Of course, lay people do not have to abstain from desire. The Buddha did not believe it is wrong to have a normal relationship, so long as it does not bring harm to oneself. However, we should understand relationships are also illusory like a dream; we should not just plunge ourselves unduly into a relationship — without proper judgment, we only end up in misery.
A lot of lay people feel unbearable pain when they encounter problems in personal relationships mainly because of their over attachment.
~ Depicted from ARE U READY FOR HAPPINESS : The Significance of Buddhist Philosophy Today