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Starfield romance options and how relationships work

Crossing the stars for lovers

Barrett in Starfield leans back with his hands behind his head, smiling and looking directly at the viewer. Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Romance in Starfield lets you get closer with a select few, or all, of your stalwart allies — and even marry one of them, if you’re willing to commit.

Even if you aren’t romantically interested one of the potential partners, it’s a good idea to deepen your relationship with them anyway. Doing so unlocks their companion quests, which delve into their backgrounds and resolve some lingering issues and trauma, adding some deeper context to their actions in the game.

This guide explains how romance works in Starfield and how to raise approval with your four romance interests.

All Starfield romance options

Barrett in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

While you can recruit and travel with several companions in Starfield, only your four Constellation friends count as romance options.

Here are all romance options in Starfield:

  • Andreja
  • Barrett
  • Sarah
  • Sam Coe

Your named companions, such as Andromeda and Heller, don’t have personal quests, and you cannot romance them.

Sarah joins once you agree to work with Constellation. She hands you off to Sam in Akila during the “Empty Nest” mission. You can find and recruit Andreja after progressing a little in the “Into the Unknown” mission and Barrett during the “Back to Vectera” quest, which branches off from “Into the Unknown.”

These four remain permanently available after you recruit them, and while you can only take one companion with you at a time, the others will remain at Constellation where you can request their company at almost any time. Some missions, such as companion quests and “Empty Nest,” lock a certain companion by your side, and you can’t swap them out until you complete the mission.

How romance works in Starfield, and how best to deepen relationships

Starfield romance unfolds in a manner similar to previous Bethesda games, including Skyrim and Fallout 4. Your companions have an invisible affinity meter that raises or lowers depending on your actions and conversation choices in certain circumstances. Just traveling with them seems to have no effect on their approval rating.

Starfield’s campaign is comparatively short and gives you fewer opportunities to bond. The best way to improve your relationship with your intended partner is taking them with you on side quests, ideally more involved ones such as faction missions or lengthy side quests like you find on Cydonia.

Romance interests don’t mind if you join with Ryujin Industries or other, less savory organizations, but they will react to the choices you make during faction missions. If you choose to kill Rake and the New Homestead settlers during the Crimson Fleet questline, for example, don’t expect Sarah Morgan or Sam Coe to be happy about it.

Sarah in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

New activities trigger once your affinity with a romance partner reaches certain milestones, and they direct you to speak with that character. The first few instances are always deeper conversations about their background. Choose kind and supportive responses to avoid offending them, and when an option appears with the [Flirt] tag, always choose that one. The character’s response might seem guarded or even annoyed, but it won’t harm your relationship and is the only way to move it into romantic territory.

Eventually, your romance interest will ask for your help with a personal problem. This request kicks off their companion questline – which, admittedly, is just one quest in most cases. Continue speaking kindly with them, and the conversation will turn more intimate. Choose the [Romance] option if you want to pursue a romantic relationship or the [Friendship] choice if you’d rather keep things platonic.

How does commitment / marriage work in Starfield?

You’re officially an item if you choose the romance option, and you can either keep it at that or carry it further into a proper “commitment,” which is Starfield speak for marriage. Commitment involves a few steps, including finding someone to officiate and the optional step of inviting guests. Some partners, like Sam, also ask you to get a family member’s or loved one’s blessing first.

Like in Skyrim, marriage in Starfield doesn’t seem to change much. However, if you rest in a bed with your partner as a companion, you’ll get a slightly higher XP buff from the well-rested condition – 15 percent, up from the usual 10 percent.

Can you have multiple relationships in Starfield?

You can romance all available love interests in Starfield without any negative effects on your in-game relationships, though after committing to one, I didn’t have the option to commit to another for the rest of that playthrough.

With all the above in mind, here’s how to romance the four available options.

How to romance Sarah in Starfield

Sarah in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Sarah is the head of Constellation and a former UC Vanguard marine with a strong sense of duty, deep curiosity, and a love of exploration. She gradually opens up to you about a dark secret in her past as you get to know her, and her quest, “In Memoriam,” helps her put that past to rest.

To romance Sarah, she generally approves of:

  • Actions that help the underdog
  • If you’re tasked with collecting a debt, for example, find a way to pay it off instead of harassing the debtor
  • Generosity
  • Give a big tip to the New Homestead tour director
  • A favorable attitude toward Constellation
  • Kindness and sympathy
  • Justice
  • Letting her speak to resolve a situation when the opportunity arises

Finally, avoid harming or taking advantage of people while Sarah is with you.

How to romance Sam Coe in Starfield

Sam in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Sam Coe is your typical cowboy type — a free-roaming, rough-and-tumble character who’s less attached to rules and regulations than Sarah. He appreciates exploration and the roaming lifestyle, and he’s keen to avoid the entrapment of his family lineage. The Coe bunch is a big deal in Akila, though you can help with a reconciliation during Sam’s commitment ceremony.

To romance Sam, he generally approves of:

  • You saying nice things about Cora and having positive ideas about parenting
  • Kindness
  • Like with Sarah, you should be generous and help the underdog when Sam is around
  • Obeying the law
  • Say you’d never dream of exporting Aurora when speaking with Sophie at Neon’s spaceport
  • Positive attitudes toward the Freestar Rangers
  • Bonus points if you join the Rangers
  • You siding against his father, Jacob
  • You being unimpressed by his social status and family connections

Avoid demanding money for quests, harming people, or generally being unpleasant while Sam is around. He’s less averse to breaking the rules than Sarah, but he still prefers to play on the right side of the law.

How to romance Andreja in Starfield

Andreja in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Andreja is something of an exception in Constellation, a woman with a less privileged past who isn’t afraid to venture into morally gray areas to get a job done. Andreja feels like an outsider and appreciates someone who understands her background and point of view, and her not-so-secret secret is that she has ties to House Va’ruun – hence the dead Va’ruun Zealot when you first meet her. Andreja’s quest centers on resolving problems with her former comrades.

To romance Andreja, she generally approves of:

  • Intimidating or punishing villains
  • Stealing from enemies
  • Don’t pickpocket your allies, or Andreja won’t be happy
  • Your admiration that she managed to get through life alone
  • Commitment to your friends
  • Tell Andreja you’ll be there for her no matter what, when prompted
  • Approval of House Va’ruun
  • If you complete the Friends Like These quest, say you’ll use the House’s archive for good

Anreja can’t stand cowardice, lies, or weakness, so avoid accepting bribes or expressing uncertainty.

How to romance Barrett in Starfield

Barrett in Starfield Image: Bethesda Game Studios/Bethesda Softworks via Polygon

Barrett is a seemingly happy-go-lucky adventurer with a penchant for puns and a passion for doing the right thing. Grief marked Barrett’s past, but while his former marriage is a point of sadness and distress initially, you can help him come to terms with what happened and even clear his husband’s name. These options are available even if you choose to stay Barrett’s friend instead of his lover.

To romance Barrett, he generally approves of:

  • Helping those in need
  • Being generous with money
  • You appreciating or adding to his jokes
  • Not pressing the Ervin matter until he’s ready to talk about it
  • You agreeing to help fund a mission to clear Ervin’s name when the subject arises

Barrett is a lot like Sarah and Sam, so avoid lying, cheating, intimidating people, or asking for money when you help those in need.