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The Daily Dish The Real Housewives of New Jersey

Dolores Catania Shares Surprising Updates on Paulie, Frank, and David

The RHONJ cast member dished on Frank and David's bromance, how her boyfriend, Paulie, "changed" her, and more during the Season 13 reunion.

By Shannon Raphael

When it comes to Dolores Catania's personal life, it's complicated. 

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The Real Housewives of New Jersey cast member is happily in a relationship with beau Paul "Paulie" Connell, and the two have even considered the prospect of getting engaged now that they've moved in together. However, she still maintains an unconventional relationship with her ex-husband, Frank Catania, who also has an unconventional connection to Dolores' ex-boyfriend, David Principe.

During Part 1 of the RHONJ Season 13 reunion, Dolores offered viewers, host Andy Cohen, and cast members Teresa Giudice, Melissa Gorga, Margaret Josephs, Jennifer Aydin, Danielle Cabral, and Rachel Fuda updates on where she stands in her relationships with Paulie and Frank. She also revealed whether her ex-husband still lives with David. 

Dolores and Paulie Relationship Update

Since long before she joined the RHONJ cast in Season 7, Dolores has been protective of herself in her romantic relationships. As fans may recall, the Jersey resident got divorced while she was pregnant with son Frankie after she learned that Frank had cheated on her. Then, fast-forward a few decades, and her relationship with David didn't progress like she had hoped, and the couple broke up in 2021 after about five years of dating.

When Dolores began dating Irishman Paulie following RHONJ Season 12, however, things were different from the start.

"My whole life, I've always had to feel guarded," Dolores said on Part 1 of the reunion on May 30. "Meeting Paulie helped me kind of break down those walls I always, always had up since I was young." 

An Instagram photo of Paulie Connell with his arms around girlfriend Dolores Catania

The Paterson native said she's also thrilled that her beau is such an active participant in everything she has going on. "I like that he is willing to be such a part of my life," Dolores continued, later adding that ex David "wasn't a part of anything in [her] life" and she "wasn't a part of anything in his life," so "it was very separate."

Dolores shared a similar sentiment earlier this season on RHONJ, explaining, "The deal breaker for me with Paul was when he said, ‘If I’m gonna be your boyfriend, you have to let me help.' And no one’s ever said that to me before. It made me totally drop my guard. Like, clean up on aisle eight. It was crazy.”

How the RHONJ Cast Feels About Dolores and Paulie

Dolores isn't the only one who thinks that Paulie is her perfect match. Andy asked the rest of the RHONJ cast if they've noticed a "shift" in Dolores since she started seeing Paulie, and both Margaret and Jennifer responded by saying "Absolutely" (which could be the first thing they've agreed on in quite some time), while Melissa said that she "100 percent" notices the difference.

"That's how you know it's true love," Melissa said. "Like, you couldn't piss her off if you tried. She's just so happy."

Dolores Catania at the Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 13 Reunion

Where Dolores and Frank Currently Stand

As viewers saw on RHONJ Season 13, Frank struggled to adjust when Dolores began dating Paulie. After being the man in Dolores' life for so long, Frank had to get used to his new normal, but thankfully, by the end of the season, Frank did change his perspective. More specifically, he acknowledged that the "family is getting bigger" with Paulie and Brittany Mattesich (his girlfriend) in the picture.

"I just think that the dynamics had to change for me to be in a relationship like this," Dolores explained during the reunion. "I'll always be there for Frank, and Frank and I will always be family. But Frank is also — he has a life that's separate from mine, he always ha[s], and this part of my life doesn't call for such closeness. You can't have two number ones in your life."

An Update on David

David and Frank, as it turns out, are still roommates to this day. Dolores confirmed that her ex-husband and her ex-boyfriend have continued to live together in David's home, and that Brittany will spend time there as well.

"Yeah, you know, everybody is very good over there," Dolores said, though she admitted that she isn't sure if Frank pays David rent. "You know what, to each his own."

Though the arrangement isn't exactly traditional, Dolores said that she's happy that Frank and David's bromance has been able to continue.

Dolores Catania and David Principe; Frank Catania.

"I'm glad that they stayed close and found a friendship," she concluded. "I'm okay with that."

Dolores also revealed that her ex-boyfriend has maintained relationships with her adult children, Gabby and Frankie. "Yeah, they do," Dolores said about whether her kids ever communicate with David. "They stayed close. I'm glad that they did. David's a great man, and him and their father are very close."

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