While the roller coaster ride or a first, long-term love may seem like it will last forever, your storybook romance may need to come to an end. Whether you have grown apart, or one of you is moving away to college or you have deeper issues that you can't resolve, breaking up with your beau may seem like a challenge. Turn your best-guy into your ex-guy without hurting him and end your long-term love with dignity, confidence and caring.

Decisions, Decisions

Before you begin the break up, make sure it's really what you want. If you have doubts or are wavering in your decision-making process, it may make ending the relationship more difficult for both of you. While it's completely normal to question whether you'll regret your decision to end things or think that your relationship may improve with more time -- according to the experts at the TeensHealth website -- putting your guy in the middle of your own mental battle isn't the way to go. Going back and forth with your guy will only confuse him. Additionally, giving him possibly false hope that you'll change your mind or that there's something that he can do to make it work out may hurt him more on the long run.

Game Plan

Rushing into your break up conversation may seem like the least painful way to deal with it, but without a game plan you might not say what you mean to communicate why you need to end the relationship. List the reasons for the break up on paper, which makes it easier to keep a level head in an emotional situation. Consider how your soon-to-be ex will react to the break up. During the course of your long-term relationship it's likely that you've gotten to know your guy's emotional level and reactions fairly well. Try to predict what he'll say, questions that he may have or how emotional he will feel before to the big discussion. Taking his reaction into consideration before the talk can help you prepare a break-up speech that's less painful for him.

Keep Caring

Even though your relationship didn't work out, that doesn't mean that you immediately stop caring about your guy. Ending a long-term love doesn't end the feelings the two of you have developed together. Tell your ex that you still care about him and that he will always hold a special place in your heart. That said, make it crystal clear that -- while you still care about him and his feelings -- that it's time for the two of you to move on. Don't let him confuse your continued caring with a chance of reuniting.

Personally Speaking

Although it's common to text, using social media messaging and email to communicate with your friends, it's not acceptable to use these in a long-term break up. Research shows that in a survey of teens, 26 percent of high school students admit to breaking up with their partner via a text, according to the Psychology Today website. While a text or email may seem easier on your end, your ex-guy will regard a text as hurtful and unfeeling. Instead of using tech, get face-to-face with your boyfriend and break things off in person, and show him that you care enough about his feelings to see him in person.