If you spend any time talking to fans of The Walking Dead, the conversation will eventually circle around to the Caryl vs Bethyl debate. For the uninitiated, Caryl is Carol and Daryl as a couple while Bethyl is Beth and Daryl as a couple. No matter which side of the debate a fan comes down on, you'll find those with an opinion are rather vehement in their choice.
For the Caryl fans, it seems the driving force behind their preference is the similarities between the two characters. Daryl was abused as a child and was once lost in the woods and had to find his own way home. Carol was abused by her husband and her child, Sophia, was lost in the woods during season two. It is Daryl who searches for Sophia, even going so far as to nearly lose his life several times during the search. From the moment Daryl sets out to find Sophia, he and Carol seek each other out several times on screen because they are trying to heal similar wounds. Fans like this chemistry because they want to see two damaged characters find a way to become whole.
As for the Bethyl supporters, their preference seems to stem from a belief that Beth's youth and purity will somehow help Daryl find his way out of the darkness. The characters did not spend a lot of time together until the second half of season four, but when they set out from the prison together, the chemistry between the two of them was interesting. Daryl's attitude toward Beth ran the gamut from comfortable friendship to angry older brother, culminating in Daryl's guilt over being unable to stop the kidnapping which took Beth away from him. Daryl seems torn as to how he feels toward Beth, though she seems interested in a deeper relationship. The damage Daryl has suffered to his soul throughout his life does seem to make this an unlikely relationship, but viewers can see the appeal of the dark knight falling for the fair-haired maiden.
Personally, I have to admit to preferring Caryl, but likely not for the same reasons as other fans. As a contemporary in age with Norman Reedus, the idea of the almost thirty year gap between the ages of the characters just squicks me out. I have no other real objections to Beth. I just think she's way too young for Daryl for them to have any kind of healthy relationship. That being said, I, like many other fans of the show, would prefer if Daryl stayed unpartnered. There are more important issues to deal with in [The Walking Dead](series:201193) world than who will get to sit beside Daryl at dinner.