Only on the weekends: The Love Commuters

By Laura TomassiniLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Being in a long-distance relationship requires certain skills, because love at a distance is not always easy. Paul and Amy, as well as Susi and Steve, prove that a weekend relationship can work for years or even decades, despite some organisational hurdles.

"I have three homes: Luxembourg, Dublin and the plane." Paul Hoffmann has been commuting between Luxembourg and Ireland every week for five years. The reason: love. In 2017, the then 37-year-old met his future wife Amy on a skiing holiday in Wengen, Switzerland, and six months later the couple got engaged. "She's originally from London, but moved to Dublin for work when she was 21 and now lives there in a house a ten minutes' walk from the city centre", Paul explains.

For the native Englishwoman, Luxembourg is too small and quiet, so she only flies to the Grand Duchy on special occasions ‒ the frequent flyer ticket is thus in Paul's wallet. The Luxembourger has been working at the Centre Hospitalier Emile Mayrisch (CHEM) for 20 years, but the department head of the telephone and back-office service almost gave up his job to be closer to his wife. "In the beginning, I was only ever in Dublin from Fridays to Sundays and our weekends together were really short. At one point, Amy said to me that we couldn't go on like this all our lives, so I started looking for a new job."

Long-distance love in times of crisis

After a few interviews, Paul got notice of the job as manager of the Irish national team's U21 team via the Luxembourg Football Federation and submitted his application for unpaid leave to CHEM in December 2019 ‒ then Covid-19 arrived. "I was due to start my new job in May 2020 and I had already sold everything here, my house, my car, and shipped my belongings to Dublin by container", says the 42-year-old. However, with the season's scheduled matches cancelled until further notice due to the pandemic, the last plane to and from Luxembourg meant to take off the following Sunday, and the crisis measures getting stricter and stricter, the couple had to make a decision.

"I was a member of the hospital crisis team at the time and my boss asked me to stay. So I called Amy and told her she had exactly two days to decide whether she wanted to stay in Dublin, not knowing when we would see each other again, or whether she would get on a plane to Luxembourg and work from here in home office", Paul recalls. No sooner said than done and the couple lived in a hotel in Belval from March to September.

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