There’s a running joke within the lesbian community: Apparently, lesbian women often begin new relationships with a U-Haul in tow. The joke, essentially, is that lesbians go from a first date to a move-in situation almost immediately.

Needless to say, the joke is over the top, but there is an underlying issue worth exploring: How do you balance great chemistry with the right pace? Become too comfortable too quickly, and your date will fear for her apartment keys. Distance yourself too much, and you’ll send your date packing. When you’re starting your first lesbian relationship, how can you know how to strike the right balance?

It’s difficult to confidently send other women the right signals when there isn’t a typical script to follow. When women are typically conditioned to wait to be approached in dating situations, lesbians experience extra confusion. Who approaches first? Does butch/femme matter? How slow is too slow? How do I avoid becoming another woman with a U-Haul?

Don’t Overthink the Approach

The first step in answering any of the above questions is to take a deep breath and realize that, in time, confidence and better gaydar will naturally come with practice. Try a tactic, and see how it works. Don’t overthink the act of dating. Sometimes it pays to make an approach–out of the blue–to see if there’s some semblance of chemistry. You’ll never know what could happen, if you don’t try.

Ditch the Stereotypes

Don’t stress butch/femme dynamics. Date women you’re attracted to and dress/act as you want to dress and act. There’s no law that says lesbians have to date under the butch/femme umbrella, and frankly, it’s a lot more fun to discover what types of women you’re attracted to naturally.

Don’t Stress Expectations

New relationships are a roller coaster of emotions no matter how experienced or inexperienced both women are. Taking chances and getting shot down is scary–so is knowing who should make the first move and when. When you start worrying about what the other woman might expect, just remember: You’re in it together, and she’s probably just as worried as you.

It’s never a bad idea to talk about expectations upfront, but, sometimes the best approach involves shoving your nerves aside and making a move.