"Both partners have to say, 'All right, I'm in it for this' — and I think we might be at that point, believe it or not," says Bethenny Frankel

Bethenny Frankel is opening up about her complex relationship with Dennis Shields.

The Real Housewives of New York City star, who shares 8-year-old daughter Bryn with ex-husband Jason Hoppy, has long resisted labels with Shields, a New York banker.

The pair first met almost 30 years ago when he dated (and later married) one of her high school friends. Though she didn’t stay in touch with her classmate, Frankel and Shields share other mutual pals and began dating in 2016, several months after he separated from his wife.

Appearing on Steve Harvey‘s talk show Wednesday, the Skinnygirl founder revealed where things currently stand with Shield — though she didn’t identify him by name.

“I’ve been with someone on and off for years,” she said. “It’s like a partnership where if we’re not being teammates and it’s not working and one man is down, then the other man is down. We’re trying to really kind of be good partners and be good teammates and I think relationships oddly are — and this sounds cold — but a little bit like business. If both people aren’t happy about it but slightly uncomfortable and giving up something or giving in [to] something, it doesn’t work. So both partners have to say, ‘All right, I’m in it for this.’ ”

“And I think we might be at that point, believe it or not,” she added. “I haven’t said that to anyone yet.”

In February, a source told PEOPLE that while Frankel and Shields weren’t together, he’s still an important part of her life.

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - June 14, 2016
Dennis Shields and Bethenny Frankel
| Credit: Alessio Botticelli/GC

“Bethenny and her daughter Bryn love Dennis and his family,” the source said. “They have been a support system during her negative divorce and a positive influence in Bryn’s life.”

“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,” the source added. “Her daughter adores him and his family, and she comes first above all.”

Steve airs weekdays (check local listings) and The Real Housewives of New York City airs Wednesdays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.