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They don’t call.

They make promises they know they’ll never keep.

They stand you up, repeatedly.

Bad boyfriend! Bad!

But they’re charming, and their promise-making is so very seductive that you forget, in the moment, that what they’re telling you is lies, damn lies.

But they lie so very well.

I came to the heartbreaking realization recently that I had another bad boyfriend…and this time it was my internet service provider. Darlin’, no one can break your heart like an ISP.

When I moved in January of 2006, I decided to switch from DSL to cable broadband. My DSL relationship had been fraught with dissention and argument, very reminiscent of Controlling Lover From Hell syndrome. 

This CLFH was fond of trying to make me think I was stupid and unworthy by imperiously suggesting the technological version of self-improvement was what I needed, not a switch from copper to fiber.  This CLFH was also on the Indian subcontinent and in possession of marginal English skills.  I’ve never enjoyed transcontinental, semi-bi-lingual relationships, so I knew a breakup was inevitable.

When the time came, I fell for a seductive voiceover purring the “I’m so much faster” line. 

I failed to remember that when it comes to seduction, who wants fast?

I was moist with anticipation when our consummating date – the install – arrived. The sinuous cables snaking their way into my home office promised a fast and hot experience.

What occurred was “failure to launch” – in this case, failure to deliver a connection.

Six months of emotional drama ensued – pleading, threats, promises, broken appointments, flowers (in the form of bill credits) – with no resolution, and only occasional bliss in the form of actually connecting. 

Mostly, it was just like dating someone whose IQ is half yours but who looks good – you know you’re kidding yourself, and sooner or later it will all end in tears.

Bad boyfriend! Bad!

The strangest thing happened after I met someone else, though. I was flirting, and had started to talk about making a date with this fascinating new fiber god when suddenly – surprise, surprise – the bad boyfriend suggested relationship counseling. 

The counselor (in the guise of the VP of Operations) scheduled group therapy, and actually made a house call.

I had been begging, pleading, even weeping for new cable from the pole to my house for six months. “No, no, honey,” I was told repeatedly, “you don’t need that.  You need a new modem/network card/Cat 5 cable/router/computer.”

In other words, “It’s not me, it’s you!”

Bad boyfriend! Bad!

On that hopeful and shimmering day when couples therapy made a house call, the counselor listened. 

He evaluated. 

He spoke.

He said, “You need new cable from the pole to your house.”

And he made it happen.

Since then, we’ve had the hot, fast computer-on-Internet action that dreams are made of – and that the rotter promised me at the beginning.

But I’m not lulled into complacency, or stupefied by satisfaction of desire. There’s a new fiber god coming to the neighborhood. To keep me around, my bad boyfriend had better keep me in the style to which I’d like to become accustomed – by lowering his rates – or this girl’s movin’ on.

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