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The cold-hard truth about men: Most of them have no idea how they feel at any given time.
Studies show that men use language to establish difference, separateness and independence (exactly the opposite of women, who talk to connect). So, demanding that he talk to you is guaranteed to make him squirm and start rambling.
Here are the answers and explanations to his biggest verbal 'Huhs?' Take some cues from the following sections:
What He Says When You're Dating
He says: So maybe we could get together or something?
He means: I think you're really hot and want to ask you out, but I'm too chicken to say so.
He says: Nothing about seeing you again.
He means: His mojo wasn't rising.
He says: You're a really good person.
He means: You'll never see him again.
He says: Let's be friends.
He means: You're not my type, but could you set me up with your hot friend?
He says: I'll call you.
He means: I really mean to call, but I'm scared you'll say yes, we'll go out and it will be a letdown. Or worse, what if it's not? Do I want to go through all the hassle of dating? Get married? Have kids? Aaahhhh!
He says: We're dating.
He means: We've spent at least five nights together, at least one of which has ended in sexual contact. But in no way are we exclusive.
He says: We're seeing each other.
He means: It's down to you and one other woman.
He says: I think we should date exclusively.
He means: I'm scared that if I don't make things more permanent, you'll date someone else.
What He Says When He Wants Sex
He says: This is our third date, isn't it?
He says: Is it warm out or just me?
He says: What time do you go to work in the morning?
He says: You think it's true what they say about oysters?
He means: I WANT SEX.
He says (in the middle of a great orgasm): I love you.
He means: I love that incredible thing you are doing with your finger/tongue/body right now.
He says (immediately after making love): It'll be great to show you the house I grew up in (or anything else that smacks of the future).
He means: Are you thinking about your ex and how much better he was than me?
He says: We haven't spoken for ages and I've been thinking about you.
He means: I haven't gotten laid in almost three months.
He says: I'm not looking to get serious.
He means: I just want a little nookie.
He says: How many guys have you been with?
He means: I'm the best, right?
What He Says When He's Serious
He says: I really like you.
He means: I think I am falling in love but if I say that word, there is no going back.
He says (in the middle of a date): It'll be great to show you the house I grew up in (or anything else that smacks of the future).
He means: See above.
He says: This is my girlfriend.
He means: You've made him breakfast, he fixed your car and his buddies aren't allowed to come on to you.
He says: Nothing's wrong. I'm fine.
He means: God, I know you want to talk about my day and all my interrelationships with my colleagues and boss and the guy who drives my bus, but I am at home now and I just want to drink 10 beers, eat a bag of chips for dinner and zone out.
He says: Maybe we need to slow down.
He means: Maybe you need to slow down.
He says: I don't know what I want.
He means: I don't want you.
He says: I need some space.
He means: I'm about this close to dumping you but I haven't worked up the nerve yet.
He says: You're an amazing woman.
He means: You're an amazing woman.
He says: I love you.
He means: You make me incredibly happy whenever we are together. I think you may be The One...
What He Hears When You Speak
Men don't always hear everything you're saying, which means he's not always getting your message...
You say (after being introduced): Do you know this band?
He hears: I want you now.
You say: What do you do?
He hears: Are you making enough money to make you marriage material?
You say: My ex is a crazy stalker who won't stop calling me. He scares me.
He hears: I'm still in love with my ex.
You say: What are we doing Saturday night?
He hears: I want all your time for the rest of your life
You say (after making love): That was really nice.
He hears: That was the best sex of my life. Let's do it again!
Top Lies He'll Tell You
Be wary, if he says any of the following to you:
- But I tried to call.
- I didn't get the message.
- I didn't notice what she looked like.
- Sex isn't the most important thing.
- I'll be careful.
- We'll talk about it later.
- I'm not mad.
- I could fall in love with you in a minute (wait a minute and ask him how he feels now).
Learning to Talk Just Like Him
Men can only take directions one at a time. So, if you want him to go into the kitchen and get you a cup of tea, make it a two-part request (this also applies to when you are in bed with him).
When men bother to use words, it's to inspire action (whereas women communicate to bond). So if a guy insults another guy, he automatically thinks he wants to fight. And if you say you like his shirt, he thinks, "Cool — she wants to jump my bones!"
University of Houston psychologists investigating why men keep things bottled up, found it was to maintain power in a relationship — when they don't talk, their partner is left guessing. You do the same and he'll be putty in your hands.
Men don't want to talk about the relationship. They just want to do it (in his mind, if he didn't love you, he'd leave). Here's how he thinks: "If we need to talk about the relationship, it must be broken. If it's broken, it means it's doomed. I'm outta here."
A man will say, "I'm fine," even when being tortured by Zulu warriors. It's in his nature not to reveal weakness because that betrays vulnerability, which comes off as lack of status, according to research by evolutionary psychologist David Buss.
In short, he's worried you'll think he's a weed if he can't solve his problems without his superwoman girlfriend coming to his aid.
How to Know He Loves You
There are certain words his tongue seems to trip over — like "girlfriend," "love" and "commitment." But since men are action-driven, it's really more important what he does than what he says.
You know your man really loves you if he:
- Lets you drive his car (especially his new SUV).
- Assumes you're spending the weekend together.
- Introduces you to his friends.
- Stops wearing his "If you're not wasted, the day is" T-shirt, because he knows you hate it.
- Calls for absolutely no reason.
- Wants to talk after sex.
Things He Never Wants to Hear
Here's what he really doesn't want to hear from you (and probably won't hear anyway): Honey, we have to talk: No, YOU have to talk — and talk and talk and talk.
What are you thinking about?: His feelings, like his answers, will be simple. So if you are lying in postcoital comfort and he answers, "Pizza," he really means he is thinking about pizza and not that you have skin that resembles pizza or you look like you've eaten one too many pies in your life.
Do you think that girl is pretty?: He thinks that if he even hesitates to say no, it will kill his chances of sex that night — or any other night.
I want to get married: He already assumes this is what you want, he just doesn't want to hear it. So you only have to notify him if this is NOT the case.
How do I look — honestly?: Honestly, you look wonderful to him. That's why he's with you.
Excerpted from Over 100 Things Women Should Know about Men. A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.