# How are unbalanced forces even possible, given Newton's 3rd law? [duplicate]

The notion of an unbalanced force seems to contradict Newton's third law, entirely.

For instance, apparently, if you push a rock, then an unequal force is being applied in the opposite direction with respects to friction, in your pushing of the rock. To me, this makes complete sense, though then I was taught Newton's third law, which made no sense until I got deeper into the intuition behind that. For instance, the reason why it's hard to push, in particular a heavy rock, is because of this equal and opposite force, otherwise you could push it effortlessly, literally. So, I've gone from my initial intuition being shattered, to internalizing Newton's ideas, and now nothing makes sense anymore, because my initial intuition and my newfound insight is just battling out.