I have looked at other questions on this site (e.g. "why does space expansion affect matter") but can't find the answer I am looking for.
So here is my question: One often hears talk of space expanding when we talk about the speed of galaxies relative to ours. Why, if space is expanding, does matter not also expand? If a circle is drawn on balloon (2d plane), and the balloon expands, then the circle also expands. If matter is an object with 3 spatial dimensions, then when those 3 dimensions expand, so should the object.
If that was the case, we wouldn't see the universe as expanding at all, because we would be expanding (spatially) with it.
I have a few potential answers for this, which raise their own problems:
Fundamental particles are 'point sized' objects. They cannot expand because they do not have spatial dimension to begin with. The problem with this is that while the particles would not expand, the space between them would, leading to a point where the 3 non-gravity forces would no longer hold matter together due to distance
Fundamental particles are curled up in additional dimensions a la string theory. These dimensions are not expanding. Same problems as 1, with the added problem of being a bit unsatisfying.
The answer seems to be (from Marek in the previous question) that the gravitational force is so much weaker than the other forces that large (macro) objects move apart, but small (micro) objects stay together. However, this simple explanation seems to imply that expansion of space is a 'force' that can be overcome by a greater one. That doesn't sound right to me.