A man was surprised when his girlfriend's 6-year-old son called him dad, and even more confused by his girlfriend's reaction when he corrected the boy. Did he make a "big mistake"?

"I am engaged to the love of my life, 'Olivia.' She has a son who I will call 'Noah.' Noah is a great kid, he's funny and amazing and he and I have a great relationship. He always had a very solid relationship with his father, who he aims to see every fortnight. Dad hasn't turned up the last three times," he wrote on Reddit.

When he and his girlfriend started dating, she "made it very clear she was not looking for a father figure for her son," and said the man "needed to have a good relationship with him but should not try to take over the role of 'father' for him, as he already has one."

He respected Olivia's wishes and has tried to follow her lead with raising him. However, while out to dinner recently, Noah called him "dad" right "out of the blue."

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"I stopped for a second and looked at him like, 'Oh, did you mean to call me that?' ... I smiled, passed over the cheese and said, 'I'm [name], not dad, silly,' and he replied back 'I wish you were my dad.' I smiled again and just said, 'You have a great dad who loves you, but I will always be here.' And we smiled at each other," he explained.

His girlfriend was furious at his response and "stormed off."

"We ended up having a huge argument, she claimed I didn't love Noah because I wouldn't let him call me dad. Even after I tried to explain I was just trying to follow what she told me she wanted at the start of the relationship, and she said things are different now. She ended up leaving and going to stay with her sister, taking Noah with her," he continued.

Since then he has tried to apologize to her, but she isn't returning any of his messages.

"I feel worried and sick because I feel like I’ve messed everything up when I was just trying to follow what she wanted. I don’t mind that Noah called me dad, in fact I feel honored. But it was one of the boundaries she set out for me. Perhaps I should have said it to him in a nicer way, like telling him I’m so honored he wanted to call me dad. I just don’t know," he concluded.

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Users rallied behind the man in the comments section.

"You are not in the wrong here. You were acting as you say you were, guided to by your partner, and were respecting the boundaries that she had set out at the start of your relationship. It was a very nice thing for her son to say, and it's a shame that what was a very wholesome moment between the two of you has now been tarnished because of a clear miscommunication between you and your partner somewhere down the line. Move forward by approaching the subject with your partner in a calm and sensitive way, with the intention being to find out what she would like you to do moving forward," one person wrote.

"When she set the boundaries, she either didn't want to scare you off by forcing you to be a parent, or she wasn't secure enough to know that you would make a good father figure. Over time her feelings have changed, and she was very happy to have you fill that role. She, I'm assuming, never communicated that fact to you, and just expected you to know that. I personally think you handled it very well, mentioning his bio-dad," another commented.

"I don't think it's just a coincidence that this happened right after bio-dad missed three meetings. My gut says that even if that was out of bio-dad's control, your girlfriend and Noah both might be more upset about it than they've been letting on. This would explain why Noah didn't just call you dad, he followed up with 'I wish you were my dad,'" someone else chimed in.

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Gallery Credit: Jacklyn Krol