"When they're not, it becomes difficult," the actress says about men with no ambition

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Guys hoping to steal Hayden Panettiere away from her Heroes costar Milo Ventimiglia should not lack for one attribute: ambition.

“I have to be with someone who is very driven,” Panettiere, 18, tells Seventeen magazine for its April issue. “When they’re not, it becomes difficult.”

Whether or not that played into last fall’s cooling down of her relationship with Laguna Beach hunk Stephen Colletti, she doesn’t quite say.

But Panettiere does concede, “I knew I was at the point where I knew I needed to figure things out. I needed to learn more about myself because I’m a little confused at the moment. And I don’t think I could ever fully give myself to somebody until I do.”

The lesson she did learn, though, was that when severing a relationship, it should be done “the second [it] pops into your head,” she says. “Because the longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes, for you and the other person. And in the end, it just turns into a mess.”

To makes things work, she advises, “I’ve figured out that the healthiest relationship is where you each have your own life, but they meet at a nice point in the middle. You want to have your life and you want him to have his life. End of story.”