Some peoples' opinions about a separation are different from others' in that they think it is easier to live with the separation than being totally cut off from whatever social and family relations they built over the years. Some think people still give the social and family roles status as long as they know the person who is separated is not completely out of the family loop by divorcing.
For some, divorce is the easier way to get over with most of the personal and emotional hardships they faced from being married to someone. They would rather face what society has to offer as a hard time than being emotionally drained on a daily basis at home.
Some people think of the ordeals their children might face by their parents' divorce. They think separation is somehow a nulling factor where children are comforted with a sense of mom and dad still being connected. But both of these approaches have their own drawbacks and benefits in the long run. They not only impact a person's emotional well being but also his or her financial stability, social status, family relations, relationship with kids, etc. It is not really easy either way to face all the inner demons of fear with being alone and, if children are involved, raising them.
A friend of mine has been separated from her husband for over eight years now. The emotional trauma she faced is not less than what she might have with divorcing. She contemplated divorce many a time but could not bring herself to go through with it for the fear of facing her children's resentment. Belonging to a society that strongly believes in long relationships in marriages, her position was made worse over the years. When children are younger in age it is much easier for them to grow up with the fact that they can have both parents even if they are divorced or separated. They accept it faster than when they grow up to be teenagers or beyond. Adult children are the hard ones to convince that their parents are having difficulties in their marriage.