Bethenny Frankel Is Single, But Ex Dennis Shields Has 'Been a Support System': Source

"Bethenny and her daughter Bryn love Dennis and his family and they have been a support system during her negative divorce," a source close to Bethenny Frankel tells PEOPLE

Throughout her contentious — and ongoing — divorce battle, Bethenny Frankel had the unwavering support of a longtime friend: Dennis Shields.

Years after the Skinnygirl founder filed for divorce from ex-husband Jason Hoppy, with whom she shares 7-year-old daughter Bryn, in January 2013 — it was finalized in July 2016 — Frankel and Shields began seeing each other.

After an on-and-off year with Shields, the status of Frankel, 47, and the New York banker’s relationship — for which they had long resisted labels — seemed unclear as she opted to spend last Valentine’s Day “without a man.” In August, the pair reunited, but they have since split.

Despite their breakup, “Bethenny and her daughter Bryn love Dennis and his family and they have been a support system during her negative divorce and a positive influence in Bryn’s life,” a source tells PEOPLE.

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - June 14, 2016
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“They had a 27-year friendship before they dated so they picked that up where they left off once they realized they didn’t work as a couple,” says the source. “Her daughter adores him and his family, and she comes first above all.”

The duo 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 in 2016, several months after he separated from his wife.

Though the Real Housewives of New York City star and Shields are no longer an item, the source says that Frankel “is dating,” but maintains that “Bethenny is single.”

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With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, will Frankel be spending the love-centric holiday with anyone in particular?

“One person asked me to be their valentine, and I thought it was a little bit premature, so let’s keep that on ice,” Frankel previously told PEOPLE Jan. 25 at the launch of Febreze’s #BleepDontStink Super Bowl Ad. “I might be away with my daughter for Valentine’s Day. If I’m here, I think I have an idea of somebody that I’ll have plans with.”

Although Frankel remained tight-lipped on the identity of the mystery person, she added, “We’re on a couple of dates, so we’ll see.”

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