I have so much desire for someone else’s partner

Feb 13, 2023



Dear Venerable Robina,


Watching your teachings on the internet has been lifesaving for me during the past few months. 


Several years ago I had a sexual relationship with someone who was someone else’s partner. They are now married and she wants a relationship with me again. It makes me crazy because I want it too and it’s a constant struggle in my mind.


I have supported them in various ways and do have love and compassion for her, as well as desire. So my karma here is a mix of good and bad.


I feel such a deep connection with her and can’t help but think our having sexual relations again is inevitable. 


Sometimes I think that if we can have a relationship so that we can feel happy and relaxed, that can help her be a better partner and parent, and that maybe it’s not so bad after all. But I guess it is just my deluded mind playing games with me.


But all this is also helping my practice. It shows me emptiness and helps me develop insight into dependent arising. And I’m trying to cultivate more love and compassion. Sometimes it works, but sometimes I lose it all.


I realize all the answers are in the teachings, but I hope you have time to reply to me.


Much love and thank you,




Dearest R,


Thank you for explaining things.


Yes, you seem to have a special connection with this person. You are doing so well by cultivating kindness towards her and her family. But clearly the strong desire is there. 


Because of this close connection and because of your growing desire for her, as you say, having sexual contact again “feels inevitable.”


But it doesn’t have to happen. We can change our mind. And what that means is to change the picture in our mind of the object of our attachment. The trouble is, all we feel is the emotion, the yearning; we don’t realize it’s built on a story in our mind, which has become so powerful and which we believe totally is the reality.


Of course, it is tremendously difficult to change our story, our interpretation, but it’s possible. It all comes from our thoughts. As Lama Zopa Rinpoche says, “everything exists on the tip of the wish.”


You have to think carefully about the long-term consequences. Remember that desire can never be satisfied: it always wants more of its object.


I am not saying you should or you shouldn’t. It’s up to you.


Of course, the pain of not having the object of desire feels very strong. But if you think about her differently, see her in a different light, and if you have plenty of love and compassion, that will soothe the pain and it will go away. And that means you can retain the friendship. It’s possible!


Much love,


More Q & A

How to help my deceased partner and start my Buddhist path

QUESTION Dear Venerable, I hope this email finds you well and that you don’t mind me emailing you. I attended the talk you did yesterday on Zoom about grief. Thank you for this, it gave me clarity around what I have been experiencing. My partner passed away recently....

How to decide what’s best?

QUESTION Dear Venerable Robina, I had the pleasure of watching several of your teachings and have, of course, been watching your discussions and Q&As on YouTube. My family have been listening to you and your straightforward manner has put them at ease that I’m not...

Help your father be peaceful, that’s all that matters in his old age

QUESTION Dear Venerable Robina, Hoping this finds you well. I’m having a hard time dealing with something. My mother passed recently. We’ve just discovered that she gambled away all the family money in bad investments. My father is old and refuses to acknowledge this....

We don’t know who anyone is, so don’t judge

  QUESTION Dear Venerable,   I hope that you are well.   I know that sometimes my mind has a tendency to kind of lean toward being distrustful, so I'm working on that.   There has been a couple of times in the last year or so when I have heard a...

Share this article