Mass Effect Wiki
Mass Effect Wiki
Disambiguous This article is about romance in the Mass Effect trilogy. For the romance guide in Mass Effect: Andromeda, see Romance (Mass Effect: Andromeda).

Romance is possible in Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 for both a male and female Commander Shepard.

Mass Effect[]

The Paramour Achievement icon in Mass Effect

Commander Shepard has the option to pursue heterosexual romantic involvement with a human squad member — male Shepard with Ashley Williams, female Shepard with Kaidan Alenko — or xenophilic romance for either gender with the asari squad member, Liara T'Soni. Regardless of gender, Shepard can also have a sexual encounter with Sha'ira, an asari consort.

Note: As part of a workaround for a programming issue, Mark Meer and Jennifer Hale voiced all of the lines for both human romances in Mass Effect even though the romances were intended to be exclusively heterosexual.[1] As these voiced lines remain in the game, Kaidan and Ashley can be romanced by same-sex Shepards through the use of save edits, although some of the dialogue options are missing and Shepard will be addressed as a member of the opposite sex.[2][3]

Romance Options[]

Possible romantic interests for:

Male Shepard

Female Shepard

Male or female Shepard


Ashley Williams


Kaidan Alenko


Liara T'Soni

A soldier who served as a gunnery chief on Eden Prime.

A sentinel and staff lieutenant of the SSV Normandy.

An asari scientist.

Romance Progression[]

  • Attraction — When waking after Eden Prime, Shepard will find either Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko waiting at the Commander's bedside in the medical room, feeling guilty over getting snagged by the Prothean Beacon. Shepard can be reassuring and claim there was no way to know what the beacon would do, at which point Williams or Alenko will look much happier and a little intrigued. It'd probably be a good idea to speak with him/her in the mess just outside of the clinic as soon as you're done talking to Captain Anderson.
  • Courting — After completing a primary mission on either Therum, Noveria or Feros, Shepard can speak about the mission with either Ashley or Kaidan and begin building up rapport that gradually grows into a romantic interest.
  • "Dr T'Soni?"— Once Liara T'Soni is on board, Shepard can also court her after Liara admits looking into Shepard's background. Although temporarily stopped, this rapport can continue after Shepard's second encounter with a beacon through another set of dialog options with Liara. If Shepard has spoken to Liara at all, even platonically, and is already involved with either Kaidan or Ashley, during the next conversation he or she will ask if Shepard is attracted to Liara. Shepard can either express an interest in Liara — which will effectively end the romance path with that squad member — or explain their relationship is only professional.
  • Two's Company, Three's a Crowd (optional) — If Shepard has been wooing Liara and the human love interest at the same time (or if Shepard picked a bugged renegade option in not showing interest in Liara), after the next completed mission on a primary world, the Commander will suddenly be confronted by both potential love interests after the debriefing. They will ask Shepard to choose between them. Choosing one will continue that romance and end the other as Shepard can't have both; if the Commander suggests it, the human love interest will leave and the romance will be continued with Liara.
  • Sacrifice — On Virmire, Captain Kirrahe will ask for one of the squad members to join his diversion effort while Shepard infiltrates the base. Both Ashley Williams and Kaidan Alenko will volunteer in the assault and Shepard must choose who will follow Captain Kirrahe and the other to follow the Commander. This action will not affect any future decisions or any existing relationship. However, near the end of the mission when Saren attacks, Shepard will be forced to choose which squad member to assist and the other will die in the nuclear blast. If Shepard has a relationship with either one of them and wishes to remain in it, Shepard must choose the particular squad member to assist. Sacrificing Shepard's current love interest will obviously end that romance path.
  • Lockdown — While there's really no time to woo the Commander's romantic interest during the pursuit of Saren, they will come to Shepard's side after the argument in the Council Chambers. Only a decisively Renegade conversation path will negatively impact the romance at this point; otherwise the romantic interest will comfort and reassure Shepard. However, the intimate mood is immediately shattered by Joker with an urgent call over the ship's comm.
  • Conclusion — If the romance subplot has been continued, while en route to Ilos the love interest pays a private visit to Shepard's personal quarters aboard the SSV Normandy. Paragon choices will make for a passionate ending and an intimate cut-scene. Choosing Renegade results in the love interest leaving the room; this does not, however, end the romance, which continues on to the next game regardless of the response picked.

Completing the romance subplot unlocks the Paramour Achievement.

Asari Consort[]

If Shepard helps the asari consort Sha'ira to stop Septimus from spreading lies and subsequently proving her innocence to Xeltan, Sha'ira will offer a reward of words upon returning to the Consort's Chambers, "an affirmation of who you are and who you will become". If the Commander expresses dissatisfaction with the offered reward, Sha'ira will initiate a sexual encounter with Shepard. However, pursuing this action will not grant the Paramour Achievement.

Media Controversy[]

The inclusion of a sex scene in Mass Effect led to some controversy and inaccurate rumours of the game being pornographic in nature. These rumours have since been quelled. An additional message that can be found in Asteroid X57's pirate radio shack (in the PC version of Bring Down the Sky) may be a "response" to this controversy.

Mass Effect was banned in Singapore for a short time before it was lifted with an M18 rating. Censors in the country said that a scene with an alien and human female caressing was the main reason why the game was not allowed to be sold in Singaporean video game stores.

Mass Effect 2[]

The Paramour Achievement icon in Mass Effect 2

If an imported Shepard has a love interest from the original Mass Effect, then that relationship will continue into Mass Effect 2, even though the love interest will be unable to join Shepard's squad. The conditions for importing a love interest are not fully understood, as consummation is not necessary, and even apparent rejection of a love interest may not prevent it. It is not possible to break up with a romance interest that has carried over. If a romance interest is carried over, a picture of Shepard's romantic interest from the original Mass Effect is visible on the desk in the Commander's quarters near the private terminal. While there are no romantic plots or interactions available with Shepard's original love interest, should Shepard stay loyal to that character, they briefly exchange either a kiss or an embrace when reunited, and a short cutscene takes place en route to the final mission, in which Shepard stares deeply while smiling at the picture.

It is possible for Shepard to be unfaithful and pursue a relationship with a potential love interest in Mass Effect 2.[4] If Shepard pursues a new love interest, the picture of the Mass Effect love interest is turned face down on the desk. Acting this way has negative consequences for the relationship in Mass Effect 3, provided Shepard survives the events of Mass Effect 2.[5] However, if Shepard breaks up with his or her new love interest, then the picture will turn back up.

Romance Options[]

Possible romantic interests for:

Male Shepard


Miranda Lawson


Tali'Zorah vas Neema

Jack Character Shot


A Cerberus officer.

The quarian technician from the original Mass Effect.

A powerful biotic.

Possible romantic interests for:

Female Shepard

Jacob Character Shot

Jacob Taylor

Garrus ME2 Character Shot

Garrus Vakarian

Thane Character Shot

Thane Krios

A Cerberus operative.

A turian vigilante and former C-Sec officer from the original Mass Effect.

A drell assassin.

The options above are considered the main romance interests, capable of granting the Paramour achievement if a relationship has been established. However, both male and female Shepard may also have romantic interactions with the following characters, which do not prevent the romancing of the main romance options but will not be rewarded with the Paramour Achievement.

Other romantic interests for:

Male or female Shepard
(Does not grant the Paramour Achievement)

Kelly ME2 boxshot

Kelly Chambers

Samara Character Shot


Morinth Character Shot


Normandy SR-2's yeoman and psychologist, and Shepard's personal assistant.

An asari justicar.

Daughter of Samara and an Ardat-Yakshi.

These potential love interests have their own specific caveats:

  • Kelly Chambers — Over the course of the game, Shepard may choose to flirt with Kelly during various post-mission conversations. If Kelly survived the suicide mission, Shepard has no other active romance (or breaks up with them), and Shepard flirted with her enough before the mission, then Kelly can be invited to Shepard's quarters, where she will dance for and cuddle with the Commander. This also unlocks additional romantic interactions with Kelly in Mass Effect 3.
  • Samara — Samara can only be romanced by a Paragon Shepard after finishing her loyalty mission (provided that there is no other romance currently active). Although Shepard expresses feelings for Samara, she will not be able to reciprocate as her commitment to duties come first. However, there now exists at least a possibility for romantic interactions in the future.
  • Morinth — After the suicide mission Shepard may choose to consummate a romantic interest with Morinth. However, since Morinth is an Ardat-Yakshi, she will kill Shepard during the romance scene which will result in a critical mission failure.

Romance Mechanics[]

Romances are built through conversing repeatedly and answering favorably when the subject is raised. Both male and female Shepard will have nearly identical dialogue when first meeting their crew members. New dialogue options only become available when missions or assignments are completed. However, once a crew member's loyalty mission becomes available, the new dialogue options will be unavailable until the mission has been completed.

Eventually, gender-specific dialogue options will give the opportunity to express interest in a squad member, eventually ending in a sort of romance-zenith where no new dialogues are available despite completing missions. In most of the major potential romances, conversations will follow a general pattern:

  1. There will be one conversation directly following completion of that character's loyalty mission with no romance-related dialogue.
  2. The next conversation will offer the opportunity to "flirt," or express romantic interest assuming the result of the loyalty mission was favorable (or irrelevant).
  3. The conversation after flirting will address the potential romance openly and offer an opportunity to either "lock in" the romance and commit to a relationship or back out. A decision to back out and not pursue a romance at this stage is irrevocable.
  4. If the romance is "locked in" then the conversation after that will be the "zenith" conversation where the love interest expresses happiness at the prospective relationship, and the dialogue will offer an opportunity for Shepard to either affirm their commitment or break things off after all. Again, taking the latter option is irrevocable. The zenith conversation will occur any time Shepard speaks with the love interest again until either the relationship is consummated near the conclusion of the story or another potential love interest enters the picture (see below).

There can be exceptions to the above. For example, Garrus can be flirted with directly after his loyalty mission by taking "Investigate" dialogue options and asking about turian preparations for dangerous missions. Jacob can (and must) be flirted with even prior to his loyalty mission to open up the possibility for romance following it. Also, Jacob's romance zenith actually consists of more than one unique conversation.

For a female Shepard, a love interest is "locked in" once you express interest at the following dialogue points:

  • Garrus: When Garrus says, "Part of me still thinks we’re crazy for even considering... blowing off steam. But I want to try it with you. I want a few moments that are just for us, before we throw ourselves into hell for the good of the galaxy." To avoid locking in a relationship choose I want to be your friend.
  • Thane: When Thane says, "I confess I've come to care for you. Perhaps I'm being foolish. We are very different." To avoid locking in a relationship choose No. I can't replace your wife.
  • Jacob: When Jacob says, "I'm not looking to change what you need, Shepard. But there's not much point in doing this if I'm just not it." To avoid locking in a romance pick Just friends then.

For a male Shepard, a love interest is "locked in" once you express interest at the following dialogue points:

  • Jack: At the point where she says "I'm not interested in some dumbshit love affair. It never goes right." To prevent locking-in, pick Never mind.
  • Tali: At the point where she beckons you toward the drive core and says "I'm sorry. I was unprofessional, and I wasn't thinking rationally. I was being stupid. And selfish." To prevent locking-in, pick We'll say it never happened or if not that, either I need to think about this or This is too dangerous on the following dialogue tree.
  • Miranda: At the point where she says "I don't know what this is, if it's just stress, or blowing off steam, or..." to avoid locking-in pick It's nothing or if not, pick Damn it -- you're right in the following dialogue tree.

Another way to permanently terminate a romance with Jack or Miranda is to complete both their loyalty missions without having enough Paragon points or Renegade points to avoid siding with one or the other of them. As mentioned in both Jack: Subject Zero and Miranda: The Prodigal, while their loyalty can be regained, their romance potential cannot. Therefore, if you wish to keep your existing romance (or even just a future potential for one), in addition to the loyalty of both squad members, it is recommended that you hold off on completing both missions until you have a high Paragon or Renegade point count.

Although it is possible to have a sexual encounter with Jack before this, it does not count as a full romance. It will also preclude Shepard from having a proper romance with her. This choice comes relatively early, at the third on-ship conversation with her, right after being able to ask about her tattoos.

If Shepard and the 'locked-in' love interest consummate their relationship and survive the suicide mission, it is possible to invite them up to the Captain's quarters to either sit with them on the couch, or lie with them on the bed.

Competing Love Interests[]

Even after "locking in" a romance as described above, Shepard can still express an interest in other crew members. However, the new love interest will 'challenge' Shepard's love-triangle and force Shepard to dump any currently 'locked-in' option in order to be with them, as there can be only one 'locked-in' relationship. Once a potential relation is at the 'challenge' stage, there is no way to express disinterest in them no matter what Shepard chooses. However, if Shepard dumps someone who is 'locked in', the rejected romance option will never be available again. A romance scene with the 'locked-in' character will be shown when the Normandy SR-2 proceeds through the Omega 4 Relay if the "lock-in" occurred before entering the relay. If the lock-in occurs after the Collectors are defeated, the romance scene plays at the conclusion of the conversation.

Whether by design or by mistake, if Shepard has one person 'locked in' and are at the 'challenge' stage with any of the other possible subjects prior to entering the Omega 4 Relay, Shepard has the option of dumping the 'locked in' subject after completing the finale, provided that Shepard survives. Doing so will allow Shepard to court and 'lock in' a relationship with one of the other subjects and the intimate scene normally seen before proceeding through the Omega 4 Relay will instead play as soon as the dialogue ends. It is thus possible to experience all three partners and their respective scenes this way. However, once a partner is 'dumped', they cannot be courted again. Save files imported into Mass Effect 3 will take into account Shepard's current active romance (whoever was 'locked-in' last), and this one will be the romance that transfers to the next game.

Lair of the Shadow Broker[]

Players who romanced Liara in Mass Effect can continue the relationship in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC pack for Mass Effect 2 (included by default in Legendary Edition). During the mission, if Shepard has cheated on Liara, she will reveal that she is aware of the other relationship (Note: Even if you only initiated the sexual encounter with Jack and nothing more, Liara will still be aware of it). At the conclusion of the mission Shepard can either end the relationship with Liara, and Liara and Shepard remain friends, or the relationship can be reaffirmed. Even if the latter route is taken, Mass Effect 2 love interests can still be called up to Shepard's cabin afterward and relationships with them appear unaffected. If Shepard did not romance other characters, Shepard will instead look at the picture of Liara sitting on the Commander's desk. This will not unlock the Paramour achievement.

Mass Effect 3[]

The Paramour Achievement icon in Mass Effect 3

Romances with most of the potential love interests from the previous two games can be continued in some capacity; some can be started anew, and some can only happen if a save is imported and the romance is rekindled. New love interests include Alliance News Network war correspondent Diana Allers, Specialist Samantha Traynor and Lieutenant Steve Cortez. [6][7][8] Some characters are available for both genders, others are exclusively heterosexual options, while two are exclusively same-sex options (one for each gender).[9]

With the exception of Diana Allers, Thane Krios and the romances exclusive to the Citadel DLC, each of the following listed love interests will unlock the "Paramour" achievement. Importing a save file which includes a relationship with Thane from Mass Effect 2 will also not unlock the "Paramour" achievement; the romance does not continue as a result of the conclusion of his subplot, although the player has the choice to spend "private" time with him at the Citadel hospital. A romantic relationship with Jacob Taylor will also not be continued if imported[10], but there will be closure during the events of Mass Effect 3.

Romance Options[]

Possible romantic interests exclusively for:

Male Shepard

ME3 Miranda

Miranda Lawson

Tali ME3 Character Shot

Tali'Zorah vas Normandy

ME3 Jack character shot


A former Cerberus officer. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2.)

The quarian technician from the original Mass Effect. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2.)

A powerful biotic, and teacher at the Jon Grissom Academy. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2.)

Ashley ME3 Character Shot

Ashley Williams

ME3 Steven Cortez

Steve Cortez

A Lieutenant Commander in the Alliance Military and Council Spectre.

An Alliance pilot aboard the Normandy SR-2.

Possible romantic interests exclusively for:

Female Shepard

Thane ME3 boxshot

Thane Krios

ME3 Samantha Traynor Character Shot

Samantha Traynor

Garrus ME3 Character Shot

Garrus Vakarian

A drell assassin. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2. Does not grant the Paramour achievement.)

The Comm Specialist aboard the Alliance Normandy SR-2 in 2186.

An expert advisor to the Turian Hierarchy on the Reaper threat, former C-Sec officer and vigilante. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2.)

Possible romantic interests for:

Male or female Shepard

Kaidan ME3 Character Shot

Kaidan Alenko

ME3 Kelly Chambers Character Shot

Kelly Chambers

ME3 Liara Character Shot

Liara T'Soni

ME3 Diana Allers

Diana Allers

A Major in the Alliance Military and Council Spectre.

An ex-Cerberus member and former yeoman of the Normandy SR-2. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2.)

An asari scientist, archaeologist and the current Shadow Broker.

An Alliance News Network war correspondent. (Does not grant the Paramour achievement.)

Possible romantic interests on installation of:

Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC
(Does not grant the Paramour Achievement)

The Prothean Profile


Samara ME3 boxshot


James ME3 Character Shot

James Vega

The last surviving member of the Prothean race. (Female Shepard only.)

An asari justicar. (Only if continued from Mass Effect 2.)

A Lieutenant in the Alliance Military stationed on the Normandy SR-2. (Female Shepard only.)

Romance Mechanics[]

Romances in Mass Effect 3 are much more straight-forward than in the previous titles. Shepard is free to answer favorably to one or more love interests at a time, up until a "locked-in" dialog choice is presented at a specific location. Should Shepard choose to answer favorably at that time, the dialog options for other love interests will change. Sometimes the player can carefully time dialogs to bring about multiple liaisons, particularly with the characters who do not grant the Paramour achievement when romanced, but two-timing with squadmates is not usually possible.

Example "locked-in" locations are:

  • Kelly Chambers: After Priority: The Citadel II is over, speak to her once after you complete each "main story" mission. Eventually, slightly before you are required to begin Priority: Rannoch, Kelly will question Shepard about a significant other; if Shepard replies that Kelly is that person, they will share a quick romantic encounter in the cabin. If you wish to two-time with Kelly and another romantic interest, you must "lock in" with Kelly first.
  • Samantha Traynor: Joining her when she comes up to your cabin and uses your shower.
  • Garrus Vakarian: Telling him that you love him during the date on the Presidium.
  • Liara T'Soni: When she is leaning against the rail near the Meridian Place Market in the Presidium Commons portion of the Citadel.
  • Ashley Williams/Kaidan Alenko: When (s)he is sitting at Apollo's Cafe in the Presidium Commons portion of the Citadel.
  • Miranda Lawson: The safehouse on the Citadel to which she invites you, some time after you notified her of the dangers that await her.
  • Tali'Zorah vas Normandy: Calling her up to your room via intercom. Note: this is time/mission sensitive; if you do not call Tali up to your room before you begin Priority: Rannoch, you will lose the opportunity to "lock in" with her later.
  • Jack: Meeting her at Purgatory after the events of Grissom Academy and Priority: The Citadel II.
  • Steve Cortez: Kissing him when dancing at Purgatory after convincing him to take some shore leave on the Citadel.

There are no penalties in expressing or reaffirming interest in multiple former romance options. For example, a male Shepard can answer favorably towards both Liara and Tali'Zorah based on romances imported from Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 respectively, and still end up choosing Ashley, provided no other had been "locked-in" yet.

The last opportunity to choose a romance option is before the assault on the Illusive Man's base - although keep in mind some rekindled Mass Effect 2 romances have to be "locked-in" far earlier. Once docked with Cronos Station, an intimate scene will play out in Shepard's quarters with the given romantic interest. There will also be a slightly longer dialogue between the two before the last set of battles on Earth.

Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut adds a further romance interaction moment during the final mission. If Shepard's romance partner is in the squad during the run to the Conduit, Shepard calls for the Normandy to pick the squad up after being wounded by shrapnel from an exploding tank. They share a short goodbye before the Normandy evacuates. If Effective Military Strength is too low, the squad will be killed by Harbinger.

At the end of the game, if Shepard chooses to activate the Crucible, the final flashback Shepard sees is that of their love interest. If the Normandy's crew survives the Crucible's blast, then Shepard's love interest, if present aboard the Normandy, will place the Commander's name on the Normandy's memorial wall. However, if Shepard survived the blast (which is only possible if Shepard chooses to destroy the Reapers), the love interest will refrain from adding Shepard's name to the wall and instead smile hopefully. Mass Effect Legendary Edition incorporates the Extended Cut and all other previously available DLC for Mass Effect 3.

Paramour Achievements[]

Legendary Edition introduces a slightly reworked batch of Paramour achievements, namely that they will require you to establish or rekindle relationships across one, two, and three games, not just on a per-game basis. What this means is if you stayed faithful to a single partner from the first game to the third (ex. Liara), you may not be able to achieve Paramour III because Legendary Edition only counts that as two (her Lair of the Shadow Broker parts do not count).

There are numerous ways to resolve this issue. Simply put, if you need to unlock the achievement via natural progression, just romance one of the choices in Mass Effect 2 above who will grant the Paramour achievement, all the way until the meetup at the Captain's Cabin just before starting the suicide mission. Import the game to Mass Effect 3, break up with the Mass Effect 2 paramour and rekindle the romance with your chosen partner from the first game.

Mass Effect 3: Citadel[]

In Mass Effect 3: Citadel, it is possible to pursue romances with characters that you cannot romance in the main game. If a female Shepard is unromanced and has a high enough friendship with either James Vega[11] or Javik[12], it is possible to have a one night stand with one of them after Citadel: Party. Neither will unlock the Paramour achievement.

Other romances from previous games are further developed in optional scenes. If a male or female Shepard is unromanced and attempted a relationship with Samara in a previous game, Shepard's relationship with her will be further developed[13], as will female Shepard's relationship with Thane if it was pursued and continued. There are also unique scenes for all other romanceable characters, with the exceptions of Kelly Chambers, Morinth, and Diana Allers, none of whom appeared in the DLC. The content of the Citadel DLC is included by default in Legendary Edition.


  • In Mass Effect 2:
    • The holo-projector on level 28 of Zakera Ward features an ad for Serrice Council's Sophist line of biotic amps. When viewed with any potential love interest present (even if the player is not romancing him or her), it will mention him or her by name (i.e. "The next time you're out on the town with [so-and-so]…"). Specifically, they are referred to as: Mr. Taylor, Officer Vakarian, Sere Krios, Miss Lawson, Miss Zorah, and "Citizen ID file not found" (Jack). Interestingly, "Justicar Samara" is also acknowledged despite the fact she is not a full-fledged romance option. If Morinth is brought along, she will be treated as Samara.
    • The cabin cuddles with the love interests, as well as Kelly's dancing, were all last-minute additions done a week before content lockdown. Voiceover work was locked down long before, hence why they're all silent.[14]
  • There is a glitch in Mass Effect 3, where if you are continuing a relationship with Tali from Mass Effect 2 only for her to die during the battle to retake Rannoch, she will still appear to you before the assault on the Cerberus base as though she had survived.
  • A reference to the romance mechanism (featuring female Shepard and Kaidan) is made in an official tweet during Valentine's Day 2013.