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Ashley Darby Says She's 'Having Fun' in New Romance and 'Slowing Wading Through' Divorce (Exclusive)

"I'm still learning what dating means in this world," the 'Real Housewives of Potomac' star tells PEOPLE amid her separation from estranged husband Michael Darby

<p>Amanda Edwards/Getty</p> Ashley Darby attends the DIRECTV

Amanda Edwards/Getty

Ashley Darby attends the DIRECTV 'Streaming with the Stars' event at Spago on March 10, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California

Ashley Darby has a new man in her life, though she's not ready to define the relationship just yet.

The Real Housewives of Potomac star attended DIRECTV's 'Streaming with the Stars' Oscars viewing party at Spago in Beverly Hills, California, on Sunday and opened up to PEOPLE about the status of her love life amid her separation from estranged husband Michael Darby.

"I have a friend," the mother of two said, stopping short of calling her new flame a boyfriend. "We've only been talking for about four months."

Ashley and Michael — who share sons Dean, 4, and Dylan, 3 — were married for eight years before she announced their separation in April 2022, though they have yet to file for divorce.

That obviously makes her new romance a little more complicated. "I'm still learning what dating means in this world," she admitted. "There's a lot of terminology that I'm trying to get the feel for. But we're having fun."

Related: Ashley Darby Says She Can't Get Alimony in Michael Darby Divorce: 'It Didn't Work Out in My Favor'

<p>Amanda Edwards/Getty</p> Ashley Darby attends the DIRECTV 'Streaming with the Stars' event at Spago on March 10, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California

Amanda Edwards/Getty

Ashley Darby attends the DIRECTV 'Streaming with the Stars' event at Spago on March 10, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California

She and her "friend," whom she did not name, have known one another for a long time. They actually met 15 years ago, long before Ashley even knew Michael.

"I was at a Friendsgiving party and the party was about to end, and he walked through the door and I was like, 'Holy...' — one of those moments," she shared. "So yeah, he asked me out. We went out the next day for dinner."

At 49, this new man is closer in age to Ashley, 35, than 64-year-old Michael was.

He's about nine years older than her last love interest: Summer House alum Luke Gulbranson, from whom she confirmed she'd split in January after less than three months of dating.

Related: RHOP's Ashley Darby Admits There Was a 'Final Straw' That Ended Her Relationship with Luke Gulbranson

Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Ashley Darby and Michael Darby pose backstage at 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen' in July 2018
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Ashley Darby and Michael Darby pose backstage at 'Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen' in July 2018

As Ashley and her new beau develop their relationship, the "Coffee & Love" singer is balancing that with co-parenting with Michael — which has become a hot topic on RHOP this season.

Her Bravo costars have also grilled Ashley about why she and Michael have yet to pull the trigger on their divorce. And while Ashley still isn't ready to formally legally sever the marriage, she tells PEOPLE that she's getting there.

"We're slowly wading through," Ashley said at Sunday's event, which was hosted by Rob Lowe. "We're not in the mud, there are some movements."

She continued, "I'm not feeling as pressured, but what my uncle said to me the other day was, emotionally, I'm never going to be free if I don't do this. And maybe that's true. So I'll get there."

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The Real Housewives of Potomac airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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