It’s not her, it’s him!
Over the last several months, I have slowly realized that my SO makes me hate being a step-mom. SD9 isn't warm with her father. She doesn't respect or acknowledge him, she isn't affectionate or loving towards him, and she pretty much only speaks to him when she wants something. I have been around since she was four years old, so I have a lot of ideas as to why she acts the way that she does with him. (1) He used to be a mess. They lived with his awful parents and he didn't have much to offer. SD didn't know what stability felt like until they moved in with me and my kids. SD remembers a lot and she acts like her father was an idiot who I had to save. (2) SD is not a caring or affectionate person, but my SO is the most affectionate person I've ever known. SD gets worse as the years go by. Her father has spent years suffocating her with the overbearing amount of affection that he has shown her. (3) SD acts so much like her BM and grandmother. I truly feel like the small amount of interaction that she gets with them is enough for her to share their negative, bitter, and hateful feelings. (4) SD is very self-absorbed, unemotional, and disconnected. She lives with us full-time and visits her BM out-of-state a few weeks per year. She never talks to her BM on the phone and she doesn't call her "mom." She constantly says bad things about her, makes fun of her, and is mean to her face. They don't have much of a relationship, yet SD is perfectly fine when she is there. She's fine no matter where she is or who she is with. It's like she has no emotional attachment to anyone at all. Don't get me wrong, it's good for kids to be okay with both families, but it's different with SD. It's like people only exist and matter to her if they are in front of her face, doing something for her.
My SO constantly makes himself look pathetic when it comes to SD. She has made it very clear where he stands and she's unapologetic about it. He likes to make stupid comments like, "Hey, the girl on the movie doesn't like her dad either! Just like you, SD!" as she rolls her eyes and stays silent. Or like, "I can't tickle you anymore? You're so rude!" as he grabs her to kiss her face while she cringes.
He tends to have MANtrums and say meaningless things when she hurts his feelings by being herself. For example, she stopped wanting him to tuck her in and say goodnight. She admitted that he annoyed her by standing at her door after she had already closed it and gotten into bed. My SO was upset and he told me that he wasn't going to make it a point to say goodnight anymore and that if she wants to say goodnight to him, then she can. Was that true? No. He still desperately goes to say goodnight every chance he gets. Another example was on Father's Day. She didn't greet him or make him a card or write anything nice in the card that I bought for her to sign. I even reminded her what day it was that morning and she just looked at my SO and said, "Yeah, I know." as she walked away. My SO was mad and he proclaimed that he really figured out who she is and that he needs to stop trying so hard and blah, blah, blah. Was that true? No. He still acts like a complete sucker when it comes to that child. Another example was this summer. She stayed with her BM and grandmother for seven weeks (instead of the usual four) due to them contracting COVID-19 and quarantining. She only called a couple of times while she was away, and when she did, she was rude and aloof. Her father ended one call with, "I love you very, very, very much!" to which she replied, "Okay. Bye." and hung up. My SO was agitated and he stated that he understands how she feels about him and that he needs to handle her better and blah, blah, blah. Was that true? No. She came back and remembered that we exist and that she needs things from us, so all is perfect in her father's world.
I don't expect him to give up on SD completely, but he needs to have some dignity and quit making himself look like a weak man who heavily relies on his child's love and acceptance when she has no desire to give that to him. His desperation is far from attractive and I hate feeling so disgusted by him on a regular basis. Even with all of SD's annoying issues, my SO is the one who makes step-parenting frustrating and aggravating.