Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Good relationships are, in my troubled mind, largely things of fortune.

And if you want to make a fortune, being happy with your loved one can exert an enormous influence.

Why create a company when you have enormous relationship stress? 

Unless it's to get away from that relationship stress by working yourself to a near coma every day, perhaps.

The gulf between a relationship that works and one that is doomed to recriminations is so stark--at least when you're looking back--that it's a wonder people tolerate the bad variety for long at all.

However, I've just been accosted by a new study that offers a peculiar view of what might make a couple happy in perpetuity(ish). 

Performed on behalf of lighting company Sofary, this study tried to discover more about those who live together.

What made them do this? Are they still happy?

When explaining why they moved in together, these respondents offered sensible, predictable answers.

They were ready. They could see each other more often. They could save money on rent.

And, of course, they'd just got married.

A small percentage thought, too, that it would fix their relationship. Which seems a touch optimistic.

One question, though, gave me reason to pause. 

The study attempted to see whether there was a breaking point--measured in square feet of living accommodation--that separated the happy from the miserable.

I fear you may need to sit down--or even prostrate yourself, if there's room--before I tell you.

You see, the magic number seems to be 1,800 square feet.

So all you students who have moved into a tiny garret with your beloveds, I'm sorry, it's going to end very badly.

At least if you believe this data. (And I find most data very hard to believe.)

Are you ready for more mental disturbance?

As little as 100 square feet less or more may make an enormous difference to your chances of being happy.

Let's pause to look at these entertaining numbers. 

In the survey, happy, loving baby boomer couples enjoyed an average of 1,835 square feet.

Unhappy baby boomer couples were condemned to a mere 1,733.

For Generation X, the happy medium--or, rather, average--was 1,969 (Good Lord), while the unhappys averaged 1,693.

As for Millennials, well, you'd hope they'd be the most caring and mutually tolerant, wouldn't you?

They are.

They can be happy in an average of 1,810 feet. Sad millennials averaged 1,566.

Of course, these numbers are nonsense.

I can't help wondering though, as a veteran watcher of House Hunters International, whether there might be a lesson to be gleaned.

Sometimes, the ability to have just enough of your own physical space might make you a little more reasonable.

It can be the same with office space, too.

I wouldn't dream of suggesting that you and the (perhaps) love of your life should start measuring your future prospects by square feet.

Buying a home is a very particular thing, one that only those involved can judge well.

But if you really think that an extra 100 square feet is going to make all the difference to your love, please let me tell you I know enough people living in vast houses who are as miserable as incarcerated Russian spies.

Published on: Jul 10, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.