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I'm looking for a story which came out in the 90s or earlier. It starts off with a man in a government-ordered relationship with a woman.

The main theme is whether robot partners will replace human ones. Although they are fun, the man is confident that they are too perfect and will never replace true human connection. On the way home, he meets a woman who isn't beautiful, but who really likes him. They get together, and he feels assured in his belief. Just then she says "I am the new 'imperfect' model of relationship bot, appearing soon on the market". The end.

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PePr, Inc. by Ann Christy

This was actually published in 2015 so I'm posting this on the off chance you have wildly misremembered the date or got it confused with something else. It is the first book in the Perfect Partners, Inc. Series although each story is standalone in the universe and so can be read in any order.

It appears to have been initially published in The Robot Chronicles which itself is part of The Future Chronicles Series.

Hazel has a busy life with a great career and friends she loves. She also has Henry, and that's not working out quite like she expected.

Perfect Partners, Incorporated - PePr, Inc. - promised her a match with perfect compatibility. A PePr is meant to complement their human, filling in all the gaps to create the ideal couple. They are meant to be something no human could ever hope to find in another human. It's just not turning out that way for Hazel.

When Henry finally goes too far, Hazel finds that getting free of him might not be as easy as going back to PePr to void the contract.

It doesn't exactly mention the twist about a new imperfect relationship robot but some of the reviews mention a twist, they just don't say what it is (although I now can't find the review I initially read, the one below gives a few more details about the story).

I found this story to be particularly interesting with a nice twist to keep things entertaining. This story is based in a time when many humans have been paired with androids romantically. They look like people, they act like people, but do not have the same rights as humans and are sometimes mistreated or abused by their owners without recourse. I found this a particularly interesting story as it seems to be a trait of humankind to try to control and make lesser those things that we do not understand. Since the beginning of recorded history, and I would assume beforehand, humans have enslaved one another for various reasons in an attempt to dominate this world and the others who inhabit it. Robots and products from various AI research are already considered to be goods, sometimes protected by patents against infringement, but aside from fictional robotic laws we have not really begun to consider that these created intelligences may deserve to be treated fairly and in the end may not be property at all. I'll leave the rest to you if you pick up the collection, but I found this story thought-provoking and really enjoyed it.

Goodreads, Lisa Hapney's Reviews > The Robot Chronicles

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  • Thanks, but I'm sure I read this in the early 2000s or 90s. Commented Feb 27, 2021 at 19:31

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