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Video: Decoding your man’s behavior

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    NATALIE MORALES, anchor: Well, it's no secret most men can be hard to read. If you're puzzled by your man's behavior in the relationship , we've got a decoder just for you. New York Times best-selling author Dr. Ian Smith is here with his latest book,

    "The Truth About Men: The Secret Side of the Opposite Sex ." Dr. Smith, good morning.

    Dr. IAN SMITH (Author, "The Truth About Men"): Good to see you, Natalie .

    MORALES: Good to have you back here. Now, you've written so many best-sellers for diets. Why now tackle relationships?

    Dr. SMITH: Well, you know, that's a great question. It's interesting, when I was working with a lot of women to help them lose weight, I found myself becoming an ad hoc relationship expert, you know, because part of their emotional issues were also part of their eating issues.

    MORALES: Hm.

    Dr. SMITH: And they would ask me questions about 'Well, why is he doing this?' and 'I don't understand why he's saying this.' And I found myself giving this advice, and one woman said, 'Dr. Ian , just put this all in a book and give it to people.' And people really love the information because it's really helping women understand what your man wants you to know but simply is not telling you.

    MORALES: Why aren't they telling us?

    Dr. SMITH: Well...

    MORALES: It just would make life easier.

    Dr. SMITH: It would. But, you know, guys, you know, are afraid of rejection. They don't want to be embarrassed. They don't want an awkward moment. And so...

    MORALES: We don't want any of that either.

    Dr. SMITH: Exactly. And so -- I -- listen, I believe openness is great...

    MORALES: Yeah.

    Dr. SMITH: ...but this book is going to help guys because it will say the things that they want their spouses or their dating companion...

    MORALES: To know.

    Dr. SMITH: ...to know but they don't tell them.

    MORALES: Well, let's talk about marriage because that's one of the issues. And actually, the book doesn't -- you take a look at a couple of studies and surveys. And an interesting survey, I guess, from the Great Male Survey . Who knew that existed? But most men do apparently want to settle down. When asked if they -- with how they view the ultimate male status symbol, they said -- 36 percent was they wanted to have a family. As you see there how the numbers break down, they want that high-profile career and everything else. A wife and a girlfriend, 21 percent.

    Courtesy: Great Male Survey

    MORALES: So if that's the case then, why is -- you then say the truth, when it comes down to marriage, is if you use the word early in a relationship ...

    Dr. SMITH: Sure.

    MORALES: ...you talk marriage, sets up a red flag.

    Dr. SMITH: Well, it's because guys are taught to -- you know, to cherish their autonomy, this kind of thing about freedom.

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Dr. SMITH: You know, guys are raised that, you know, being young and single is the great way to live. And so it's against the societal indoctrination of men not to be married. Also, men want to move into marriage at their own speed. And, you know, I was the same way. You know, I didn't want to be dragged into it. I want to do it my own way, which is great for me. And then men will say all the time, 'It's not that I don't want to get married...'

    MORALES: Right.

    Dr. SMITH: '...I want to get married on my terms.' And so -- but how do you talk to a man about marriage? Don't talk to him about you getting married. Ask him about how his parents' relationship is...

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Dr. SMITH: ...ask him about what he thinks about children. And that will tease out in him ideas about marriage rather than you confronting him, which can kind of scare him off.

    MORALES: Don't -- no ultimatums then.

    Dr. SMITH: Not at all.

    MORALES: That's going to totally scare them off. OK, another thing you say that men want you to know but they don't often tell you is apparently they like a natural body with flaws. They say it's better than a plastic body...

    Dr. SMITH: Well, this is the truth.

    MORALES: ...you know, the unnatural woman.

    Dr. SMITH: And women say, 'I don't believe this.' Here's the deal. Guys are very visual. Yes, we like to look at a woman who have been very nicely enhanced. But when you talk about living with someone and falling in love with someone...

    MORALES: Mm-hmm.

    Dr. SMITH: ...guys want a au naturel. And all guys will say, 'Listen, I love the beauty of my woman as she ages. I'm aging also. That is fine.' Unfortunately, society makes us believe that the woman who has all these great surgical enhancements...

    MORALES: Right.

    Dr. SMITH: ...is the ideal, and for most men that is not the case.

    MORALES: Really? Society makes us believe that? Oh, geez. OK...

    Dr. SMITH: Magazines and those kind of things.

    MORALES: Yeah, that's true. OK. You also say that men apparently want you -- they want you more when others want you. Is that true?

    Dr. SMITH: A hundred percent. Now, this is part of the male ego . Men like the idea that someone else covets who your companion is. And the idea is...

    MORALES: Surprised they're not jealous.

    Dr. SMITH: Well, they're not...

    MORALES: Yeah.

    Dr. SMITH: It's not -- it's not -- it can get jealous. But the idea is when you look great and another guy, you know, respects and admires you...

    MORALES: Admires that sees you.

    Dr. SMITH: ...it makes your man feel good. And I say to women all the time, always present yourself your best in public with your man because, believe it or not , deep down inside he's feeling proud that you look so good.

    MORALES: All right, another one. You say it's fine for you to set down parameters in the beginning of a relationship , but don't send mixed signals .

    Dr. SMITH: This is true...

    MORALES: What are mixed signals ?

    Dr. SMITH: Mixed signals are -- you know, we agree that we're going to have the relationship proceed at a certain pace. You know, we're going to wait to a certain time before we become physically intimate, OK? And the idea is you should behave that way, both the guy and the woman. Don't then dress in a way...

    MORALES: In a provocative way.

    Dr. SMITH: ...in a provocative way that's going to make a guy want to go beyond the limits that you've set. So if you're on the same page in the beginning, then it works out for both of you.

    MORALES: Be honest in the relationship .

    Dr. SMITH: Always.

    MORALES: Dr. Ian Smith , really cool stuff. Thank you so much .

St. Martin's Press
TODAY books
updated 4/9/2012 4:02:46 PM ET 2012-04-09T20:02:46

In Dr. Ian. K. Smith's new book "The Truth About Men," he reveals what's going inside the minds of men when it comes to settling down and being in a committed relationship. Here's an excerpt.

The First Principle

The subtle art of hooking us
There’s a big misperception that men never want to be in committed relationships if we can help it, and that we prefer to have the freedom to date a harem of women. Not so. We want to be in a committed relationship, but it has to be with the right woman at the right time.

Let's start with a simple truth. Men don’t want to feel like they’re being hooked, especially in the beginning of a relationship. This has something to do with our innate desire for freedom and our need to feel like we’re in control. Not to say that we’re not open to the idea of settling down and being satisfied in a monogamous relationship with you, but the second we detect that these are your intentions, we either stop returning your phone calls or start figuring out ways to escape without hurting your feelings. Understanding the basics of how we think in this situation will go a long way toward producing the results that you desire. So don’t judge what follows as being politically incorrect or rude. Be warned that this is not about what’s right or wrong, respectful or disrespectful. This book is about one thing — the raw truth.

Video: Decoding your man’s behavior (on this page)

The physical matters — period
Forget all those relationship expert columns that tell you it’s most important to your man that he first see what’s in your heart. Bull****. It’s most important to see what’s inside your clothes. Now, before you scream, “Piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig!” listen carefully. I’m not saying that we need to get into your pants right away in order to enjoy your company. But I am saying that men definitely need to know that you have the goods and that you take care of yourself. To put it bluntly, a guy’s first interest in a woman has nothing to do with the handbag she’s carrying or that she graduated from an Ivy League school. What your (potential) man wants you to know but won’t tell you is that his initial attraction is all about your appearance and physical being, which sends a flood of highly charged testosterone racing through his veins. Yes, the physical is first, and we’re not saying we won’t eventually fall in love with your intelligence, kindness, and humor. These extremely important attributes are the ones that will ultimately be critical in helping you hook us. But in the beginning the number-one attribute is what you look like and how well you take care of yourself.

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The glossy magazines that litter the newsstands do a real disservice to you all by defining beauty in such a narrow way. A quick flip through the pages and it’s boringly obvious that most of the models and celebrities featured in these magazines are really a variation on the same theme. The truth for us men, however, is that beauty is diverse and idiosyncratic. (Great news for you.) Some of us want the well-endowed woman, while others are repulsed by the surgically enhanced. Some of us want tall and slim, while others want short and curvaceous. Some of us want you to have some “junk in the trunk,” while others want it small and tight. There really is some truth to the saying, “There’s a lid for every pot.” The challenge for most women, however, is finding that fit.

For some the search can be long and difficult, and for others it can be quick and easy. A lot of variables go into the length, ease, and success of that search, but the one thing that will boost your efforts is how well you present yourself. It’s imperative, especially early on, that you look your best every time we see you, at least for the first few months of the relationship. This is not men being vain or superficial. Unless your father is Bill Gates, how you look is the strongest magnet you possess. Your hair must be done, your nails neatly painted, and your clothes should highlight your assets and hide your liabilities. Loose sweats, uncombed hair pulled back under a baseball cap, and rundown Ugg boots are fine once the relationship is in high gear, but definitely a turn-off when at the beginning. In our minds, if you are not making the effort to look your best when we barely know each other, we dread the thought of what you’ll look like a couple of months into the relationship.

The unnecessary pressure of titles
Let the royals care about titles. One of the biggest mistakes you can make during the early hook is to suggest or even hint that things have started to formalize by assigning the labels “girlfriend” and “boyfriend.” Even if you feel like things are going in the right direction and that your relationship is getting more serious, there’s an extremely wide gulf between just being someone you’re dating and someone who has been officially proclaimed a boyfriend. What your man wants you to know but won’t tell you is that affixing titles to the relationship too early is like holding up a cross to a vampire. We will often run fast and hard when we feel like we’re being boxed into something we don’t want or is too premature.

So, what’s the resolution for you if calling him your boyfriend and yourself his girlfriend means a lot to you? The first option is simply to wait until you’re absolutely sure he feels the same way about making it official. Often we give subtle signs to indicate we’re ready. If we start talking about dating you exclusively, you can take that as a sign. If we introduce you to our close friends on several occasions, that’s a solid sign. If we let you stay in our apartment when we’re not there, that’s a really good sign. The number-one sign that we’re ready to go formal — we invite you to dinner with our mother. (Yes, it’s our mother that counts for this one, not our dad.)

Copyright © 2012 Dr. Ian K. Smith. From the book "Mrs. The Truth About Men: The Secret Side of the Opposite Sex," published by St. Martin's Press. Reprinted with permission.

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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