has settled,” Bethenny, 48, told Us on April 5. “Grief is, like, it’s a crisis in and of itself,” the Real Housewives of New York star continued. Throughout the recent season airing, she’s given fans glimpses into how she’s doing. Now, she’s ready to share more of her behind-the-scenes emotions. “We’re trying to survive and trying to feel, and you just wanna make yourself feel better in any way that you can. And now that months have gone by, I’ll have sad days.”

In March 2019, she revealed just how big of a role Dennis played in her life. Not only was he her on-and-off boyfriend, but they’d known each other and been friends for 30 years. Above it all, though, he’d also been her fiancé. In a confessional on the show, she revealed that he’d “wanted to marry [her]” and she even “had a ring on [her] finger.” In another shot from the show, while talking to Dorinda Medley, she revealed, “He proposed on April 25th. … I kept it to myself because I didn’t want another circus of my life so I didn’t want to start telling people, but we had our own private engagement and our own private, like, ‘Oh my god, we’re gonna do this.’ … He bought Bryn a ring, too.”

Bryn has been grieving Dennis, too, but her mom has been doing her best to be there for her. “My daughter’s an old soul, and she’s very adult and I’m honest with her,” she told Us. But the star and her daughter still have plenty of things in their life that remind them of the love they shared with Dennis. “My dogs Biggie and Smallz, he made me get both, he named them and he was obsessed with them,” she told Us. “So, he would be laughing. We were talking this morning about the fact that he’d be laughing that they’re now [social media] stars.”

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