IceFire, you didn't say who is your provider, but I had the same problem when I used Juno many years ago. They swore it wasn't them, but it was. I was set never to disconnect, but when I'd get online Juno would make a kind of temporary connection and it would override my settings. It only appeared in IE/Connections when I was online and it couldn't be changed. I would even disconnect when using Instant Messaging. Finally, a tech admitted that they didn't consider using IM or downloading as being active. Being active to them meant clicking that mouse and browsing the internet. His cure was to keep a browser page minimized and then refresh it every few minutes. (There are also applications you can install that will do that automatically.) My cure was to get a different ISP.
You might also try winsockfix. Perhaps something has gotten messed up in your settings. http://www.softpedia.com/get/Tweak/Network...inSockFix.shtml
As for your emails, you might look for another email program that you can compose in off line and then connect when sending. Or use notepad first and then just copy them to the email before you send it.