Some people claim that Daryl taking interest in Beth should be considered just as creepy as when Axel hit on her. Let’s break this down, shall we?
Firstly, when the creepy Axel incident happened Beth was still 17, she’s 18 now but that’s really not the main point. The fact is Axel didn’t even know Beth. He looked at her and thought she was hot. It was all physical and he was simply sexually attracted to her. That’s creepy.
Daryl is completely different. Just like Norman said on multiple occasions, their relationship is deeper than just physical attraction. Contrary to Axel, Daryl didn’t look at Beth and thought : “She’s hot! I want to bang her!” and then proceeded to hit on her. No! They built an emotional bond by caring for and trusting one another. If Daryl fell in love with her, the whole sexual aspect didn’t really cross his mind. He fell in love with her kindness and the way she made him trust her completely and restore his belief in the world. The way he (very intensely, I shall say) stared at her was very innocent, in the sense that he really was in awe of her and of how deeply he cared for her. That’s not inappropriate. That’s beautiful. So don’t even compare Axel and Daryl. Sexual attraction is not the same as emotional connection.