The forces acting on two fixed spheres in a second-order uniform flow are investigated. When \alpha_1 +alpha_2 = 0, where \alpha_1 and \alpha_2 are fluid parameters related to the first and second normal stress coefficients, the velocity field for a second-order fluid is the same as the one predicted by the Stokes equations while the pressure is modified. The Stokes solutions given by Stimson and Jeffery [Proc. R. Soc. London, Ser. A 111, 110 (1926)] for the case when the flow direction is along the line of centers and Goldman et al.[Chemical Eng. Science 21, 1151 (1966)] for the case when the flow direction is perpendicular to the line of centers are utilized and the stresses and the forces acting on the particles in a second-order fluid are calculated. For flow along the line of centers or perpendicular to it, the net force is in the direction that tends to decrease the particle separation distance. For the case of flow at arbitrary angle, unequal forces are applied to the spheres perpendicularly to the line of centers. These forces result in a change of orientation of the sedimenting spheres until the line of centers aligns with the flow direction. In addition, the potential flow of a second-order fluid past two fixed spheres in uniform flow is investigated. The normal stress at the surface of each sphere is calculated and the viscoelastic effects on the normal stress for different separation distances are analyzed. The contribution of the potential flow of a second-order fluid to the force applied to the particles is an attractive force. Our explanations of the aggregation of particles in viscoelastic fluids rest on three pillars; the first is a viscoelastic "pressure" generated by normal stresses due to shear. Secondly, the total time derivative of the pressure is an important factor in the forces applied to moving particles. The third is associated with a change in the normal stress at points of stagnation which is a purely extensional effect unrelated to shearing.