My advice? If you are struggling with the question of whether to separate, try to keep your concerns about what others might think to a minimum. Obviously, none of us can operate in total isolation from others, but what matters most is you, your spouse, your children, and what, if anything can possibly be done to save your marriage. If it is not salvageable, people you would never expect are going to come out of the woodwork, applaud your choice, and want to hear all about it. (Some of these people will get on your nerves, others will be comforting.) Some friends and family members will come through for you in ways above and beyond your expectations. Others in your community will not be able to handle the fact that you are divorcing, and they will pull away. This is likely more about them than it is about you. Perhaps your experience brings up memories for them of their own parents' divorce. Or maybe it brings up feelings about the vulnerability of their own marriage. Or maybe they just need some time to adjust. Even if it hurts, it is quite possible that they will come around. If not, it is ultimately worth knowing who your true friends really are.
Elisabeth Joy LaMotte's book, Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce: 5 Steps to a Happy Relationship, was a finalist in the 2008 National Best Book Awards in the Relationship category.